Since suffering a three-game losing streak earlier in league play, the Wisconsin men's basketball team has reeled of three consecutive wins. A fourth at Illinois would be pretty impressive.
Before this afternoon's tip-off, BadgerBlitz.com analyzes the potential matchups between the Badgers and Illini to provide a closer look at UW's key Big Ten matchup.
-Wisconsin continues to play defense at an impressive rate. So far opponents are scoring just 49 points per game against the Badgers, good for a nation's best in scoring defense.
-The Badgers are 5-2 away from the Kohl Center, including three wins in true road environments. UW's most recent road win came at Purdue, marking just the second win in the past 37 years inside Mackey Arena.
-Taylor is Wisconsin's leading scorer and ranks 2nd in the Big Ten with a 2.7-assist-to-turnover ratio.
Since starting off relatively slow - - at least in comparison to his junior season standards - - Taylor has started playing some solid basketball of late. He's averaging 15 points per game and continues to distribute without many turnovers.
D.J. Richardson does a little bit of everything for the Illini. He's third on the team in scoring, averaging just less than 13 points per game. He also shoots 40 percent from distance. With all the guards Illinois plays with, it will be important for Gasser to pay attention to Richardson, because if he gets a sliver of daylight he will make the Badgers pay.
Evans is the best on ball defender Wisconsin has. So he'll draw the assignment to slow Paul, Illinois' most explosive offensive threat. Evans has also been scoring quite a bit lately and seems confident with his game. If he can play well on both sides of the ball UW would be in good shape.
Bruesewitz, like Evans, seems to be playing at a pretty confident rate. Any offense he contributes helps the Badgers play at a higher level. If he reaches double digits UW will most likely be in good shape.
Leonard has elevated his play quite a bit, especially in comparison to last season. He'll be quite the force for Illinois and will put Berggren in a tough place defensively. For Berggren, and consequently UW, staying out of foul trouble will be key. But that's easier said than done.
It all depends on what Brust shows up. If he's stroking it from downtown UW is really, really good. If he's struggling it's not so good. Brust and Maniscalco are two of the best players coming off the bench in the entire Big Ten.
Ryan has a winning record over Illinois during his tenure at Wisconsin and his Badgers have won three of the past five games in Champaign. But with a lot on the line this afternoon, and with Illinois coming off a loss, one would imagine that Illinois would come in fired up.
Sunday, Jan. 22, at 1:00 p.m. CT
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Gary Williams
-Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)