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What to expect from Illinois vs. Wisconsin

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Another repeat conference opponent, but this time at home.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night, the No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers return to action after a decent six-day break from the Big Ten Conference schedule when they face Illinois at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin (17-8, 9-5 Big Ten) hopes to stop its two-game losing skid, as its most recent defeat came at home against No. 11 Michigan State on Feb. 12.

Illinois (10-15, 6-8) is surging as of late with some big wins, all after the first meeting between these two opponents in late January.

This will be the third time the Badgers have played on a Monday during the 2018-19 season. They defeated Rutgers at home on Dec. 3 while falling to Maryland in College Park on Jan. 14.

Last time vs. Illinois

Wisconsin overcame 17 turnovers and some Ethan Happ foul trouble with a career day by sophomore forward Nate Reuvers in a 72-60 win in Champaign on Jan. 23.

Reuvers recorded his first career double-double with a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. Four of the five starters scored in double figures that January evening, and the lone Badger in that group to not do so was Happ himself—though he tallied nine points, nine rebounds and six assists in the win.

UW now has won 14 straight against Illinois heading into Monday’s matchup.

What’s happened to Illinois since then

Well, the Illini have won four in a row and five of their last six since the loss to the Badgers. That includes conference victories against No. 24 Maryland at Madison Square Garden and No. 11 Michigan State at home. Wins also came against Nebraska (ranked No. 33 in KenPom) and Ohio State (No. 35 in KenPom).

On Valentine’s Day, Illinois broke the hearts of the Buckeyes in a 63-56 victory in Columbus to extend their winning streak.

Wisconsin cannot take head coach Brad Underwood and his Illinois squad lightly, especially coming off a two-game losing streak itself.

Illinois team stats

  • Points per game: 74.4
  • Opponents’ points per game: 74.8
  • Field goal percentage: 43.6
  • Opponent field goal percentage: 46.6
  • Three-point percentage: 34.3
  • Opponent three-point percentage: 33.6
  • Free throw percentage: 68.5
  • Turnovers per game: 13.4
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 17.0
  • NCAA NET ranking: 80

Key KenPom.com stats (Updated as of Feb. 17)

  • Team rank: 66
  • Adjusted offensive efficiency: 109.2 (75th in nation)
  • Adjusted defensive efficiency: 98.1 (70th in nation)
  • Defensive effective field goal percentage: 52.3 (246th in nation)
  • Turnover percentage (offense): 18.4 (145th in nation)
  • Turnover percentage (defense): 23.4 (12th in nation)
  • Offensive rebound percentage (defense): 31.7 (298th in nation)
  • Free throws attempted/field goals attempted (offense): 28.6 (289th in nation)
  • Free throws attempted/field goals attempted (defense): 45.2 (346th in nation)
  • Steal percentage (offense): 7.9 (60th in nation)
  • Steal percentage (defense): 10.9 (47th in nation)

Potential Illinois playmakers

  • Sophomore guard Trent Frazier: 14.7 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game
  • Freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu: 14.2 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 assists per game
  • Sophomore guard Da’monte Williams: 3.8 points per game; 3.3 rebounds per game
  • Redshirt junior forward Kipper Nichols: 6.6 points per game; 3.1 rebounds per game; 1.3 assists per game
  • Freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili: 12.2 points per game; 5.0 rebounds per game; 0.9 assists per game
  • Senior guard Aaron Jordan: 8.2 points per game; 4.7 rebounds per game; 1.5 assists per game