Madison, Wis.—Throughout the season, Harris and Wilkinson have been relatively consistent but in the Badgers' 76-56 victory over Illinois they took their games to the next level with a pair of career days. Harris ended up with a career and team-high 30 points and Wilkinson also set personal bests with 24 points, 10 field goals made and 15 attempts.
The juniors wasted no time getting their scoring started, pairing up to score 24 of Wisconsin's first 26 points.
The performance was even more impressive considering that each had suffered a mini scoring slump recently.
During the team's victory over Michigan, Harris was held to only five points in 21 minutes, the only time all season that he was held under double digits.
Wilkinson also needed a boost after his poor shooting against Michigan State and Purdue. Against the Spartans he was held to a meager two points and was shaky from the field against the Boilermakers, going 2-for-8 and finishing with 12 points. This week has been different, though, as Wilkinson had an 18-point performance against Michigan.
"I've gotten some pretty good looks the past few games," Wilkinson said. "I've gotten some pretty good looks in the past but they didn't quite fall in, they'd roll around and out and now it seems like they're rolling around and falling through."
It is safe to say that Harris and Wilkinson are Wisconsin's best and more people are paying attention to them. Harris received recognition prior to the season when he was named Preseason Player of the Year in the Big Ten. While Harris is getting national attention, Wilkinson is also getting praise and it is coming from people who should fear him the most: his opponent's coaches.
"I love Wilkinson," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "I think he's tough. He knows how to get angles; he has a good feel of the game. That's why they have success."
Though Wisconsin has always been known for its team effort, it is hard not to focus on Harris and Wilkinson. Their performances against Illinois showed again that they are the nucleus of the team.
As the Badgers journey into the second half of their already prosperous season with key players Alando Tucker and Freddie Owens still nursing foot injuries, the duo will be there to deliver as usual and take Wisconsin to its third consecutive Big Ten title.
"If Harris plays like that and if Wilkinson plays like that, your best players rise up and play big games like that, they're going to be up there at the end of the year, there's no doubt about it," Weber said.