In the first of two meeting between these two programs, both could be rolling. The Big Ten isn’t an incredibly strong conference, but Michigan looks like it has the juice to be a power and replicate its success from a year ago.
John Beilein is one of the best coaches in the country and will have his team ready to go. This isn’t going to be an easy one for the Badgers. Charles Matthews was a force in Michigan’s NCAA tournament run and figures to be this year too. Wisconsin will likely have to take this game as a learning experience and take advantage of a second opportunity to play the Wolverines on the road.
Wisconsin swept Illinois last year winning comfortably in both meetings. Illinois is a rebuilding program with a rich tradition that Brad Underwood is hoping to recapture in just his second year in Champaign.
Ayo Dosunmu is the exciting new addition that can hopefully point Illinois’ arrow upward. The Illini will be young, but talented. And that includes the coach. Underwood rose up the coaching ranks quickly from his time at Stephen F. Austin. This year will be very telling for just how prepared he is to handle a Big Ten job. Illinois should still finish at the bottom of the conference, but they’ll be fun to watch and this is a potential upset spot if those young guards are cooking at this point in the season.