Thursday, January 31, 2008

Indiana at UW tonight

I love Madison. It's one of my favorite towns in the Midwest. And yeah, I'm a little kooky in that 3-foot-snow-drifts make me happy, and despite my decrepitude I still love pawing through used CD stores, perusing weird little bookstores, and befouling beautiful Capitol buildings with my presence.

However, every time the Hoosiers have a trip to Madison scheduled, I wince. At least since the late 90's, when the Badgers stopped being a doormat. Indiana doesn't just lose at Wisconsin, we tend to lose ugly. Mike Davis' final squad had a narrow loss there, but thinking about that season still makes me shake my head.

If you've not seen it already, John Gasaway (aka Big Ten Wonk) over at Basketball Prospectus has a great breakdown of tempo-free stats for the BCS conferences. What does his point-per-possession efficiency margin tell us?

Big Ten
1. Wisconsin +0.17
2. Indiana +0.16

Additionally, Sagarin has UW as #11, and IU as #12. Pomeroy's ratings has UW at #7, and IU at #11, and CBS rpi has UW at #24, and IU at #32.
What's all mean? IU and Wisconsin are pretty close.

Looking at head to head match-ups, Indiana has more raw talent, but as the UConn game showed, if you can't maximize that talent, it doesn't matter. UW will probably keep Indiana off the boards, and get either Eric Gordon and/or DJ in foul trouble. To be able to steal this one on the road, Indiana has to NOT to turn the ball over, run some sort of offense that gets the slower Wisconsin team moving its feet on defense, and IU must keep the Badgers off the offensive glass.

My guess? It's Indiana's second straight loss. But hopefully they'll play smarter than they did on Saturday.


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