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January 22, 2012

Breakdown: UW at Illinois

Since suffering a three-game losing streak earlier in league play, the Wisconsin men's basketball team has reeled of three consecutive wins. A fourth at Illinois would be pretty impressive.

Before this afternoon's tip-off, BadgerBlitz.com analyzes the potential matchups between the Badgers and Illini to provide a closer look at UW's key Big Ten matchup.

Quick Notes:

-Wisconsin continues to play defense at an impressive rate. So far opponents are scoring just 49 points per game against the Badgers, good for a nation's best in scoring defense.

-The Badgers are 5-2 away from the Kohl Center, including three wins in true road environments. UW's most recent road win came at Purdue, marking just the second win in the past 37 years inside Mackey Arena.

-Taylor is Wisconsin's leading scorer and ranks 2nd in the Big Ten with a 2.7-assist-to-turnover ratio.

Illinois vs. Wisconsin
Illinois Wisconsin Players The Word Advantage
Tracy Abrams vs. Jordan Taylor, PG Since starting off relatively slow - - at least in comparison to his junior season standards - - Taylor has started playing some solid basketball of late. He's averaging 15 points per game and continues to distribute without many turnovers. Advantage: Wisconsin
D.J. Richardson vs. Josh Gasser, G D.J. Richardson does a little bit of everything for the Illini. He's third on the team in scoring, averaging just less than 13 points per game. He also shoots 40 percent from distance. With all the guards Illinois plays with, it will be important for Gasser to pay attention to Richardson, because if he gets a sliver of daylight he will make the Badgers pay. Advantage: Illinois
Brandon Paul vs. Ryan Evans F Evans is the best on ball defender Wisconsin has. So he'll draw the assignment to slow Paul, Illinois' most explosive offensive threat. Evans has also been scoring quite a bit lately and seems confident with his game. If he can play well on both sides of the ball UW would be in good shape. Advantage: Push
Joseph Bertrand vs. Mike Bruesewitz F Bruesewitz, like Evans, seems to be playing at a pretty confident rate. Any offense he contributes helps the Badgers play at a higher level. If he reaches double digits UW will most likely be in good shape. Advantage: Wisconsin
Meyers Leonard vs. Jared Berggren, C Leonard has elevated his play quite a bit, especially in comparison to last season. He'll be quite the force for Illinois and will put Berggren in a tough place defensively. For Berggren, and consequently UW, staying out of foul trouble will be key. But that's easier said than done. Advantage: Push
Tyler Griffey (pictured), Sam Maniscalo and Myke Henry vs. Ben Brust, Rob Wilson, Traevon Jackson Bench It all depends on what Brust shows up. If he's stroking it from downtown UW is really, really good. If he's struggling it's not so good. Brust and Maniscalco are two of the best players coming off the bench in the entire Big Ten. Advantage: Illinois
Bruce Weber vs. Bo Ryan, Head coach Ryan has a winning record over Illinois during his tenure at Wisconsin and his Badgers have won three of the past five games in Champaign. But with a lot on the line this afternoon, and with Illinois coming off a loss, one would imagine that Illinois would come in fired up. Advantage: Push


Date/Time

Sunday, Jan. 22, at 1:00 p.m. CT

Location

Champaign, IL.

Arena

Assembly Hall (16,618)

Television

Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Gary Williams

Radio

-Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series

Illinois leads 110-76

Last Meeting

UW won, 76-66, in Madison, on January 15, 2011

Rankings

Wisconsin: USA Today: N/A, Assoc. Press: N/A

Illinois: USA Today: 25, Assoc. Press: 22



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