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What Needs To Happen: Wisconsin

The Illini must get Giorgi going early and figure out a way to contain Ethan Happ.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois hosts a very good Wisconsin team on Wednesday night. Can the Illini win? Here’s how.

Make it about Ayo and Giorgi

At this point, TCR sounds like a broken record regarding the importance of Ayo Dosunmu and Giorgi Bezhanishvili. Wednesday night’s tilt with the Badgers is no different. Illini coach Brad Underwood has to figure out a way to get Ayo and Giorgio going.

Specifically, with Giorgi, it is of vital importance that he get going early because Ayo is more capable of rebounding from a tough start. Against Iowa, Giorgi could not get into the flow early and then never got into the flow. Underwood must, therefore, craft his attack early to get Giorgi involved.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to Ayo, he can get into the flow of the game at any point and then explode. But, Ayo really gets cranking when Giorgi is working down low. When these two get the high/low game going, the Illini become a very difficult team to stop.

Control and Contain Ethan Happ

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Ethan Happ is finally a senior and has been at Wisconsin for what feels like 12 years. The 6-foot-10 center is they key cog to the Badgers’ attack.

When left alone on the post, Happ will surely try to take whoever defends him to the basket. When you double him, he tends to find one of the Badger’s three-point shooters for an open three. So yeah, Happ sounds hard to defend, but he does have an achilles heal — his free throw shooting. This season, Happ is only shooting 49 percent from the free throw line. So, getting Happ to the charity stripe as often as possible could be a key to limiting Wisconsin’s offensive flow.

Play A Full Game

This is the tough one. Illinois hasn’t really proven this yet, besides last Wednesday against Minnesota. It’s no easy task to beat a very talented Badgers team, and it’s going to take a complete effort from everyone on both ends of the floor to upset a team that just handed Michigan its first loss of the season.

Just pray and hope the Illini come out on top. This isn’t one of the remaining gimmes.

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