Badgers' focus shifts to Illinois

Top-ranked team in the nation will visit Madison Tuesday

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team's players and coaches pride themselves on placing their attention solely on the next team on the schedule. As soon as the final seconds ticked off of Wisconsin's 72-61 victory over Michigan here Saturday, that next game on the schedule became Tuesday's home showdown with undefeated and top-ranked Illinois (19-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten).

"I think we had a delay at the airport because the plane has not left Indianapolis yet and I have a feeling that while we're sitting there on the bus waiting for the plane to come in it will start," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said after Saturday's game.

The Illini had this weekend off after an overtime win over Iowa Thursday night, giving them a few extra days to set their sights on the Badgers' 38-game home winning streak at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin (13-3, 4-1) had to remain focused against a tough Michigan team Saturday before turning their attention to Illinois' 19-game winning streak to start this season.

"You take one game at a time, you can't look ahead just because they're the No. 1 team," UW sophomore guard Kammron Taylor said. "You can't look ahead because that might mess up the game before this game."

Now, with an impressive road win at Michigan out of the way, the Badgers can place their gaze on the Illini.

"You go down the line there is not a bad player on that team," UW senior forward Mike Wilkinson said. "As a player you want to play against that type of competition. You always want to play against the best."

"I see one of the toughest games that we are probably going to play this year," Taylor said. "It might be the toughest game, even though it's at our place. I know they are going to be jacked up and we're going to be jacked up. It's a head-on collision."

Illinois has lost four straight at the Kohl Center and went 1-2 versus the Badgers last season – losing at Wisconsin and in the Big Ten Tournament title game last March but topping the Badgers in Champaign.

This year no one has been able to beat Illinois, which should remain atop the national polls for the eighth consecutive week, when they are released Monday.

"They are a good team, great representative of the Big Ten," Ryan said. "They are obviously showing that they are the class of the league right now. Until somebody gets at them people will keep talking about them. They've earned all the accolades that have come their way. Now it's the next contest and it happens to be against us. We are going to try to see what we can do."

Ryan expects his team to be confident Tuesday.

"Hopefully they feel if we do this, this and this we can knock this team off," Ryan said. "Every game we go into we want our guys to feel that way."


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