Number One Illinois, 19-0 heading into the House of Horrors in Madison, WI, also known as the Kohl Center, to try to break a 38-game home winning streak.
The cards were stacked against the Illini like Duany Duany was their dealer at a blackjack table. So what happens? Illinois wins the game, and cements itself as the number one team in the country more so than they have since the dismantling of Wake Forest.
So how did the Illini defeat the Badgers in Madison? Mental toughness and the play of two seniors, Luther Head and reserve Jack Ingram. Luther was his steady self this season and led the Illini in scoring with 18 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Jack played clutch for the Illini scoring 8 points, shooting 2-for-2 from behind the three point line, and pulling down 6 rebounds.
Alongside Jack and Luther, were James Augustine and Deron Williams. Augustine scored twelve of his fourteen points in the second half, and sparked the Illini with two consecutive dunks after the Illini took the lead at 65-64, to extend the lead to 69-64, a lead the Illini would never give up. In fact, the Illini defense bunkered down and only allowed the Badgers to score one more point for the final 3:39 of the game.
ILLINI OFFENSE / DEFENSE BY THE NUMBERS
Last Thursday against Iowa may have been Illinois' best defensive performance of the season, but it went alongside their worst offensive performance of the season. How did the Illini do in Madison, WI? Were they able to control the pace of the game and get Wisconsin out of their comfort zone, or did the Badger defense slow down the Illini offense? Let's look at the numbers.
Offensive Efficiency: 112.28
Defensive Efficiency: 97.31
Illinois' Points per Shot Attempt (Adjusted): 1.02
Wisconsin's Points per Shot Attempt (Adjusted): 1.10
The Illini guards were able to control the pace of the game, speeding the game up to about three more possessions per game than the Wisconsin Badgers prefer to play. The Illini turned the ball over on 15% of their possessions, while they forced the Badgers to turn the ball over on 19.5% of their possessions.
- Games won in a row: 20
- Big Ten Regular Season Games in a row: 16
- Big Ten Road Wins in a Row: 9 (new school record)