Wisconsin boasts the best road record in the Big Ten, but wins at Illinois have been scarce.
The 11th-ranked Badgers, looking to win their fourth straight over Illinois and their third consecutive game overall, hope to change their luck at Assembly Hall on Wednesday night.
Wisconsin (21-4, 11-2) has won five of its last six following a 65-56 home victory over Minnesota on Saturday. Marcus Landry had a team-high 12 points for the Badgers, who sank 25 of 33 free throws.
Brian Butch, Trevon Hughes, Michael Flowers and reserve Jason Bohannon each added 11 for Wisconsin, winners of eight of its last nine in Madison.
The Badgers have a 33-2 mark at home since the start of 2006-07, and while they haven’t been nearly as dominant on the road in that span, they are a conference-best 7-2 away from Wisconsin this season, including three straight wins.
“(When) you’re going on the road, you know you’re going to get the best from the other team, when you’re in the position that some of the teams in the Big Ten are right now, not just us,” Badgers coach Bo Ryan said.
Wisconsin posted a 70-60 home victory over Illinois (11-15, 3-10) on Jan. 10 behind Hughes’ 22 points and career high-tying six steals. Butch, who tops the team with 12.6 points per game, had 16.
The Badgers haven’t won four straight over the Illini since Feb. 4, 1995-Feb. 12, 1997. Matching that may be difficult as the Badgers are just 4-22 at Assembly Hall since 1981.
Wisconsin snapped a seven-game skid in Champaign with a 71-64 win in the teams’ most recent matchup on Jan. 20, 2007 - the Badgers’ first triumph there in nearly a decade.
The Illini have dropped five of their last seven at home, and four of five overall after a 52-51 loss at Penn State on Saturday. Illinois led 51-50 with 19 seconds left before the Nittany Lions hit a pair of free throws with seven seconds remaining.
Trent Meacham scored 11 points, while Shaun Pruitt added 10 for the Illini, who shot 38.5 percent (20-for-52) from the field.
“It is the consistent inconsistency,” Illini coach Bruce Weber said. “We didn’t get enough inside touches early. We settled for some threes and didn’t get the ball up to the defense.”
Illinois looks for its first win in seven tries against ranked teams this season. The Illini are 1-11 against Top 25 foes since the start of last season.
Meanwhile, the Badgers, who are one game behind No. 14 Purdue for first place in the Big Ten, are 18-1 against unranked opponents in 2007-08.