No Kel'el Ware, Gunn fired

international unit Lost comfortably Friday night 91-79 at Wisconsin. Here are three reasons why:

Missing Kel'el Weir

Kel'el Ware was a surprise omission from the lineup Friday night, leaving the Hoosiers shorthanded and underdogs in Madison.

Tools was listed as questionable in the pregame availability report, then appeared on the scene in his walking boots. He ended up watching alongside injured teammate Jackai Newton due to what the broadcast described as a lower leg injury he suffered during practice.

From inside: When it matters, this IU team is shrinking from the moment.

A “separate” mess. 19 games into the season, IU doesn't know what it is.

That didn't help against the Big Ten Badgers. Indiana hopes that, with a week and a day between trips to Madison and Champaign, Ware's leg will have enough time to repair. He's crucial to this team's success moving forward, especially with Illinois next.

3 point problems

Indiana's improvement behind the three-point line hasn't always followed the Hoosiers on the road. Friday night followed this scenario.

When the game was in the balance, Wisconsin powered the arc with Max Klesmet (26 points, five 3s), making key shots to halt IU's momentum anytime it started to pick up steam.

At the other end of the floor, the Hoosiers couldn't find answers. Mackenzie Mgbako and Trey Galloway, two of the most dangerous three-point shooters on this team lately, have combined to finish just 4 from 10, many of them coming with IU chasing them from far behind. Indiana State finished with a 12-point lead from long range, an all-too-familiar phrase for a team that struggles to do well especially away from Assembly Hall.

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IU lost all over the floor on Friday. But on a night when the Hoosiers needed some offensive hits, they again absorbed nothing but body shots from behind the arc.

An alarming lack of balance

CJ Gunn's ejection for a flagrant foul 2, IU's third flagrant standard in its past four games and the second flagrant foul worthy of an ejection in this stretch, will grab the headlines. This was really nothing more than a placeholder for the performance of a team that clearly lacks solidity, teamwork or balance at the moment of the season when all three are sorely needed.

Whatever you thought of Gunn's sending off – he clearly elbowed Kleismet, whatever his reasons – it was just one moment in an evening filled with examples of Indiana losing all sense of itself and its collective toughness as a group.

Wisconsin's runs seemed calculated to double down on the psychology of a team whose belief (and as a result, effort) dwindled at the slightest adversity. Questions about leadership will only deepen after back-to-back capitulations against the Big Ten's toughest opposition. Any sense that this team was ready to prove itself via two much-needed chances in the first quarter this week was dispelled as conclusively as it was troubling.

Mike Woodson has a job on his hands in the coming weeks that goes beyond Xs and Os. His team falls apart all too easily when the going gets tough, and things are about to get even tougher. If he can't get the Hoosiers together, this season will end badly.

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Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.

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