Ah, to laugh again. The Badgers' smiles are deserved, as they finally broke their longest losing streak in 11 years with a 63-50 win over Illinois. Wisconsin pretty much had this game wrapped up the entire way, which was a nice change of scenery.
There was one point with 10 minutes or so left in the game when I thought, "Finally, a victory." But as soon as I thought that, Illinois stole the ball at mid-court and cut the lead to 10. However, that's about as close as they would come, as the Badgers finally beat a ranked team (I'm still not counting the Michigan win—they suck).
The Badgers were without Keaton Nankivil in this one, which paved the way for Jon Leuer to get into the starting lineup. He delivered with 15 points, while his teammate Marcus Landry chipped in with 16. The star of the night though for Bucky was Jason Bohannon, whose 6-of-7 night from beyond the arc helped him finish with 20 points. Both were career highs for Bohannon.
The win puts the Badgers' record at 13-9 overall, 4-6 in the Big Ten. They are still floating in needing to win the Big Ten Tournament to participate in March Madness territory, as they aren't appearing in anyone's recent bracket predictions.
Not very many teams have ever found success in a season where they've lost six straight, but I still think the Badgers can rebound and be one of those seeds in the seven to 10 range. That'd be fine with me, because with the lowered expectations, making the NCAA tournament has to be this team's only true goal.
After this game, though, I wouldn't be surprised if the Badgers put a string of victories together or if they went back into suck mode. They only have eight games left in the regular season, but two of those are against Indiana, so that's a good sign. But they can only be thinking one game at a time right now, that being their next game this Sunday at Penn State.
Who knows, maybe Thursday's game was the start of a winning streak!