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Wisconsin vs Illinois: UW Badger Basketball Preview

UW Badger Basketball
Wisconsin vs Illinois
Thursday 2/9/2010
TV: Big Ten Network
Time: Sunday, 6:00 PM CT
Location: Kohl Center, Madison, WI

Badger Game Preview - First Easy Trey:
1. The Badgers are 18-5 and ranked 13th in the nation,Illinois is not ranked but did receive 16 votes this week and is 16-9 overall and 8-3 in the conference. Illinois is tied with Wisconsin and Ohio State for second in the Big Ten after they beat Michigan State at home 78-73 (MSU was without Kalin Lucas). Illinois has losses to Purdue at home and Northwestern and Michigan State on the road. All three Illinois conference losses came in consecutive games since then they have run off 4 straight wins. Illinois conference wins our to Iowa,Indiana twice,Penn State twice,Iowa, and Michigan State.

2. Illinois starts Mike Tisdale at center,Bill Cole and Tyler Griffey at the forward spots and D.J. Richardson, and Demetri McCamey at the guards. Junior forward Mike Davis is the top contributer off the bench at 10.7 points per game, also look out for freshman guard Brandon Paul off the bench who averages 8.6 points per game and 1.4 assists. Junior guard Demetri McCamey leads the team with 15.4 points and 6.4 assists per game, against MSU he had a double double with 22 points and 11 assists. Mike Tisdale and D.J. Richardson average 11.7 and 11.2 points per game. As you can see this Illinois has balanced scoring and a above average bench. The other thing they have is height as 4 players in the rotation are over 6'-9" and Tisdale is listed at 7'-1".

3. The Badgers have won 6 out of the last 7 meetings between the two teams, however they did loose last year on the road when McCamey scored 25 and in a 64-57 loss. The Badgers and Illinois will hook up one more time this year as they play in Urbana for the last game of the Big Ten season.

Badger Game Preview - Fast Break Keys to the Game:

1. The Badgers need to limit the damage that McCamey does to them as he is quickly becoming an elite player in this league.  Besides the double double on MSU he also had 28 points and 9 assists versus Purdue and 20 points and 6 assists against Gonzaga so he shows up for big games. The good news is he does experience a drop in productivity on the road and the Badgers have of course outstanding defensive abilities. Against Michigan State McCamey went 6 of 9 from three point range so it is imperative the Badgers do the better job they have done of late on closing out on the three point shooter. 

2. Illinois is one of the few teams in the Big Ten the Badgers have seen who get a solid contribution from the bench.  This is a home game and the Badgers need Evans and Wilson to play the type of games they are very capable of at home. This is a game where Evans really needs to stay in the game and not make dumb fouls as his defensive and rebounding will likely be needed. Wilson continues to play better and better as he gets more minutes, in this game he needs to show how much his defense is improving

3. The Badgers have been getting out to fast starts in the last couple of games due to dribble penetration and kick outs to three point shooter who are hitting their shots early. The Badgers are relying an awful lot right now on jump shooting and it has been working because they have been on fire from the field, but some nights those shots won't fall. The Badgers need to see if they can at least start to get a few more points from finishing on drives to the hoop, Wilson is a player who could really add something in this regard.  If the Badgers can't find ways to score inside they need to make sure they check to see who is feeling it as they have enough shooters that someone should be.

Badger Game Preview Prediction:
This is a sort of scary game for the Badgers as Illinois has really looked pretty good of late, they have multiple players who can score and bring solid people off the bench! This game is likely to be close at the end and you might have to hold your breath that Trevon can start making his free throws again. Illinois shoots 71% from the free throw line and only shot 57% against MSU the Badgers shoot 74% overall for the year, we take the Badgers 65-61. We really nailed the prediction against Michigan, here is hoping we are wrong about this game and the Badgers take it to Illinois.

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