This Badger team is well-known for its number of experienced players in the rotation. Wisconsin enters the contest as the No. 19 team in the country with a 14-5 overall record and trail the Illini by just two spots in the conference standings. The Badgers have split their last two matchups and don’t travel all that well. On the road this year, the Badgers are .500 with three wins and three losses. I expect to see a hungry Wisconsin squad Saturday at the State Farm Center.
The last matchup between these two teams came on Jan. 8 of last year. The Illini secured the ‘roadkill’ in Madison, 71-70. The game was highlighted by Ayo Dosunmu’s dagger with 40 seconds remaining in the contest.
Players To Watch
Trice is a big component of this Badger roster, the redshirt senior has played in 112 games since joining the team in 2016. The 6-foot-0 guard is one of many vets on the roster for Wisconsin, but arguably the most crucial. So far this season, Trice has averaged a career-high of 13.3 points on 42.3 FG%. Trice also averages a team-high 3.9 assists per game and takes pretty good care of the ball for the Badgers. The senior guard has shown he can affect the game in multiple ways, posting a season-high 29 points against Michigan State in December. For Illini fans, I’d look forward to the matchup Underwood intends to throw at Trice.
Another big leader on this Wisconsin team, Davison has seen 93 starts in his four years in Madison. This season the 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 9.3 PPG, 2.3 APG, 3.3 RPG, shooting 32% from the field and 38.5% from behind the arc. Davidson has shown to be the vocal leader of this Badger team, and the Illini will need to prevent him from hurting them behind the arc Saturday.
Yup, you guessed it. He’s a senior too. Ford is averaging 25.9 minutes per game this season. He also averages 9.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG and is shooting 42.9% from the field. Ford isn't afraid to let it fly from behind the arc, and his length gives him the ability to affect opponents offensively/defensively. He posted his season-high of 15 points against Penn State a week ago.
Micah Potter transferred to the program from Ohio State and saw minutes pretty early into his arrival. Potter is the second leading scorer on this roster, averaging 12.3 PPG and put up a season-high 23 points on Maryland, 18 points against Minnesota and 20 points on Louisville. He rebounds the ball very well averaging 6.6 RPG and has posted multiple double-digit rebound games in Big Ten play. The Illini will need to stop him offensively and keep him off the glass in order to control the game tomorrow afternoon.
Nate Reuvers is a 6-foot-11 senior averaging 22.3 MPG, 9.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 1.1 BPG. Reuvers started the season on a tear, but fell off and has started to regain his footing over the last week or so. He passed the 1,000-point mark for the Badgers and is 18-of-29 from the field in their past four games. Potter and Reuvers align for another good backcourt in the Big Ten.
One of only two underclassmen that get significant minutes, Tyler Wahl is a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Minnesota. Wahl played a significant amount last year as a true freshman, and this season he is averaging 24.2 MPG, 5.7 PPG, and 4.4 RPG. Wahl makes the third player on this roster that posted their season-high just a week ago against Penn State in a game they lost.
The four-star recruit and true freshman is coming off his best game of the season offensively, scoring a season-high 17 points against Penn State just this week. Davis may not have the experience most of his teammates have, but he’s been playing well for the Badgers recently off the bench.