Preview: Illinois at Wisconsin

After a tough defensive battle at Nebraska last weekend, Wisconsin had almost a full week to prepare for a top-ranked Illinois squad that's dropped only three games all season.

Illinois (14-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at Wisconsin (11-4, 2-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Saturday, January 12, 1:15 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,249)

Television - Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Mike Kelley)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt LePay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Illinois leads 110-78 (Wisconsin leads 54-39 in Madison)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 70-56, on March 4, 2012 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 11.3 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 11.5 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 4.7 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 7.2 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 13.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 5.2 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 9.1 ppg)

32 Zak Showalter (6-2 Freshman Guard, 2.8 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 4.9 ppg)

Illinois Probable Starters

1 D.J. Richardson (6-3 Senior Guard, 10.8 ppg)

3 Brandon Paul (6-4 Senior Guard, 18.6 ppg)

13 Tracy Abrams (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 12.2 ppg)

32 Nnanna Egwu (6-11 Sophomore Center, 6.7 ppg)

42 Tyler Griffey (6-9 Senior Forward, 8.2 ppg)

Off the Bench

0 Sam McLaurin (6-8 Graduate Forward, 3.8 ppg)

2 Joseph Bertrand (6-6 Junior Guard, 9.1 ppg)

10 Mike LaTulip (6-0 Freshman Guard, 1.9 ppg)

20 Myke Henry (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 3.5 ppg)

Last Time Out

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -Jared Berggren scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half, Ryan Evans had 10 points and 15 rebounds, and Wisconsin held Nebraska to one basket over the last 6:19 in a 47-41 victory Sunday.

The Badgers (11-4, 2-0 Big Ten) won their fifth game in a row and held their ninth straight opponent to 60 points or fewer.

The Huskers (9-6, 0-2), coming off a 70-44 loss at Ohio State in their conference opener, have averaged just 42 points the last four meetings with the Badgers.

Berggren missed all four of his first-half shots but made six in a row to start the second half as the Badgers asserted themselves inside.

Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley scored 12 points apiece and Brandon Ubel added 10 for the Huskers.

Ubel hit a 3-pointer for Nebraska's only basket after Gallegos had given the Huskers a 38-37 lead with 6:19 left.

Last Meeting

MADISON (BadgerNation) - If senior day is meant to showcase and honor the talents of that year's senior class, No.14 Wisconsin couldn't have done a more fitting job than the way it honored seniors Taylor and Wilson. Actually, it was more along the lines of Taylor and Wilson wanting to close out their Kohl Center career and head into the post season playing their best.

Taylor scored eight of his 16 points and Wilson's six of his eight points in a dominant first half that set the tone for their 70-56 victory over Illinois in the regular season finale at the Kohl Center.

"It felt great," said Wilson. "To come out here and get a win will always put the icing on the cake on senior day."

Wisconsin (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten) got four players in double figures to finish the season on a three-game winning streak and closes Big Ten play alone in fourth place – extending their streak to 11 straight seasons under UW coach Bo Ryan.

The win improves Ryan's 11-year record at Wisconsin to 265-99, putting him in a tie for first place for most wins in school history with Bud Foster, who went 265-267 from 1935-59 and won the school's only national championship in 1941.

On Wisconsin's 14-2 run to open the game's first six minutes, Taylor and Wilson combined to score nine points and go 3-for-3 from 3-point range, but it was Wilson that drew some of the loudest cheers.

Following Taylor's three, Wilson hit a 3-pointer from each elbow in two of the next three possessions. On the possession he didn't score, Wilson tipped a rebound away from an Illinois defense to Ryan Evans (who extended his double-digit scoring run to 10 games following his 10 points), whose baseball pass to Josh Gasser resulted in an easy lay-up and a frustrated Illinois coach Bruce Weber calling timeout.

That set the tone for Wisconsin winning on senior day for the 11th straight time under Ryan.

Series Notes:

Saturday's game will mark the 189th meeting between UW and Illinois in a series dating back to 1906. Illinois leads the all-time series 110-78, however Wisconsin owns a 54-39 edge in Madison.

Wisconsin has won 10 of the last 14 meetings with Illinois, including 3 straight.

At least one team has been ranked in each of the last 29 meetings between Wisconsin and Illinois. The last time the Badgers and Illini played with neither team in the AP Top-25 was Feb. 7, 1998.

UW has won 3 of its last 4 games against ranked Illinois squads, including home wins over No. 23 ILL in 2009 and No. 16 ILL in 2011.

Reaching 60 points has been an incredible indicator in this series. The ? rst team to score 60 points is 21-1 over the last 11 seasons. The only loss when reaching 60 ? rst was UW's 71-64 comeback win on 1/20/07 (ILL led 60-57 with 5:07 left).

In the Ryan era, Illinois (3) and Purdue (2) are the only Big Ten teams to win multiple games at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin has 5 players from the state of Illinois: Ben Brust (Hawthorn Woods), Duje Dukan (Deer? eld), Dan Fahey (Chicago), Frank Kaminsky (Lisle) and George Marshall (Chicago).

UW has never faced a team with John Groce as the head coach, but the Badgers are 6-4 against teams with Groce on staff. Groce went 1-0 vs. UW as an assistant at Butler (2001) and 3-6 while at Ohio State (2005-08).

Wisconsin Notes

1 BO KNOWS BIG TEN: Bo Ryan's .713 (134-54) win percentage in Big Ten games is the best mark of any coach in history, leading OSU's Thad Matta (100-41, .709) and ahead of Indiana legend Bob Knight (353-151, .700).

2 ROLL ON: Winners of five in a row, Wisconsin has started 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since the 2009-10 season. The Badgers are looking to win their first three conference games since beginning the 2008-09 season 3-0.

3 GETTING DEFENSIVE: Wisconsin has held each of its last 9 opponents to 60 points or less and now leads the Big Ten and ranks 6th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 54.9 points per game. The Badgers led the nation in scoring defense last season (53.2 ppg). 4 BERG ON THE LOW BLOCK: Senior Jared Berggren is establishing himself as one of the nation's premier big men. Berggren ranks among the Big Ten's best in points (13.3), rebounds (6.1), FG pct. (.561), FT pct. (.774) and blocks (2.1).

5 EVANS EMERGING: After a slow start to the season, Evans is regaining his versatile form. The 5th-year grad student leads the Big Ten averaging 8.0 rebounds per game and is second on the Badgers with 11.5 points per outing. Evans tallied his 4th double-double of the season Sunday at Nebraska with 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.

Illinois Notes:

• John Groce is one win away from notching his 100th career victory as a head coach.

• Illinois carries a road record of 2-1 this season into Saturday's game at Wisconsin.

• Illinois has won three times at the Kohl Center during Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan's tenure, earning victories in Madison in 2005, 2006 and 2010. That is the most of any Big Ten school and accounts for one-third of the Badgers' nine home conference losses under Ryan.

• Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 entering the Kohl Center for the eighth time in its last 12 trips to Madison. The Illini went 2-5 in those seven previous visits to Wisconsin when ranked.

• Brandon Paul has scored in double figures in each of the last three games versus Wisconsin, averaging 15.7 points. He scored a game-high 22 points last year at the Kohl Center.

Prediction

Kelly Erickson filling in here. I'm just going to cut the chase here and say Illinois by 7.

Wisconsin's offense has been cold recently, heavily relying on senior forward Jared Berggren. That offense won't be able to keep up with a Illini front that's averaging 75.2 points per game. While the Badgers are known for their defense, it won't be enough to completely slow down the No. 12 team in the nation.

Worgull's Record: 11-4

Points off Prediction: 161 (10.1 per game)


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