Illinois Fighting Illini guard Brandon Paul (3) is defended by Ohio State Buckeyes guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. (32) during the second half at Assembly Hall. Illinois defeated Ohio State 74-55. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
(KSDK Sports) -- The hot start by the Illinois Fighting Illini is a distant memory now, especially with the start of Big 10 conference play. Illinois is 8-3 at home this season, 2-6 in Big Ten play, and they have played the 10th ranked schedule in the nation.
As a team Illinois is averaging 72.3 points, 10.8 assists, and they are shooting 42.9 percent while defensively they are allowing 66.6 points, 12.2 assists, and their opponents are shooting 42.6 percent.
Brandon Paul is averaging 17.6 points, D.J. Richardson is averaging 11.9 points, and Tracy Abrams is averaging 11.5 points. With numbers like that there is still a chance that Illinois can turn around the season, but with just a month left before the NCAA Tournament, more losses are not advised.
The Wisconsin Badgers have not fared much better having lost three of their last four games and falling from first to fifth place in the Big Ten. Wisconsin is 5-3 in the conference, 2-4 on the road, and they have played the 35th ranked schedule in the nation.
Wisconsin is averaging 66.9 points, 13.5 assists, and they are shooting 43.2 percent while defensively they are allowing 55 points, 7.8 assists, and their opponents are shooting 40.3 percent. Jarred Berggren is averaging 11.9 points and 6.5 rebounds, Ryan Evans is averaging 10.4 points and 7.5 rebounds, and Ben Brust is averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Like Illinois Wisconsin is looking like a tournament team but they can't afford any more bad losses.
Illinois should be able to make a stand here as Wisconsin has been inconsistent of late and Illinois should have the talent to match up.