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NCAAB Game Preview: Illinois vs. Wisconsin - 2/18/2019 - 8:00 PM EST
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2019 by CapperTekSEO
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NCAAB Game Preview: Illinois vs. Wisconsin - Date: 2/18/2019 Feb 17, 2019Illinois is scorching hot with a season-best four straight wins, and its recent success will certainly be tested on Monday.That is when the Fighting Illini attempt to halt a 14-game losing streak against No. 20 Wisconsin, a skid that began in 2011, when they visit the Badgers in Big Ten play at Madison, Wis.The slide includes this season's 72-60 home loss against the Badgers (17-8, 9-5 Big Ten) on Jan. 23 when Wisconsin star Ethan Happ was a non-factor, scoring a season-low nine points and committing six turnovers.But Illinois (10-15, 6-8) is feeling optimistic for the rematch after posting consecutive wins over Nebraska, current-No. 11 Michigan State, Rutgers and Ohio State."We want more. We're not satisfied," Illini freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu told reporters after Thursday's 63-56 road win over the Buckeyes. "Our main focus is Wisconsin and trying to get the fifth in a row. We're trying to make history."We're the only people who believe in us, so we just need to stay together." There wasn't much reason for anyone to think too highly of the Illini after a 4-12 start that included five straight Big Ten setbacks.But a stunning 95-68 thumping of Minnesota on Jan. 16 began the current stretch of six wins in nine games.Youngsters such as sophomore guard Trent Frazier -- the team leader in scoring (14.7), 3-pointers (66) and steals (37) -- Dosunmu (14.2 average) and freshman power forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili (12.2 average, team-leading 5.0 rebounds) have flashed good in-season development."We're playing really well," Frazier said. "We're on a roll right now and we have to continue to work hard." Illinois had no answer for sophomore power forward Nate Reuvers in the first meeting as Reuvers established career highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds while posting the lone double-double of his career.His effort in that game was key with Happ, the senior center, battling foul trouble while having his least productive game of the season.Happ enters the rematch with four straight double-doubles. He had 20 points and 12 rebounds in last Tuesday's 67-59 loss to Michigan State to become the fourth player in Big Ten history to reach both 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds.His career totals stand at 2,000 points and 1,138 rebounds and he was more interested in discussing his shaky play -- he missed all six of his free-throw attempts and committed six turnovers -- than his historical feat after the loss to the Spartans."I felt the whole night we were throwing punches back and forth and felt like we were in position to win the whole time," Happ said after the contest. "As a player, you look back on stuff that you did personally. Profitable Handicappers. There's plays I could have finished stronger or took my time more."And, obviously, the free throws were possessions where we got nothing out of it." Happ leads Wisconsin in scoring (18.4) and rebounding (10.5). D'Mitrik Trice contributes 12.7 points per game and has knocked down a team-high 61 3-pointers while fellow sophomore guard Brad Davison averages 11 points.The Badgers have dropped back-to-back games after posting a season-long six-game winning streak. An offense averaging 70.1 points overall hasn't reached 60 over the past three games while averaging 55.7 during the stretch."We've got to continue to get better and find ways to improve," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard told reporters. "We've got a lot more basketball games left to play." --Field Level Media


Game Preview from The Associated Press (AP).

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.

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