Wisconsin at Illinois: Game preview

Wisconsin at Illinois: Game preview

Wisconsin at Illinois

8 p.m. today


Illinois (12-12, 2-9)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG

G Trent Frazier Fr. 6-1 11.7

G Mark Alstork Gr. 6-5 6.7

F Kipper Nichols R-So. 6-6 9.7

F Leron Black R-Jr. 6-7 14.3

F Michael Finke R-Jr. 6-10 9.8

FYI: Black's nine-point effort at Ohio State snapped a six-game streak of double-digit scoring performances. He's averaging just under his season mark in Big Ten play at 14.1 ppg and ranks eighth in the league in conference play in field goal percentage at 59.1 percent.

Off the bench

G Te'Jon Lucas So. 6-1 5.3

G Mark Smith Fr. 6-4 6.5

G Da'Monte Williams Fr. 6-3 3.9

Wisconsin (10-15, 3-9)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG

G Brad Davison Fr. 6-3 11.2

G Khalil Iverson Jr. 6-5 9.2

F Aleem Ford R-Fr. 6-8 5.9

F Nathan Reuvers Fr. 6-10 5.7

F Ethan Happ R-Jr. 6-10 17.4

FYI: Davison's best game in the Big Ten came against Illinois in mid-January. The Maple Grove, Minn., native put up 18 points against the Illini (just two shy of his career high) and did so mostly by getting to the free throw line where he didn't miss in making all 10 of his attempts.

Off the bench

G Brevin Pritzl R-So. 6-3 8.3

F Alex Illikainen Jr. 6-9 0.8

G T.J. Schlundt R-Jr. 6-5 1.1


Site: State Farm Center (15,544), Champaign.

Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Doug Altenberger (expert analysis) have the call on the Illini Sports Network on WHMS 97.5-FM, WDAN 1490-AM, WDNL 102.1-FM and WPXN 104.9-FM.

TV: Dave Revsine (play-by-play) and Shon Morris (analysis) have the call on BTN.

Series history: Illinois leads 110-87.

Last meeting: Wisconsin won 75-50 on Jan. 19 in Madison, Wis.

FYI: The Illini's loss to the Badgers last month — with freshman guard Brad Davison's 18 points leading the way among four double-digit Wisconsin scorers — stands as their widest margin of defeat this season and was the 12th straight defeat for the Illini in the series. The 50 points were also the fewest Illinois has scored under Brad Underwood.

Scott Richey's storylines

New-look Mark?

A confident Mark Alstork can be a dangerous Mark Alstork for Illinois, and the 6-foot-5 guard has a dose of it after scoring a season high 19 points Sunday at Ohio State. "I had more confidence going into the game — more swagger," Alstork said. "I think that was a big contributor to why I played well. I'm here to be aggressive for the rest of the season. I don't have no more time to try to let it come to me. I'm going to go out there and be aggressive and look forward to making plays and creating opportunities."

Cleaning up on the glass

Illinois still ranks ninth in the country in offensive rebounding percentage per the KenPom ratings, with its offense hauling in 35.9 percent of the total rebounds possible. That's even after the Illini had just five offensive rebounds in their loss to Ohio State — the third time in four games they've been in single digits in that particular category. "I think the one thing I'm really the most disappointed and disgusted with is my personal lack of getting these guys to compete on the glass and how much we've slipped there," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "That's not anything I want us to be about. ... You don't win on the road doing that. To have five offensive rebounds, I take offense to."

As Happ goes, so go the Badgers

Ethan Happ scored 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting in Wisconsin's Jan. 19 victory against Illinois and added 10 rebounds and five assists. It was the 11th of what's now 16 straight games with double digit points and the type of overall production that's become customary from the redshirt junior forward from Milan. "Ethan Happ is a guy that's an all-league guy," Underwood said. "He does a lot for them. We've got to make his touches a little more difficult than we did in the first game even though he's going to bring the ball up the court some for them."

Prediction: Illinois 73, Wisconsin 68

Wisconsin has won just once in its last nine games. That lone victory was a 25-point thrashing of Illinois in Madison. Today's outcome will be decided by just one thing. Will the Illini show up to play? They didn't last month at the Kohl Center and paid the price. They'll have to if they want to snap the program's losing streak to the Badgers that dates all the way back to the Bruce Weber era. (N-G prediction record: 18-5)