Our breakdown of a Saturday gone bad for the soon-to-be unranked Illini:
Wisconsin 74, Illinois 51
Player of the Game: Wisconsin’s Jared Berggren
Stout Minnesotan produced a double-double, scoring 15 and pulling down 12 boards. Seven were on the offensive end, part of a dominating performance by Wisconsin on its end of the court. Seemed like the Badgers had the ball more minutes at a time.
Wisconsin A-, Illinois F
Early foul trouble and an elbow to the face did in the Illini, who got just two points from starters Nnanna Egwu and Tyler Griffey. Egwu went to the bench with three fouls in the first half and Griffey had to go in for repairs after absorbing a nasty hit. Wisconsin starters combined for 32 points and 24 rebounds.
Wisconsin B, Illinois C-
D.J. Richardson was by far the most effective Illini, hitting 7 of 11 shots for 16 points. But Brandon Paul struggled mightily, missing all but one of 11 shots from the field. The cold streak extended to the free throw line, where he missed half of his 10 attempts. Traevon Jackson put a smile on Bo Ryan’s face with his first-half effort.
Wisconsin B, Illinois C
Badgers might have found their next star in freshman Sam Dekker, who hit three three-pointers and helped on the glass and defensively. Joseph Bertrand was needed early by John Groce and helped out with 12 points and seven rebounds. With the blowout loss, Groce found plenty of time for his subs.
Wisconsin A, Illinois F
Consecutive lopsided losses won’t likely knock the Illini out of the Top 25, but it will be close. Illinois was never in the game, letting the Badgers take a 20-point advantage before Ryan had even yelled at the officials. After a slow start this season, Wisconsin is making another push toward the NCAA tournament.