Illinois at Wisconsin Preview: The No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini (17-6) travel to Madison for a Saturday spectacular against the No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers (16-8). Illinois might be ranked far ahead of Wisconsin, but the two teams have a very similar record and both teams have spent the 2021 college basketball season bouncing around the rankings.
Overall, this matchup puts two top college basketball teams on display for what might be a much closer game than last time. Saturday afternoon might not be very busy with high-quality sports, but this is one of the best games of the day. Wisconsin has battled a very difficult schedule of late and a win against Illinois would be huge for the Badger’s confidence.
Ayo Dosunmo Out?
Something very important when looking at this game and why the line has Wisconsin as the favorite is the status of Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmo’s health. Dosunmo left Illinois for a loss against Michigan State after suffering a facial injury and is currently listed as out indefinitely.
Dosunmo played a large role in Illinois’ earlier matchup against Wisconsin and his absence would be noticed. Dosunmo leads Illinois in scoring averaging 21.0 points per game and assists with 5.3 assists per game.
Dosunmo is an x-factor in this matchup and if he plays I believe Wisconsin stands no chance, but Dosumno did not play in Illinois’s previous game against Nebraska and his status is much in doubt for Saturday afternoon.
Early in February, these teams collided in what was not much of a contest. Illinois men’s team dominated the Badgers on their way to a 75-60 win. Center Kofi Cockburn led all scorers with 23 points and added in 14 rebounds.
The real MVP of the game and the Illinois team all year guard Ayo Dosunmo had an incredible night tallying a triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. Dosunmo was the undisputed best player on the court and did it all.
For Wisconsin guard, Trice D’Mitrik was their best player as he totaled 22 points and tried his best to help Wisconsin battle. For Wisconsin they did not get much production from many of their other players and one man cannot carry the entire load especially against Illinois.
Last Five Games
Illinois has been very good this season, but with the injury to guard Ayo Dosunmo they temporarily could be in a little trouble. Dosunmo is feeling better and hopefully will return to the lineup soon as he is the best team in Illinois and a dominant basketball player.
Wisconsin has struggled lately, but it has a lot to do with the strength of competition they have been forced to play. Wisconsin is coming off losses to Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois three of the best teams in all of college basketball. A rematch with Illinois does not help as their schedule continues to be brutal.
Illinois +1 (-110)
Wisconsin -1 (-110)
Prediction: Illinois +1
I understand that Illinois is on the road, but with the Pandemic I don’t value a home-court advantage in NCAA basketball. Guard Ayo Dosunmo is Illinois’ best player and if he is out a lot has changed, but at the end of the day, I feel Illinois will be able to do enough to win the game.
Illinois has shown the ability to produce offense from a wide variety of players and Wisconsin runs mainly through one player. I feel like this game will be much closer with the expected absence of Dosunmo, but in their first matchup, Illinois showed how much better they are. Take Illinois +1.