Illinois' second leading scorer is junior center Mike Tisdale who is listed at 7-1 and 235. Tisdale scores 11.7 points per game and adds 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game and the Badgers will need to find a way to keep him at his averages instead of letting him explode for the 27 points he had against Indiana. As we all know the Badgers don't have anybody who is 7'-0" tall who anybody wants to see take the court so the question is how will 6'-8" 240 Keaton Nankivil match up with Tisdale on both ends of the court. Keaton has gotten much better on defense and can hopefully limit Tisdale's presence on offense with the help of Evans, and probably Mike B. We think the Badgers are going to have to play a lot more of Evans and Mike B. in this game and less of Jarmusz and probably Wilson in order to give Nankivil help against the bigs, the good news is this is a home game and both players play much better in Madison. This is likely a game where it is going to be very evident that the Badgers are lucky to have the two young guys as their rebounding ability and defensive tenacity will be needed.
What would really help the Badgers on offense is if Nankivil is still feeling his jumper because it should then help draw Tisdale further from the paint where Tisdale could have a strong impact if he is allowed to sit in the paint by limiting the effectiveness of the guards drives to the hoop. Unfortunately the Illini are a tall team and will likely have another player besides Tisdale who will step out on Nankivil as they have three players in the regular rotation who are 6'-9" Cole,Davis and Griffey. The key for the Badgers is having 5 players on the court who the Illini have to respect scoring the ball and then that would hopefully make Tisdale have to guard Nankivil. The problem is we already said that Mike B. and Evans are likely going to have to play a lot more and while Illinois should respect Evans' jumper if he proves he is feeling it whoever is guarding Mike B. will probably be very quick to help out on somebody else. It will be very interesting to see how the Badgers compete against a taller team as when the Badgers haven't had a big inside presence it has spelled disaster in the tournament, hopefully it doesn't spell disaster in this game.
We don't want to completely freak the Badger faithful out so we will end with the final thought that Tisdale seems to see his shadow in big games as he had only 6 points and 2 points against MSU and 4 points against Purdue and Ganzaga.
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