Rapid Reaction: Wisconsin Rolls

A quick look at Wisconsin's win over Illinois on Sunday afternoon.

CHAMPAIGN - Wisconsin defeated Illinois 74-68 Sunday afternoon, completing a season sweep of the Illini for the second consecutive year. The win marked the fifth straight for the Badgers versus the Illini.

It was over when: The Badgers built a 15 point lead with around five minutes to play. The cushion provided comfort when the Illini made a late run, getting to within five points in the final seconds of the game but running out of time.

Player of the game: Frank Kaminsky. Inserted for starter Jared Berggren, the sophomore forward had a career-high 19 points and added five rebounds. Averaging 4.4 points per game and playing in his second game after retuning from an eye injury, Kaminsky hit double figures for the fourth time this season and erased any problems Berggren's foul trouble presented.

Key stretch: The Illini scored on six consecutive possessions midday through the second half, but were unable to get enough stops on defense to make up ground. At one point, Joe Bertrand hit three baskets in a row for the Illini, but Wisconsin held off the Illini, maintaining a 10-point lead at the conclusion of the Illinois run.

Had it not been for…: Joe Bertrand's 15 second half points, the game very well could have been a complete blowout. Bertrand responded positively to getting his first start of the season, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds. The redshirt junior was essentially a lone threat for the Illini on offense for most of the second half.

That didn't work…: Bringing Brandon Paul off the bench. Coach John Groce shook up the starting rotation, but the move produced less-than-desired results. Paul finished 3 of 13 from the field, with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Stat of the game: Three-point field goals. Illinois finished 2 of 13 from the three-point line, with misses coming in all, but mostly terrible, varieties. The Badgers didn't shoot much better (4 of 14), but relied on scoring in the paint to negate the issue.

The takeaway: Losers of six of the last seven, the Illini are falling further and further behind in both the Big Ten and in regard to the NCAA Tournament. The schedule gets easier after this week, which features match-ups with Indiana and Minnesota, a fact still provides for hope of a postseason appearance. While the final portion of the schedule is made up of lesser opponents, that won't matter if the Illini continue to play poorly. Making the NCAA Tournament is still a possibility. But the team is not playing at the level or with the consistency that it needs to make any headway toward achieving that goal.

Big Red Report Top Stories