With 9:45 to go an Wisconsin clinging to a 50-49 lead, Indiana put the best offense in the country against the third best defense in the country, Wisconsin (according to www.kenpom.com). The defense won, as Wisconsin outscored Indiana 18-7 down the stretch to win 68-56. In the other Big Ten semifinal Aaron Craft of Ohio was too much for Michigan State, setting up a Wisconsin-Ohio State Big Ten Championship Sunday.
Ken Pomeroy drew heavy criticism when he rankings indicated early this year that Wisconsin was one of the top 10 teams in the country, but now that they are playing for the title of the best conference in American he looks to be right.
Wisconsin held Indiana’s two National Player of the Year candidates to a combined 23 points, as Cody Zeller had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Victor Oladipo scored 10. Christian Watford scored 14 points for No. 3 Indiana (27-6), but it was not enough to overcome No. 22 Wisconsin and 16 points each from Ryan Evans and Ben Brust.
No. 8 Michigan State was run down by the best perimeter defender in the game, as Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead No. 10 Ohio State into the final.