Illini face huge opportunity at Wisconsin
With their 33rd straight home victory coming against lowly Purde on Saturday, the Illini moved into a tie for the Big Ten lead
with Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Tomorrow, it's on to Wisconsin
Don't let North Dakota State fool you. This will not be an easy win...there are no easy wins on the road in this conference. As of today, the top seven teams in the Big Ten are 25-1 at home
in conference play. The only road win came in overtime with Michigan State winning at Ohio State.
Although it will be a tough game, it's probably a game that Illinois has to win if they're going to repeat as conference champions. Illini Wonk continues to believe that in this stacked conference, 12-4 will probably be enough for at least a share of the Big Ten title. That belief was strengthened when we reached the half-way point with two losses good enough for a share of the conference lead.
In order for the Illini to finish conference play with only four losses, they will have to sweep at home and win three of the following five road games: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota and Michigan State. If they lose at Wisconsin, that means the Fighting Illini can only lose one game the rest of the way. That led Dee Brown to say about the game in Madison: 'I think it's a must-win
But the game also presents an incredible opportunity at the mid-point of conference play. Because there have been so few road wins against quality opponents in the Big Ten, a win would put Illinois in an excellent position to repeat as conference champions.
I don't think I'll ever forget last season's game at Wisconsin. This year, Mark Tupper says there will be Someone coming off the bench and being this season’s Jack Ingram
. Who will it be? Can the Illini get it done? I can hardly wait.