There’s no doubt the Wisconsin Badgers are sliding. They have lost five of their last six games. They finally return home for the first time in 11 days. The Badgers welcome red-hot Illinois who has won five of their last six games. Tip time is scheduled for 2 PM on FOX. Here is a preview of tomorrow’s game.
Will We See A Different Chucky Hepburn?
The Badgers need more out of their sophomore point guard. I’ve been vocal all season saying this team does not have much room for error. That means Hepburn has to be good most nights for Wisconsin to have a chance.
Over the last two games, Hepburn is 5-19 from the field and 15 points. That won’t win this team many games. Greg Gard was even stating in his Maryland post-game press conference that Chucky was passive a majority of that game. It seems Chucky is in a slump. Tomorrow would be a great time to get back to where he can play at a high level.
The first five minutes of this game will be interesting. Will Chucky let the game come to him or will he be aggressive out of the gate. If he can make some early shots and get active early, I think we could see a good game from him.
How Will Wisconsin Respond?
Wisconsin was punched in the mouth right away in the second half Wednesday, Most Wisconsin teams would have responded to that. This team did the opposite and folded. It might be a good thing this is happening now. The Badgers haven’t been in a position where they needed to win a game. Tomorrow, this is close to a must-win.
This is a young team and it’s always interesting to see how young teams respond to adversity. If the Badgers can’t win tomorrow and have a solid February, then their NCAA Tournament hopes will come down to the Big Ten Tournament.
I really hope the crowd shows up tomorrow. It’s a stripe out game and usually those crows have good turn outs. This team is looking for something to get their season back on track.
It doesn’t get any easier as Illinois is the hottest team in the Big Ten right now. Only a few weeks ago in Champaign the Illini were 0-3 in conference and Wisconsin was 3-0. Illinois has gotten back on track since. Can the Badgers get their season back on track?
It sounds as if Max Klesmit will be ready, but we won’t officially know until tomorrow. Wisconsin would get their best on-ball defender back, which will be needed. Illini guard Terrance Shannon Jr was a problem for the Badgers in the first meeting. When he’s on, he’s the best point guard in the Big Ten.
Will the Badgers adjust to Coleman Hawkins? He torched the Badgers in the first meeting as well. He’s a very athletic 6’10 forward and those players normally give Wisconsin fits.
The Badgers seem a little lost right now and I am not sure this is the team that can get you back on track. They’ll have to play good defense and shoot the ball well. It’s a streaky team and if they go on a cold spell, it won’t end well. Right now, there’s just too much inconsistency to think this is the game where it’ll get turned around.
Illinois 74 Wisconsin 67
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