Badgers battle Illini in Big Ten bout
Champaign, IL (Sports Network) – The nation’s second-ranked team has traveled
to Champaign for a Big Ten Conference clash, as the Wisconsin Badgers
will battle the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Wisconsin is 18-1 overall and has won 14 straight games since suffering its
only loss of the season to Missouri State. The Badgers have beaten the
likes of Pittsburgh and Ohio State this season, two of the nation’s top teams.
Their most recent victory came on Wednesday, as they improved to 4-0 in Big Ten
action with a 69-64 triumph over Purdue.
Illinois has won two of its last three games, including a 64-52 decision
over Minnesota on the road on Wednesday. The Illini are now 14-6 overall,
and nine of their victories have
come at home. Illinois leads the all-time series with Wisconsin by a 106-68
margin, including a 66-17 advantage at home over the Badgers.
Wisconsin is scoring 75.1 ppg this season on 47.8 percent shooting from the
floor, and the club is limiting its opponents to 57.7 ppg on 39.4 percent
efficiency from the field. The Badgers are outrebounding foes by 7.4 rpg and
have committed 74 fewer turnovers than the 19 teams that they have faced.
Alando Tucker is clearly one of the best players in the Big Ten, as he is
scoring 19.5 ppg to lead Wisconsin. Kammron Taylor checks in with 13.2 ppg on
the strength of his 42.7 percent accuracy from three-point range. Four of the
five starters for the Badgers scored in double figures in the win over Purdue
on Wednesday. Michael Flowers netted 15 points to pace Wisconsin, and Tucker
contributed 14 points. Taylor and Jason Chappell pitched in 13 points apiece
for Wisconsin, which earned a decisive 22-10 advantage in points from the foul
Warren Carter has emerged as a strong offensive performer for Illinois this
season, and he is currently leading the team in scoring with 13.8 ppg. Shaun
Pruitt is contributing 11.0 ppg on 54.2 percent shooting from the field, and he
is pulling down a team-high 6.9 rpg. The third and final double-digit scorer
for Illinois is Jamar Smith with his 10.4 ppg, but his 36.7 percent shooting
from the floor could certainly stand some improvement. Smith was a non-factor
in the win over Minnesota earlier this week, as he was held scoreless in 12
minutes of action off the bench. Carter racked up 17 points and 11 rebounds in
that game, while Brian Randle and Trent Meachem scored 12 points apiece. A
37-27 rebounding advantage was certainly key to the victory.