CHICAGO -- Quick thoughts from Wisconsin’s 68-56 victory in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament Saturday. It was Wisconsin’s 12th consecutive win over Indiana.
Overview: Wisconsin entered Saturday’s game against Indiana with an 11-game winning streak against the Hoosiers. The Badgers were strong in the first half, connecting on 51.2 percent of their shots. They also forced six Indiana turnovers. Ryan Evans (10 points) and Ben Brust (seven points, 1-for-2 from the 3-point line) were catalysts for a Wisconsin team that was down 22-16 with 7:55 to go but ended the half on an 18-9 run to secure a 34-31 lead at the break.
Turning point: After Indiana had drawn even at 43-all in the second half, Wisconsin's Sam Dekker scored seven straight points. He made a layup, missed a free throw, scored on another layup in transition, then hit a 3-pointer in a barrage that helped the Badgers regain the edge they had held most of the second half. But the Hoosiers answered with a 6-0 rally. The Badgers, however, returned fire with a 5-0 spurt, this one capped by Jared Berggren’s 3-pointer with 5:45 to go. They led 55-49 then. And they continued to limit the Hoosiers down the stretch with critical defense, including Berggren’s block of Victor Oladipo’s layup in the final three minutes of the game.
Key player: Evans finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, 1 steal and 4 turnovers.
Key stat: Indiana went nearly five minutes in the second half without a field goal (10:02 to 5:04). That was a crippling stretch for a Hoosiers team that couldn’t close the gap in the final minutes. Berggren’s three blocks were critical, too.
Next: On Sunday, Wisconsin will face the winner of the Michigan State-Ohio State semifinal matchup. Indiana will await its destination in the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday. And it’s a huge decision. The Hoosiers want the No. 1 overall seed and a chance to compete in Indianapolis in the Midwest Regional.