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Wisconsin vs Illinois (road game): UW Badger Basketball Preview

UW Badger Basketball
Wisconsin vs Illinois
Thursday 3/7/2010
TV: ESPN
Time: Sun. 1:00 PM CT
Location: Assembly Hall, Champaign,IL

1. The Badgers are 22-7 and ranked 17th in the nation this week,Illinois is not ranked and is 18-12 overall and 10-7 in the conference. Illinois of course was the team the damaged the Badgers chances of sharing the Big Ten title with their 63-56 upset win in Madison. In the road game the Illini used their height to stop the Badgers dribble drive penetration particularly in the second half to pull out the victory, that was of course without the Badgers having Leuer in the lineup.

2. Illinois starts Mike Tisdale at center,Bill Cole and Mike Davis at the forward spots and D.J. Richardson, and Demetri McCamey at the guards. Look out for freshman guard Brandon Paul off the bench who averages 8.2 points per game and 1.4 assists. Junior guard Demetri McCamey leads the team with 15.1 points and 6.9 assists per game. Mike Tisdale and D.J. Richardson average 11.5 and 10.5 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. This is a big game for Illinois as they need a win in this game to likely keep them on the bubble for March Madness. For the Badgers this game represents a great chance to avenge a loss and see how the addition of Leuer can help them against a team with size. 

Badger Game Preview - Fast Break Keys to the Game:
1. The Badgers need to get Leuer and Nankivil on the court together and see if they can find effective ways to run the offense against a team with a size advantage like the Illini. In the first game it was Nankivil all alone against the taller Illini and the Badgers offense really suffered as they couldn't get points down low and couldn't even penetrate down low for kick outs.

2. Ryan Evans barely played against the Illini last time around due to the Badgers needing a player in the game that Illinois respected their shooting. With the addition of Leuer in the lineup it will be interesting to see if this actually helps get players like Mike B., Ryan Evans, and Rob Wilson into games keeping the normal rotation and the starters fresh. The reason Leuer could help is that he has enough height and offense ability that the Badgers might be able to sacrifice scoring at another position to get one of the energy/defensive young players in.

3. The Badgers really need to keep building momentum as it is March after all, they have beat some cupcake teams of late but this will be a good test if they can keep things going. It is important to keep the offense running smoothly and the shooting percentages high which means that the senior guards Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon need to keep their games elevated. If the Badgers get down in this game it is should fall to Hughes and JBo to provide the leadership in the game to get the win, and keep on winning in March.

Badger Game Preview Prediction:
The Badgers will play with a lot of determination after loosing the first game of the series in Madison. Look for Trevon Hughes,Jason Bohannon and Jordan Taylor to look to prove that they can drive to the hoop on the Illini and they will. Badgers win 62-58 as the guards drive and kick and Leuer gets 18 points in the game 12 of which come inside.

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