Live! At Wisconsin

Live! At Wisconsin

No. 4 Wisconsin 95, No. 23 Illinois 70 — FINAL

MADISON, Wis. — Ben Brust scored 18 points to go along with six rebounds while Sam Dekker added 17 and six boards in leading the Badgers to a rout of the Illini in front of 17,239 at the Kohl Center on Wednesday.

In all, five Wisconsin players reached double figures with Traevon Jackson and Frank Kaminsky (six rebounds) each scoring 15 points freshman Nigel Hayes adding 11 off the bench.

The Badgers, who are 3-0 in Big Ten play, are 16-0 for the first time in program history.

Illinois was led by Rayvonte Rice's 19 points and Nine rebounds. Joseph Bertrand added 18 points and nine boards. They were the only players to reach double figures in scoring for the Illini (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten).

More later on HQ

No. 4 Wisconsin 63, No. 23 Illinois 43 — 11:59 second half

The Illini started the second half on a 4-0 run. Small victories. The Badgers stemmed the tide, though, matching buckets with the Illini to maintain their lead.

Large crowd (17,239) but not a particularly lively one. Blame that on winter break. It doesn't seem to matter the these guys, though.

The Illinois bench is doing what it can to infuse some life into the team, jumping up and cheering after made buckets. It hasn't helped.

The troubles in the paint continue. Jaylon Tate missed a layup in transition.

John Groce is still up and barking out instructions. He's going to coach this one till the end, no matter who's in there.

I heard there were a lot of complaints from Illinois fans at halftime about the officiating. This one ain't on them, folks.

I'm going to keep this one short, got a deadline to meet.

No. 4 Wisconsin 50, No. 23 Illinois 25 — HALFTIME

During Wisconsin's 20-0 run, the Illini went 0 for 13. That was over about a six-minute span.

From Twitter: "It's been so long since Illinois scored, the last Illini bucket was made by Meyers Leonard."

You've got to be almost perfect to beat Wisconsin up here and with a missed layup by Nunn and a missed tip-dunk chance for Egwu, Rice missed a layup, Abrams missed a shot in the pain, too. Illinois has not done itself any favors.

Are you all still watching the game? How are they handling the broadcast of this beatdown?

There was an "I-L-L, I-N-I" chant here during a timeout. Pretty decent amount of Illini fans here tonight.

The most points Illinois had given up in the first half this season was 44 to UIC at the United Center. Wisconsin has that with two minutes left here today. That UIC game really turned in the second half, didn't it? Repeat today?

Illinois shot 10 for 37 (27 percent) in the half. The Illini were 3 for 12 (25 percent) from three and made 2 of 4 free throws.

Rayvonte Rice led the way with 10 points and six rebounds.

Wisconsin shot 16 for 30 (53.3 percent) from the floor and 4 for 12 (33.3 percent) from long range. Seems like it was better than that. The Badgers were also 14 for 17 (82.4 percent) from the foul line.

Illinois turned it over seven times in the first half.

To be a fly on the wall in that locker room.

No. 4 Wisconsin 23, No. 23 Illinois 10 — 11:08 first half

Old friends Nnanna Egwu and Frank Kaminsky were going at it early with Kaminsky getting the better of Nnanna the first two possessions of the game getting a pair of buckets and drawing a foul. 

I'm guessing you didn't see that part of the game because the Minnesota-Penn State game was still on.

Josh Gasser got the defensive assignment on Rayvonte Rice to start the game. Rice hit an early three and then powered through Gasser for a contested shot in the paint.

Austin Colbert continues to rack up fouls. A minute after checking in, he picked up a foul on a Dekker bucket.

Illinois has had trouble in the paint once it has gotten in there. The Wisconsin defense has been stout.

Kendrick Nunn got in for an uncontested layup and missed it using his strong hand. Got to make those.

I'm calling it now, Rayvonte Rice will get called for an offensive foul for clearing out with his off hand while dribbling.

Tom Crean mentioned it to the media the other day, so you know they're watching for it. Rice hasn't been exactly subtle about it tonight.

If Wisconsin goes on another run, the Illini are going to have to weather it. They've already used two timeouts.

No. 23 Illinois (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 4 Wisconsin (15-0, 2-0) — TIPOFF (BTN)

As you can imagine, this place filled up pretty quickly. It's 1 below outside, but that doesn't matter to these folks.

There will be not grateful Red here tonight, school is out for another week and a half. Still will be a lively bunch.

Illinois is starting with Tracy Abrams, Rayvonte Rice, Jospeh Bertrand, Jon Ekey and Nnanna Egwu.

Wisconsin counters with Traevon Jackson, Ben Brust, Josh Gasser, Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky.

Egwu and Abrams played AAU ball with Kaminsky with the Illinois Wolves. Egwu said he and Kaminsky talk regularly and there's been some trash talk.

"After the game it's kind of like bragging rights," Egwu said. "He's 2-0, he's got me. I've got to figure out a way to get him back."

Spoke to Mike Kelley before the game. The former Badgers guard is calling the game for the Big Ten Network. As you can imagine, the fans here love Sam Dekker, the forward from Sheboygan (That just sounds like it belongs in Wisconsin, doesn't it?)

"He's got a little more flash than most Wisconsin players and the fans love that," Kelley said of Dekker.

The kids these days call it swag.

I spy a Blackhawks Adam Burish No. 37 jersey. Burish played his college hockey here.

Wisconsin's honorary captain tonight is Rashard Griffith.

Shannon Ryan (Chicago Tribune), Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times) and Mark Tupper (Decatur Herald and Review) all made the trip. Check out their stuff tomorrow. Rob McColley is here, too.

We had a saxophonist perform the National Anthem. It was pretty great. No, it wasn't Bill Clinton.

No. 23 Illinois (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 4 Wisconsin (15-0, 2-0) — 8 p.m. BTN

Lots of ticket brokers outside selling seats for this one. Those are brave folks, it's 1 below zero here, but I guess they're truly used to this.

I'm told Steve Stricker will be here tonight. The Wisconsin native and Badgers fan, who played his college golf at Illinois, is apparently having some sort of presentation at halftime.

Stricker, the PGA great, was here for last year's game against the Illini. The Big Ten Network cameras caught him cheering for the Badgers during their route while wearing a Wisconsin ball cap. That really ruffled some feathers back in Champaign-Urbana.

Terry Wymer, Lamont Simpson and Mike Sanzere are your officials tonight.

Penn State and Minnesota are the warmup act for this one on BTN. I saw D.J. Newbill out there for the Nittany Lions. No further discipline for the Penn State star after Saturday's altercation with Kendrick Nunn.

Spent a few minutes on the Illinois bench while the team went through its first round of warmups. The coaches feel like the team is ready to go. They've been ready for this one since they departed Champaign yesterday. 

Late-arriving crowd here at the Kohl Center, but rest assured, this place will be rocking come 8 p.m. There is a good amount of orange in the building.

There's a game of floppy cup or something going on in the out-of-bounds area in front of the band. Kind of weird. Someone just won a $25 gift certificate to a grocery store.

Usually see a lot of Packers jerseys up here this time of year, but with Green Bay out of the playoffs, the Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Clay Matthews tops have been stowed for the winter.

No. 23 Illinois (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 4 Wisconsin (15-0, 2-0) — 8 p.m. BTN

Good evening from chilly Madison. It's cold outside and it's cold here inside the Kohl Center, too. Tracy Abrams said that yesterday. He was right.

This is probably the toughest place to play in the Big Ten, even more so than Indiana. The Badgers just don't make a habit of losing here. I wrote about that today. Bo Ryan's teams are always very good, but there's just something about this building and its atmosphere that frustrates and flusters opposing players.

That being said, few give Illinois a chance of escaping here with a win tonight. Yours truly included in that, though I do think the Illini will be competitive.

They've got the second-most wins here among Big Ten programs behind Michigan State. Illinois' got four, MSU has five.

Speaking of MSU, did you catch that game against Ohio State last night? Instant classes. Did you see Tom Izzo afterward? You'd have thought his Spartans had just lost to Tennessee State instead of having just knocked off an unbeaten, No. 3 team in the country. Whatever works for you and your team, I guess.

Didn't realize this, but Illinois hasn't beaten a Top-5 team on the road since Nick Anderson hit the shot at Indiana 25 years ago. So, we could see history tonight.

Think these are the same old boring Badgers? Think again. These guys can go.

"They're the highest-rated offensive efficiency team we've faced to this juncture. They put eight players out there who can score and have all scored in double figures at some juncture this season," Illinois coach John Groce said. "Seven of them shoot threes, they're very, very gifted offensively, very explosive offensively. They can hit two, three, four threes in the span of a minute and a half. They can go on spurts, so that makes them really, really dangerous."

They blitzed Illinois here last year, jumping out 14-0 and 34-9 en route to an easy win. Illinois didn't crack double figures until more than 16 minutes in. That was a rough one.

San Dekker was the first Badger on the court tonight. He's talented. Frank Kaminsky made an early appearance as did freshmen Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig.

The dance team also made an early appearance. 

Sconnie's wearing white. The Illini will wear blue.

Jamall Walker was the first Illinois representative on the floor tonight. He's got the scout for this one. He's got a real business-like look about him.

Tracy Abrams, Joseph Bertrand the first Illini players to take the floor tonight.

Kendrick Nunn's warmup has a hood on it. Smart man.

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