Bo Ryan's teams have always been resilient and don't expect this year's version to be any different.
Even if the Badgers' 38-game home winning streak is over.
The streak ended with an ignominious thud against Illinois on Jan. 25. The Badgers built an eight-point lead in the second half and appeared to be on their way to another home win. But just as they were about to put the game away, Illinois came back with a purpose and ended up with a 75-65 victory.
The Badgers got a big second half from Alando Tucker, who scored 16 points. However, he did not hit a field goal in the first half. Ryan wants to see Tucker start to play a little more consistently.
"I've never made excuses for a player," Ryan said. "It's pretty obvious he played better in the second half. More active, better decisions. I'd like to see him do that for the whole game. It's better for the team."
While they were disappointed with the loss to the Illini, the Badgers responded with an easy victory against an overmatched Penn State team Jan. 29. Wisconsin broke out to a double-digit lead early on and pulled away from the Nittany Lions to win 76-50. Even with Tucker sitting out because of a right foot injury, Kammron Taylor came on and scored 20 points to lead the way.
Ryan was not surprised to see the Badgers step up without Tucker.
"We've played without Alando before," Ryan said. "And somebody's misfortune is somebody else's good fortune. The players know that if we want to be competitive, somebody better pick it up and do some good things."
— Wisconsin's win at Penn State was its first in Happy Valley since 1999. The Badgers have lost six of their last nine trips to Penn State.
— Wisconsin's 38-game home winning streak came to an end when Illinois handed the Badgers a 75-65 defeat Jan. 25.
— Wisconsin is allowing 59.6 ppg — ranking first in the Big Ten.
— The Badgers are considered an excellent fundamental team. However, they are hitting 67.1 percent of their free throws — a figure that ranks seventh in the Big Ten and 187th nationally.
PROBABLE LINEUP: Guard Clayton Hanson, shooting guard Sharif Chambliss, forward Zach Morley, power forward Mike Wilkinson, small forward Alando Tucker.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's learning some things. He got to places where not too many guys on our team can get to when he puts it on the floor." — Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan on speedy guard Kammron Taylor, who scored a team-high 20 points in the Jan. 30 win over Penn State.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
UPCOMING GAMES: at Minnesota, Feb. 5
KEYS: Minnesota is significantly improved, but the Gophers would need a near-perfect game to compete with the Badgers for 40 minutes.
ROSTER REPORT: Small forward Alando Tucker sat out the Jan. 29 win over Penn State because of an injured right ankle. He should be back in the lineup.
— Forward Mike Wilkinson is the key to Wisconsin's fortunes the rest of the way. He is averaging 14.0 ppg and shooting 51.9 percent from the field while bringing down a team-high 7.4 rebounds a night.
— Guard Kammron Taylor had a fine 20-point effort in the victory over Penn State. Taylor is one of the fastest players on the Badgers and bears a distinct facial resemblance to comedian Chris Rock. Big Ten fans around the league have been letting him know that in a good-natured way.
About Wisconsin: A Big Ten Force
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