Wisconsin 95, UI 70: 'You have to have amnesia'

MADISON, Wis. — Two hours before tipoff of Wednesday’s Big Ten tilt between No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 23 Illinois, the temperature in Wisconsin’s capital city was 1 below zero. Ticket scalpers braved the arctic air, negotiating prices with potential customers, not budging on their asking amount.

“Illinois fans are coming, that’s going to drive up the prices,” one was overheard saying.

There was a decent amount of orange inside the Kohl Center with the Grateful Red and the rest of the Wisconsin students still home for winter break, but many are probably wishing they hadn’t made the trip.

On the heels of a 20-0 run in which the Illini were as cold as the central Wisconsin air, missing all 13 shot attempts, the Badgers cruised to a 95-70 win, starting the season 16-0 for the first time in program history.

“I’m proud of the players. I’m proud of the team. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished to this point, and try to keep this going,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “The players deserve the credit.”

For the Illini (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), the 16-year-old Kohl Center continues to be a house of horrors. Illinois has lost 6 of 7 against Wisconsin inside its home arena, including four straight.

The 25-point margin of defeat was the worst in coach John Groce’s tenure at Illinois.

It can all be traced back to that 20-0 run by the Badgers and Illinois’ response, or lack thereof, to it.

“You’ve got to respond to adversity better than that. We have this season, but for some reason today, against a really good ball team that’s as explosive as they are, you can’t do that,” Groce said. “It’s very atypical of this team, something we take a lot of pride in. I didn’t like our look and body language during that stretch.”

Wisconsin put five players in double figures, led by Ben Brust (18 points, six rebounds) and Sam Dekker (17 points, six rebounds).

Rayvonte Rice (19 points) and Joseph Bertrand (18) each grabbed nine rebounds for the Illini, who were playing their first game of the season as a ranked team.

Whether it’s an upset win against the No. 1 team in the country, like Illinois did last year against Indiana, or a 25-point clobbering on the road like Wednesday’s game that saw Wisconsin fans hit the exits with 6:09 left and their team leading by 30, the key in Big Ten play is to forget about the last one and move on.

“You have to have amnesia,” Groce said. “But, you have to learn from it. It’s very important to learn from it. You can’t have a hangover; that’s a recipe for disaster. We’ve got confident guys, and they’ll respond. We’ve got great kids.”

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IlliniHimey wrote on January 08, 2014 at 11:01 pm

I wish I had amnesia, because then I could forget just how God-awful of a game coach you are, John Groce.  How does it feel to be owned by Bo Ryan?  0-3 vs the tool, and you have proven that you have no solution to make any game vs. Wisky competitive.

Jam wrote on January 09, 2014 at 5:01 am

Why is this a surprise?  Every one  wrote that Wisconsin was playing at a very high level.  This will happen.  UofW is on a roll this year. Ilinois has played some very good games, but they will not be at the level of Wisconsin.  You have to put the ball in the hoop and going to a strange envirnment against what is apparently a great team  makes that difficult.  Coach Groce is correct.  They have to learn from this experience and move on.

Illini '73 wrote on January 09, 2014 at 8:01 am

Something happened over the weekend.  In watching the Duke/GA Tech and OSU/MSU games Tuesday, it was ovbious the refs had stopped calling fouls every time someone breathed on a driver going to the basket.  I was worried that if this continued, the Illini might have trouble scoring against Wisconsin (or anyone else).  A lot of our scoring has been because of 1) they get fouled a lot on drives to the basket, and 2) because of that the defenses had to allow them to get to the rim easier.  The refs have evidently decided or have been instructed to quit calling these fouls.  The Illlini will have to start running better offense to get good shots rather than just going one-on-one all the time.  That might have worked in the pre-season, but it won't work in the Big Ten.

Bwp 5P wrote on January 09, 2014 at 9:01 am

Groce didn't miss all those 2' ers at the rim! I don't know what their issue was last night but they sure missed a lot of normally easy shots!

DaisyJ wrote on January 09, 2014 at 11:01 am

Stopping the dribble drive was great coaching by Bo. Rice and Abrams do not pass the ball enough and it shows. Once we were down, it was over if they did not wan to include the other teamates in the offense.

I have laugh that we cannot have 2 center in the game at the same time .

All the subbing early only added to the poor offense. You have to let a player get going. Brining in cold new player after cold new player off the bench does not work.

jjohnson wrote on January 09, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Let us be honest. As hard-playing as is this team, it cannot shoot with any consistency, and it played against a team with at least five 3-point shooters who are better, at least statistically, than any of ours. With all the missed lay-ups and Nanna's sudden inability (look back at the Penn State game) to sink his short jumpers, there was no way to overcome that 3-point shooting inability. 

What did astound me was Wisconsin's ability to drive against us and get lay-ups and conventional three pointers; I think that rather than responding to Himey's incessant desire to insult will be Groce's emphasis.

thebucketman wrote on January 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm

im always amazed at how many great coaches on illinihq are jobless. any university looking for a great coach should just visit this post! wisconsins team is better than ours, game over, move on. you shouldnt lose your home games, and wisconsin doesnt, period. go illini!