When: Saturday, January 24, 2004, 1:32 p.m. CST
Site: Kohl Center (17,142), Madison, WI
Broadcasts: ESPN Regional (WISC in Madison), Wisconsin Radio Network
Series Notes: Illinois leads all-time series 101-66
Injuries to key players have not stopped Wisconsin.
With injuries to starters senior guard Freddie Owens and sophomore forward Alando Tucker, Wisconsin used the depth and versatility of its bench to pull off a come-from-behind win at home and extend its home winning streak to a Big Ten-best 23 games.
"That's what makes a team a champion or gives them a chance to compete," first-year Illinois head coach Bruce Weber acknowledged. "When you have the injury here or there or when you have somebody in a little big of a funk, somebody else steps up and makes the plays and does the things that you need to win."
The game will match strength on strength. Illinois is currently leading the conference in scoring with 76.9 points per game.
The two preseason conference players of the year, Illinois sophomore guard Dee Brown and Wisconsin junior guard Devin Harris will provide the most intriguing matchup of the game. Both players lead their teams in points and assists.
Wisconsin-Illinois by the numbers
13.7, 12.8 – The respective positive scoring margins this season for Wisconsin and Illinois, respectively, the top marks in the Big Ten.
7.2 – Wisconsin's average advantage in free throws made per contest.
0 – The number of UW losses this season when leading at the half.
+5.3 – Wisconsin's conference-best turnover margin
18.1 – Illinois' league-leading average assists per game
6.6 – average number of 3-point field goals made by Illinois per contest.
+5.8, +4.1 – rebounding margin for Illinois and Wisconsin, second and third in the conference respectively.