5 big observations from the Illinois basketball win over Wisconsin

It was for all of the marbles in the Big Ten, and the Illinois basketball team was able to come away with a huge victory over the Wisconsin Badgers.
Mar 17, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; The Illinois Fighting Illini  celebrates after defeating
Mar 17, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; The Illinois Fighting Illini celebrates after defeating / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
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4. The rebounding department prevails for the Illini once again

As far as size goes, Illinois doesn’t have a ton of big men who are in the paint banging around and getting rebounds. Kofi Cockburn isn’t walking through those doors anytime soon.

But what Illinois does have is tenacity and the willingness to go and get a rebound. You don’t have to be 7-foot to have the will to rebound. Every game I watch the Illini play, it blows me away with how great we can rebound the basketball.

For the season, Illinois averages 41.5 rebounds per game, which ranks No. 4 in the nation. We upheld our great rebounding reputation in the Big Ten Tournament title game against Wisconsin too.

The Badgers managed to pull down 30 rebounds in the game, but Illinois was able to secure a seven-rebound margin and pull down 37 rebounds for the game. The 37 rebounds included 13 offensive boards, which gave us a lot of second-chance points.

Illinois had played 34 games this season. In just seven out of those 34 games, the opponent outrebounded the Illini. We have won the rebounding battle in the last four games, and have a total of 34 more rebounds than our opponents in that stretch.

This season, Illinois has seven players who are averaging at least 3.3 rebounds per game. This great team rebounding continued against the Badgers. Eight different Illini players had a rebound in the game, and six out of the eight players had at least three rebounds.

Who led Illinois in rebounds? 6-foot-6 Marcus Domask, of course. He had seven rebounds in the game. 6-foot-9 Dain Dainja also had seven rebounds off the bench. Illinois’ fourth-leading rebounder in the game, 6-foot-6 Ty Rodgers, had five rebounds. He would have led Wisconsin in rebounds on Sunday.

Rebounding the basketball is a key to winning the game. Illinois is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, and we don’t have a 7-foot big man. It has been a great team effort on the boards, and this ability to rebound will help us win some NCAA tournament games coming up.