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Indiana basketball plays itself into NCAA Tournament trouble with Wisconsin loss



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — This is the way it had to end for the Indiana University basketball team — beaten again by a Wisconsin program that has tortured the Hoosiers for two decades.

A 9-point lead with 10 minutes to play was not enough for Archie Miller’s team, just as second-half leads against the Badgers were never enough for IU teams coached by Tom Crean and Mike Davis.

Bob Knight rarely lost to the Badgers. Over the past two decades, Wisconsin has treated the Hoosiers like a Division II team.

Winning becomes daunting when a team misses 12 consecutive field-goal attempts down the stretch in the second half.

That is what happened to Indiana on Saturday as the Hoosiers raced from ahead to lose to Wisconsin, 60-56. This is a game the Hoosiers led 46-37 with 10:04 to play. Then, they missed their next 12 shots, including seven that were recorded in the official play by play as layups.

When Al Durham finally ended the nine-minute field-goal drought, IU trailed 56-54.

Indiana made one field goal in the final 10:04. That won’t beat a Wisconsin team that claimed at least a share of the Big Ten title and likely earned Coach of the Year recognition for Greg Gard.

You can toss this one in the discard pile with the Arkansas (December) and Maryland (January) games that Indiana led after leading into the final eight minutes.

The loss dropped Indiana to 9-11 in the Big Ten and 19-12 overall. Cue the talk that the Hoosiers have moved directly into the trouble area for making the NCAA Tournament.

Make a special note that, for the first time in program history, Indiana will begin play on the opening night of the Big Ten Tournament and winning the game (and perhaps even one more) will not be optional for the Hoosiers if they expect to make the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2016.

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