Meet The Opponent: Wisconsin Struggling Out Of The Gate
MADISON, Wis. — Two things are uncommon in Wisconsin in December, sunny days and Badgers basketball losing streaks.
That's the case right now though, because the Badgers begin Big Ten play on Saturday against 8-0 Indiana mired in a three-game losing streak. Wisconsin is just 4-4 on the season so far, and it's really struggling to score points in this ugly week-long stretch.
Here are three things to know about the Badgers:
1. Struggling to find the basket
Wisconsin has primarily played with just six guys this season, and none of them have had a hot hand yet. All six guys are shooting below .500 from the field and have combined to shoot only 30 percent from 3-point range. Nate Reuvers leads the team in scoring at 15 points per game.
Wisconsin's offensive struggles have really manifested themselves during this current three-game losing streak to Richmond, New Mexico and N.C. State. The Badgers are averaging only 52 points per game during that stretch.
2. A rare early-season losing streak
A three-game losing streak to unranked nonconference opponents doesn't happen very often for the Badgers. You have to go all the way back to November of 2001 to find such a streak, and that was in Bo Ryan's first year at the helm of the Wisconsin program.
The vultures are starting to circle around Wisconsin coach Greg Gard, who was Ryan's hand-picked successor in December of 2015. These losses weren't pretty, and especially since they've come against unranked teams. In the kenpom.com national rankings, Richmond (74), New Mexico (91) and N.C. State (39), aren't even sniffing the top-25. Wisconsin, by the way, is No. 60 in the rankings. (Indiana is No. 20)
3. Dominant at home against the Hoosiers
It's been a long, long time since Indiana has won in Madison. You have to go all the way back to Jan. 25, 1998. That's all the way back to A.J. Guyton and Bob Knight time. Yes, that's true. Mike Davis, Kelvin Sampson, Tom Crean and now Archie Miller have never won in Madison.
The one-sided aspect of this series is pretty unique. Wisconsin, for instance, has won 16 straight games against the Hoosiers in Madison. But from 1980 to 1997, Indiana actually won 15 straight games on the road at Wisconsin. This is Indiana's first road game of the year, but it's also the perfect time to end this losing streak at Wisconsin.