Illini Tale of the Tape: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Illinois (March 7, 2010)

A season on the brink of the NCAA Tournament or the NIT?

That was the prevailing question heading into Illinois’ Big Ten regular season finale against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Concluding an absolutely brutal stretch of conference games, a reeling Illinois team couldn’t afford to drop its fourth game in five tries if it wanted to keep its 2010 NCAA Tournament dream alive.

Back in February, Illinois shocked Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, seemingly making this must win even more difficult.

Unfortunately, the Illini would implode in the rematch, with a second half blowup between Bruce Weber and Demetri McCamey symbolic of a team feeling the strain of an inconsistent season and the pressure of life on the bubble.

Where I Was for This Game: Refereeing a second-grade youth basketball league out in the suburbs, but following closely via text messages sent from my cousin, who was in attendance at the Assembly Hall.

What I Remember from This Game:

Having a bad feeling coming into this game, not only because of Illinois’ recent troubles (losing 4 of its last 5) but the fact that the Illini upset Wisconsin at the Kohl Center back in February. Don’t know about you but I wasn’t convinced that this most inconsistent Illinois team had what it takes to knock off the Badgers twice in conference play.

What everyone remembers, the unfortunate yet severely overblown “altercation” between Illinois point guard Demetri McCamey and Illini Head Coach Bruce Weber.

What Stood Out/Surprised Me Upon A Second Viewing:

Still can’t believe how mad Weber got at McCamey when the guard tried to walk through/past him during a second-half huddle. I’ve never seen Weber that angry on the sidelines.

Did not realize that Illinois center Mike Tisdale was dealing with a sore Achilles heading into this game, and that he was in a walking boot during the week.

Knew that Jon Leuer (20 points) hurt the Illini in this game, but forgot how good Badger sophomore Jordan Taylor (20 points, 8 rebounds) was.

Stunned that Illinois had only 5 field goals in the second half (thank God for the free throw line).

Totally forgot that McCamey would have set the single-season Big Ten record for assists if he reached 7 in this game. He would fall short, getting 4 assists.

Alright.

Before we revisit this game, let’s take a look back at the first meeting between these teams on February 10th. Led by McCamey’s 27 points and 7 assists, the Illini shocked Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, winning 63-56. Illinois shot more than 50% from the field in this game, with the pick and pop game between McCamey and Tisdale especially effective. As for the Badgers, this stunning loss would snap a 58-game home winning streak against unranked conference opponents. Illinois would look like a team on the rise after this game, but follow up by losing 5 of its last 6 Big Ten games, putting the Illini on, if not, outside the NCAA Tournament bubble heading into the Big Ten Tournament. For more on the first Illinois-Wisconsin game, see the Illini Tale of the Tape: Illinois vs. Wisconsin Badgers (February 10, 2010).

#17 Wisconsin Badgers (22-7, 12-5) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (18-12, 10-7)

Bo Ryan goes with a starting lineup of Trevon Hughes (Senior), Jordan Taylor (Sophomore) and Jason Bohannon (Senior) at the guards and Jon Leuer (Junior) and Keaton Nankivil (Junior) at the forwards.

Bruce Weber starts Demetri McCamey and D.J. Richardson at the guards, Bill Cole and Mike Davis at the forwards, and Mike Tisdale at center.

Announcers: Dave O’Brien and Steve Lavin.

Demetri McCamey: Travels at 19:16, getting caught in the air off a screen and roll, and then coming down on his feet and touching the ball. Nearly turns the ball over on a pass to Tisdale off the screen and roll at 18:24. Luckily, Tisdale is fouled on the retrieval. Good closeout on Taylor at 17:14, but the Badger guard hits a three to put Illinois down 7-2. Loses Taylor on the baseline at 16:37, but the Badger guard misses an open three. Misses his own three off a screen at 16:23. Hits a quick pull-up jumper at 15:04 to put Illinois up 8-7. Called for a blocking foul at the rim with 14:32 to go as Hughes hits a layup to put the Badgers up 9-8. Hughes hits the free throw out of the under-16 to put the Badgers up 10-8.

Nice drive and tap out of his own interior miss at 10:50, with Griffey getting the loose ball and hitting Paul for a three that cuts the Wisconsin lead to 14-13.

Picks up his second foul at 6:14; after Tisdale came up with an offensive board of a McCamey miss, McCamey got the ball back, put his head down and bulled through Taylor. Gets replaced by Jeff Jordan.

Gives up the lane to Taylor on the first possession of the second half, and the Wisconsin guard hits a floater to put Illinois down 35-27 with 19:34 remaining. Aggressive drive at 18:46, drawing Leuer’s third foul. McCamey hits both free throws to cut the Illini deficit to 37-29. A bit slow to close out Taylor at 17:17, and the Badger guard buries a long three to put Illinois down 40-31. Hits a tough pull-up baseline jumper at 16:59, cutting the ILL deficit to 40-33. Great crossover at 16:32 leads to a dunk attempt over Evans, who fouls McCamey. McCamey makes one of two free throws to cut the Wisconsin lead to 40-34. Beautiful over-the-should pass to Tisdale is bobbled out of bounds at 15:58, leading to the under-16.

Good attack at 14:26, drawing a shooting foul on Nankivil. Hits both free throws to cut the ILL deficit to 45-36.

Misses an overaggressive, out-of-control drive at 11:42. Can’t play better defense at 11:11 as Hughes buries a three over his outstretched hand to put the Badgers up 16, 54-38. Gets fouled and apparently hits a continuation with just under 8 minutes to go, but official Jim Burr wipes out the basket, leading to the under-8. McCamey hits both free throws out of the under-8 to cut the game to 54-45.

Throws up a wild air ball at 5:47, with Illinois down 55-50. Very poor shot selection there. Overpenetrates at 5:14, with his pass stolen in the lane. Picks up an intentional foul after the play, wrapping up Taylor, who hits one of two free throws to put Illinois down 58-50.

During the free throws, McCamey tries to walk through Weber on the way to the bench, drawing the ire of his coach. Weber is seen gritting his teeth at McCamey, who is temporarily benched. Weber is seen talking to McCamey on the bench as play resumes. O’Brien and Lavin hit on the stormy relationship between McCamey and Weber in the past.

Back in at 4:18 for Jordan.

Misses a three from the top of the key at 1:13.

Overall: 11 points (on 2-for-8 shooting), 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 turnovers in 32 minutes. Even before the blowup with Weber, wasn’t having a great game, playing a bit out of control both physically and emotionally in the second half.

D.J. Richardson: Good closeout on a long Bohannon miss from three, but Wisconsin gets several offensive rebounds before Taylor hits a three.

Poor box out at 13:04 as Nankivil gets an offensive rebound of a missed Leuer shot. Slow to switch down on a screen at 12:36 after Davis switched on Taylor, resulting in a Leuer lob dunk and a 12-8 Wisconsin lead. Hits a quick curl jumper just inside the top of the key to cut the game to 12-10 with 12:26 to go in the half.

Misses a curl three out of the under-12.

Great blow by at 2:55, but misses a difficult, opposite-hand layup on the left handed-side. Good job getting on the floor at 2:38, knocking a loose ball out of bounds.

Gives up an offensive rebound to Hughes at 18:19; Illinois dodges a bullet as Hughes later misses a layup.

Tough defense on Taylor at 14:36, but the Badger sophomore hits a tough shot to put the Illini down 45-34.

Fouls a driving Hughes at 5:26. Hughes misses the one and one but Tisdale fails to box out Nankivil.

Overall: Very quiet game, finishing with just 5 points (on 1-for-5 shooting), 1 rebound and 1 assist in 28 minutes.

● Bill Cole: Can’t come up with the defensive rebound of a missed Hughes’ three after a long possession, with the ball falling into Nankivil’s hands for an easy slam and 4-0 game in favor of the Badgers.

Steps in and drains an open three (set up by nice Jordan penetration) at 5:42, tying the game at 18. Great lift on that shot. A bit slow to close out on Leuer at 5:20, and the Wisconsin big man takes the ball to the hole hard from the top of the key, making a layup and putting Wisconsin up 20-18. Great help at 4:42, blocking a Bohannon layup attempt.

Squares up and hits a big three at 1:02, cutting the Wisconsin lead to 27-25. Great job of stepping in and firing after Tisdale made that pass out of the post. Great arch on that shot.

Badly misses a curl three off an inbounds play at 19:17; failed to graze the rim there, getting a “Yikes” from Lavin. Hughes gets the long rebound and pushes up court for a pull-up jumper and 37-27 Wisconsin lead at 19:07.

Catches a break at 8:29, missing a fast-break layup but getting fouled on the play. Cole hits both free throws to cut the ILL deficit to 54-43.

Hits a quick three at 7:26 to cut the ILL deficit to 55-48.

Hits another rainbow three at 2:34, cutting the Illini deficit to 62-55. At 2:22, fouls Leuer, who makes a layup and then hits a free throw to put Illinois down 65-55. Misses a three at 40 seconds.

Overall: Was one of the few Illini who could hit a shot in the second half. Finished with 14 points on 4-for-6 from three, 4 rebounds and 1 block in 30 minutes.

● Mike Davis: Gets posted by Leuer on the first Illinois defensive possession, with the Wisconsin big man hitting a difficult turnaround at 19:25 to put the Badgers up 2-0. Nice face up of Nankivil and score on a wing jumper at 18:09, cutting the Wisconsin lead to 4-2. Hits a nice little jump hook on the baseline at 15:56, cutting the ILL deficit to 7-6. Confident start from Davis, from whom Illinois needs a big game. Good closeout on a Nankivil missed three at 15:28, but Wisconsin comes down with another offensive board.

Has a running one-hander roll off the rim at 14:17. Soft entry pass to posting Tisdale is knocked out of bounds by Wisconsin at 13:36. Can’t come up with a loose ball at 11:50 after a Leuer save. Misses a quick wing jumper at 11:04.

Gets switched on Taylor at 6:36, resulting in some penetration and a kick out to Nankivil, who hits a long jumper to put Wisconsin up 18-15. Hits a big jumper from the wing at 5 minutes to tie the game at 20. Gets posted at 3:39 by Leuer, who makes a crazy nice up-and-under move for a layup and 24-22 game in favor of Wisconsin. Draws a foul on the floor during an aggressive drive at 3:23, leading to the under-4.

Nice offensive rebound of a missed Jordan jumper at 3:05. Misses a difficult jumper at 2:11. Did a great job of using the bounce just inside the top of the key to free up some space but was fading to his right on the shot. Aggressive move.

Misses an awkward shot at 12:24. Can’t secure a defensive rebound at 11:59. Fouls Hughes at 11:52, leading to the under-12. Hughes makes one of two free throws to put Illinois in a 51-38 hole.

Air balls an open baseline jumper at 6:12, with Illinois down 55-50 and the play set up by nice penetration from McCamey. Blocks a Leuer three at 5:52.

Fouls Leuer at 1:59. Leuer hits one of two free throws to put Illinois down 66-55, but the Illini can’t grab the rebound, allowing Wisconsin to burn some clock. Fouls Hughes at 1:09. Hughes hits both free throws to put the Badgers up 70-55.

Overall: 6 points (on 3-for-9 shooting), 8 rebounds, 1 block and 1 turnover in 34 minutes. Liked his activity in the first half, but was almost nonexistent in the second half. Struggled against Leuer all night.

● Mike Tisdale: Loses the ball of his foot on the first possession of the game. A great dive to the basket there, but couldn’t hang on to the fast but certainly catchable pass from McCamey. Hits a confident-looking, top-of-the-key jumper at 17 minutes to cut the Wisconsin lead to 7-4.

Catches a break at 9:17, when he makes a soft pass to Richardson, who is bumped by Taylor on the play. Good switch at 8:28 on Taylor, who misses a contested jumper. Hits a deep wing jumper at 8:15, putting Illinois up 15-14. That was a tough shot. Gets posted by Leuer at 7:54, and the Wisconsin big man makes a nice spin move to the rim for a layup and 16-15 Badger lead. Called for a foul at 7:09, running through Taylor on a screen for Leuer and leading to the under-8.

Nice offensive board of a missed McCamey shot at 6:17. Nice recovery at 5:51, blocking a Rob Wilson layup attempt at the rim. Great help at 4:20, coming over to double Taylor who looked like he got away with a travel/push off in hitting a tough fade away for a 22-20 Wisconsin lead. Follows up 10 seconds leader with a tip-in dunk of a missed Richardson layup, tying the game at 22 with 4:10 to go. Great activity from Tisdale.

A bit slow to close out on Wisconsin’s Tim Jarmusz at 1:19, as the Badger reserve hits a three to put Illinois down 27-22. Gets fouled on an open jumper off the pick and pop with Jordan at 31.4 seconds. Hits both free throws to cut the Illini deficit to 30-27. Sags off just a bit too far on Nankivil at the end of the half, and the Wisconsin big man rattles home a three from the top of the key to put the Badgers up 33-27 at the break.

Great post-up at 17:59, drawing Hughes’ third foul. That should have been a shooting foul; bad call there. Anyways, Tisdale responds with a beautiful sweeping hook at 17:50 to cut the Illinois deficit to 37-31. That was gorgeous, created off the bounce by Tisdale. Can’t handle a beautiful over-the-shoulder pass from McCamey at 15:58, leading to the under-16. One of Tisdale’s few mistakes thus far.

Gets posted at 15:27 by Leuer, who draws a double team and kicks out to Bohannon for a top-of-the-key three and 43-34 Wisconsin lead. Misses a difficult jumper off the pick and pop at 15:07. Used a nice head fake to get that shot off, but was fading to the side.

Nice job at 10:04, crashing the offensive board and getting fouled on a tip-in attempt of a missed Paul three. Hits both free throws to cut the deficit to 54-40. Gets replaced by Davis.

Nice defense at 7:08, knocking an entry pass to the posting Leuer over to Davis. Gets fouled inside at 7:01 and then hits two free throws to cut the Wisconsin lead to 55-50. The Assembly Hall crowd is on its feet as Illinois has gone on a 12-1 run in the last 3:13. Good defense on Leuer at 6:40 off a miss and then a nice seal/box out of Hughes at 6:24, allowing Illinois to finally get the defensive rebound. Fails to box out Nankivil on a missed Hughes free throw with 5:22 to go, and the Badger forward lays in the ball for a 57-50 ILL deficit.

Fouls Bohannon with the body after a back cut at 5:06. Bohannon hits one of two free throws to put Illinois down 59-50. Fouled by Nankivil in the post at 4:48. Hits both free throws to cut the deficit to 59-52.

Misses an open jumper at 3:24. Gives up an offensive rebound to Brian Evans at 2:46, but it ends up being a shot-clock violation for the Badgers. Gets switched on Taylor at 1:27, and the Badger guard burns Tisdale to the basket for a layup and a 68-55 lead that puts this game in the bag.

Overall: 16 points (4-for-6 from the field, 8-for-8 from the line), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block and 2 turnovers in 29 minutes. Would have liked to see Tisdale get more shots, and played well for the most part. Had a couple of crucial lapses at times, failing to box out late in the game.

● Brandon Paul: In at under-16. Nice box out and rebound against the much bigger Leuer at 13:55. Misses a forced jumper in the lane at 13:17. Out of control on that play. Nice job of stepping in and hitting an open three at 10:48 off an offensive rebound from Griffey, thus cutting the Illini deficit to 14-13.

Nice job on the offensive boards at 7:27, when he nearly tips in a missed Keller three.

Nice job at 1:51, drawing an off-the-ball foul on Bohannon. Might have been a flop. Bo Ryan thought so, as evident by the wry smile on his face. Misses a tough leaner at 1:36.

In at 14:26 for Cole. Gets fouled on an aggressive drive to the hoop at 13:44. That’s 4 fouls on Leuer. Paul hits both free throws to cut the Illinois deficit to 48-38.

Misses a quick curl three from the top of the key at 10:54. Illinois is putting up way too many rushed shots. Fouled at 10:41 by Hughes, who now has 4. Illinois is in the bonus, but Paul misses the front end of the one and one. Good defense at 9:55, knocking a Badger pass out of bounds as Illinois has brought the full-court pressure with 10 minutes to go. Nice job at 8 minutes, deflecting a Hughes three that is air balled.

Silly foul at 4:15, getting caught in the air and fouling Hughes with 3 seconds on the shot clock. Hughes misses the first free throw but hits the second to put Illinois down 60-52. Nice hands at 3:46, nearly stealing the  ball from Hughes.

Is long on a three with 2:10 left and the Illini down 10.

Overall: 5 points (1-for-7 shooting) and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes. Was a spark in spurts but struggled to score or take good shots within the offense/the story of Paul’s first season in the Big Ten.

● Tyler Griffey: In at 12:45 for Tisdale. Can’t contain Leuer at 11:25 as the Wisconsin big man gets into the lane and hits a difficult jumper to put Illinois down 14-10. Nice recovery and block of a Leuer baseline jumper at 10:50 after giving up a step to the Wisconsin forward. Good offensive rebound of a McCamey miss at 10:40 and kick out to Paul for a three and a 14-13 game in favor of Wisconsin.

In at 15 minutes for Davis. Gets backed in at 13:58 by Leuer, who hits a difficult baseline turnaround and gets fouled. Leuer hits the free to put Wisconsin up 48-36. Nice offensive rebound of a rushed Richardson three at 13:44, allowing Illinois to extend the possession and Paul to get fouled on an aggressive drive.

Overall: 0 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 4 minutes.

● Jeff Jordan: In at 6:14 for McCamey, who has two fouls. Give credit to Jordan, who comes in and gets two quick assists on a Cole three and Davis jumper.

Goes under rather than over a screen at 44 seconds, allowing Taylor to take and make an open three for a 30-25 ILL deficit.

In for McCamey at 5:12, following the Weber-McCamey blowup.

Overall: 0 points, 2 assists in 8 minutes. Actually did a decent job when McCamey was out of the game.

● Dominique Keller: Seen before the game trying to pump up the Orange Krush. In for the first time out of the under-12. Gets away with an offensive foul on an out-of-control dribble drive at 9:04, but loses the ball on the play. Misses an open three at 7:27.

In at 13:44 for Griffey. Gets switched on Hughes at 13:19 and the Badger guard hits a jumper to put Illinois down 50-38. Passes up a three at 13:05, instead driving into the lane and charging into Taylor. Like Lavin said, Keller should have jump stopped there.

Gets fouled on a baseline drive at 9:08. Hits the front end of the one and one and then misses the second free throw, with Illinois now down 54-41. Nice save at 8:34, prompting an Illinois fast break.

Loses Leuer under the basket and fouls the Badger at 7:37. Leuer misses the first free throw and then makes the second to put Illinois down 55-45.

Short on a quick three at 4:07. Good block of Nankivil at 3:36, but the ball deflects to Taylor, who hits a layup to put Wisconsin up 62-52.

Overall: 1 point, 1 rebound, 1 block and 2 turnovers in 12 minutes, the most amount of time he’s seen in a while.

● Richard Semrau: In at 1:09, with Illinois down 15. Fouls Mike Bruesewitz at 50.9 seconds and the Wisconsin reserve hits two free throws to put Illinois down 72-57.

Overall: Gets a minute of playing time on Senior Day.

● Bubba Chisholm: In at 1:09, with Illinois down 15. Makes a layup at 58.6 seconds, cutting the game to 70-57. Weber calls a needless timeout.

Overall: 2 points in 1 minute.

● Bruce Weber: Illinois trails 9-8 at the under-16. The Illini looked a bit tentative and nervous in the first couple of minutes, but settled down with a 6-0 run before Hughes was fouled on a layup attempt leading to the break. Illinois is getting a nice offensive start from Mike Davis, a crucial player in this game. Illinois has given up 4 offensive boards already. Need to do a better job of boxing out and going to the ball, and of settling down a bit.

Illinois trails 14-13 at the under-12. The Illini have given up 6 offensive rebounds and grabbed only 1 offensive board thus far. Illinois is hanging in this game though, despite cold shooting. The Illini started 4-for-5 but have since gone 2-for-6.

Illinois trails 16-15 at the under-8. This first half is flying by. There is great defensive intensity from both teams and long, drawn-out possessions on both sides. The first team that is able to sustain some offense and make a run may be in good shape here. Both teams have made just 3 of their last 10 shots.

Illinois trails 24-22 at the under-4. Both teams have started to pick it up offensively. Leuer has been a beast early, scoring 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting. The Illini are getting great activity from the Mikes – Davis and Tisdale. The Assembly Hall crowd has been great so far, trying to get the Illini over the hump and out in front. Weber is starting to work the officials, after a difficult no-call on Taylor in the lane. McCamey on the bench with 2 fouls, but Jordan has been playing with great energy. How long can the Illini go without McCamey in this half?

Weber takes a :30 second timeout with 31.4 seconds left, with Illinois trailing 30-27. Wisconsin has hit several threes out of the under-4 but Illinois is keeping within striking distance, all with McCamey on the bench. Nankivil hits a big three at the end of the half to put Wisconsin up 33-27 at the break.

Illinois played a pretty decent first half, but Wisconsin hit 3 big threes late in the half to expand the lead to six at the break. Wisconsin outscored Illinois 12-7 with McCamey on the bench, though Jordan played considerably well.

Weber calls a timeout at 16:59 after McCamey hit a tough baseline jumper to cut the Illinois deficit to 40-33. Wisconsin came out like gangbusters in the first couple of minutes, but the Illini have sort of responded. Still, the Illini are starting to look tense again. Not a good sign. Illinois’ defense hasn’t been as good in the last 8 minutes of play. Anyways, Illinois comes out of the timeout and sets up the full-court press, which Wisconsin easily breaks.

Illinois trails 40-34 at the under-16. McCamey is really playing with some aggression now, but needs to keep his emotions in check. He looks a bit unhinged after Tisdale can’t handle an over-the-shoulder pass off the curl, leading to the under-16. That was on Tisdale there, but McCamey needs to do a better job of not trying to do too much here.

Illinois trails 50-38 at the under-12. Wisconsin’s methodical pace is working to perfection, making the Illini work on defense. Wisconsin has been hot from the field in the second half, and has hit 5 of its last 7 shots from three. Lavin says Illinois needs to get on a run quickly, beginning with better defense. Illinois is starting to panic here, taking some quick shots. The Badgers are smelling the blood in the water and outhustling the Illini to loose balls.

Illinois trails 54-43 at the under-8. The second half has been about execution, with Wisconsin doing a masterful job and Illinois not. The Illini are staying in this game due to the foul line (Illinois is nearly in the double bonus). Illinois hasn’t had a field goal since the 17-minute mark! Yikes! Weber began bringing full court pressure and extending the half court defense at 10 minutes, and it has worked as Wisconsin has gone scoreless in a couple of minutes. With that said, the Badgers are doing a good job of running clock with their methodical offense. Illinois needs to get hot from the field. Referee Jim Burr has hurt the Illini with two bad calls, calling a shot clock violation on Wisconsin while McCamey had possession and was starting a break and then wiping out a McCamey continuation at the under-8. Weber and the Illini are certainly frustrated, but need to focus on the task at hand.

Illinois trails 58-50 as Wisconsin takes a timeout at 5:13. McCamey is seen trying to walk through Weber and to the bench in the huddle, which rightly infuriates the Illinois head basketball coach. Frustration has boiled over for the Illini, which had a chance to cut into a 55-50 game but had two air balls (one from Davis, one from McCamey) and a McCamey turnover. Illinois has been too rushed, trying to cut the 5-point deficit all in one full swoop.

Illinois trails 62-52 at the under-4. The Illini are self-destructing. Illinois had the game at 55-50 but failed to convert on 3 straight possessions. Illinois’ frustration boiled over with McCamey and Weber getting into it on the sidelines.  Wisconsin has struggled to put the ball in the basket as of late due to good Illini defense, but Illinois has not played with much composure on the offensive end. The NCAA Tournament is slipping away.

Weber takes a timeout at 2:34 after Cole hit a three to cut the game to 62-55. Illinois comes out with the full-court press, but Wisconsin gets a three-point play out of it. Illinois will lose this game 72-57 and now need a nice run in the Big Ten Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament.

Overall: Only 5 field goals for Illinois in the second half, and just 35.6% shooting from the field in the game. Weber’s team was ultimately done in by another long drought and some careless decision making after a comeback made the game 55-50 with 6-7 minutes left. Illinois shot 3 more free throws (23 to 20) and stayed in the game at the line to be honest. Illinois was outrebounded 40 to 30 overall and 17 to 8 on the offensive glass. Wisconsin’s patience and excellence was the difference.

Overall: Illinois loses 72-57, a final score that is not indicative of the fact that this game was 55-50 with less than 7 minutes to go. Barring a stretch in the first half, Illinois looked tense in this game, as if it knew the season was at stake, and lost its composure late in the game. Wisconsin wasn’t pretty but played a gritty road game. Unfortunately, the Illini were looking NIT bound after this game, with the media noting how Illinois was a team in disarray.

Player of the Game: For Wisconsin, it’s a tie between Leuer and Taylor, both of whom killed Illinois. For the Illini, no one stands out, especially when considering that Illinois only hit 5 second-half field goals.

Play of the Game: For better or for worse, it’s got to be the sideline incident between McCamey and Weber at 5:13. It’s a shame this happened, as McCamey’s frustration seemed to boil over. The incident made it looked like McCamey was  a punk (which he was in this brief instance); with that said, give the kid a break. It was a temporary mistake, and the junior matured greatly last season. As for Weber, I liked the way he handled it, getting on McCamey immediately. Weber needs to command more respect from his players, and this was a good way to do it and say enough is enough. Sadly, this incident came at the worse time for the Illini.

Some Things I Liked:

Mike Davis playing with urgency in the first half.

Bill Cole stepping in and hitting some big threes.

Mike Tisdale making the most of his opportunities from the field.

The way Weber handled the McCamey situation, calming down after losing his temper and using the moment to teach the junior guard an important lesson on the sideline.

23 free throws.

Some Things I Disliked:

Davis going quiet in the second half, and Richardson seeming nonexistent for most of the game.

Not enough interior touches for Tisdale.

Got killed on the glass, especially the offensive boards.

Just 5 made field goals in the second half.

McCamey losing his cool when the game was within striking distance.

Too much chirping with the officials, despite a couple of brutal calls.

Well, that’s it for another Illini Tale of the Tape.

Up next: a rematch against Wisconsin in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Tags: Assembly Hall Bill Cole Bo Ryan Brandon Paul Bruce Weber D.J. Richardson Demetri McCamey Dominique Keller Illini Basketball Illinois Basketball Jason Bohannon Jeff Jordan Jeffrey Jordan Jon Leurer Jordan Taylor Keaton Nankivil Kohl Center Mike Davis Mike Tisdale Richard Semrau Travon Hughes Tyler Griffey U-of-I Basketball University Of Illinois Wisconsin Badgers Wisconsin Basketball