March 12, 2010

Breakdown: No. 4 UW vs. No. 5 Illinois

Last week Wisconsin and Illinois each did their part in tightening the Big Ten race with wins over Michigan State. Now, with seven games remaining for both the Badgers and Illini, tonight's game will prove to be critical in the newly tightened Big Ten championship race.

Before tonight's tip-off, analyzes the potential matchups between Wisconsin and Illinois to provide a closer look at the critical Big Ten tilt.

Quick Notes:

-Tonight's game will be the 182nd meeting between the two schools in a series that began in 1906. Illinois leads the all-time series with a 107-74 edge, but the Badgers have compiled a 52-38 home record against the Illini during the series.

-Wisconsin has won six of the past seven meetings between the teams, including a three-game sweep in 2008 and a season split in 2009.

-The Badgers have won seven of their last nine meetings with Illinois at the Kohl Center.

-Over the past nine seasons, Wisconsin (102) and Illinois (94) rank first and third in the Big Ten in conference victories.

Illinois vs. Wisconsin
Illinois Wisconsin Players The Word Advantage
Demetri McCamey vs. Trevon Hughes, PG In the first meeting McCamey made it known that he has the potential to be one of the best shooting point guards in all of the Big Ten. If UW hopes to leave Assembly Hall with a win, Hughes and the rest of the guards will need to keep McCamey from getting comfortable. Something tells me UW won't get burned twice. Advantage: Wisconsin
D.J. Richardson vs. Jason Bohannon, SG Bohannon continues to be one of the hottest players in all of the Big Ten. Over the past eight games in league play, Bohannon is averaging 17.4 points per game on over 60 percent shooting from the floor. If he continues play like that, Bohannon will continue to make things difficult for opposing defenses. Advantage: Wisconsin
Bill Cole vs. Jordan Taylor G As a leader for the Illini, Cole's passion on the floor is tough to match for any opposing defender. In this one, Taylor will not only need to match that intensity but he'll also have to attempt to make up the size difference he'll be up against. Advantage: Push
Mike Davis vs. Jon Leuer G/F In the first meeting UW was without its best post player in Leuer. Now that he has returned, it seems like the 6-foot-10 junior is starting to regain his groove from earlier in the season. In a game where UW will need his size to be of the utmost importance, Leuer will need to continue his recent level of play. Advantage: Push
Mike Tisdale vs. Keaton Nankivil, C In the first meeting, Tisdale absolutely ate the Badger defense alive. He popped off the high screen and hit the majority of his shots from the top of the key. For Nankivil, a pretty solid shooter himself, the key to defending Tisdale on the pick and roll is anticipation and positioning. The presence of Leuer on the floor should help. Advantage: Push
Brandon Paul (pictured), Mike Davis, Dominique Keller, Richard Semrau, Tyler Griffey and Jeff Jordan vs. Ryan Evans (pictured), Rob Wilson, Jared Berggren, Tim Jarmusz and Mike Bruesewitz, Bench Bruce Weber likes to play a decent number of players off his bench when the starters need a quick break. Conversely, Bo Ryan has played anywhere from seven to nine players on a regular basis off the bench. Looking at the production, it seems Illinois might have a slight advantage, particularly with Paul coming off the bench. UW just doesn't have a consistent scorer off the bench now that Taylor is in the starting lineup. Advantage: Illinois
Bruce Weber vs. Bo Ryan, Head coach Bo Ryan has taken yet another team with low expectations and had it contending into the final week of the regular season. Historically playing and winning at Assembly Hall on the Illinois campus has been difficult to do. However, over the past couple of games, UW seems to be hitting its groove. Factor in the redemption factor for losing at home earlier and UW should be plenty fired up for this one. Advantage: Wisconsin


Sunday, March 7, at 1:00 p.m. CT


Champaign, Ill.


Assembly Hall (16,618)


ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Steve Lavin)


Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)


Illinois leads 108-74

Last Meeting

Illinois won 63-56 in Madison, Feb. 9, 2010.


Wisconsin: USA Today: 17, Assoc. Press: 15

Illinois: USA Today: N/A, Assoc. Press: RV

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