Wisconsin moves up 5 spots in poll
The Badgers (18-5, 8-3 Big Ten) play host to Illinois (16-8, 8-3) on Tuesday. Both teams are tied with Ohio State for second in the Big Ten.
Coach Bo Ryan said Monday that he wasn't surprised to see so many teams vying for the conference title. Michigan State, despite getting beaten by both Wisconsin and Illinois last week, remains at the top with a 9-2 conference record. Purdue is fifth at 7-3.
"It's tough," Ryan said. "It's hard to win in any league, especially the Big Ten."
While the win against Michigan State, coupled with a victory over Michigan, catapulted Wisconsin in the rankings this week, Illinois remains unranked.
The Illini have three more losses than the Badgers and don't have as many wins against big-name teams. Wisconsin has knocked off three top 10 teams this season: Michigan State, No. 4 Purdue and No. 6 Duke.
All of those wins came at home, where the Badgers have won 18 in a row dating to last season. Of its 18 wins this year, 13 have come at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin is 5-5 on the road.
Wisconsin has also had to make due without leading scorer Jon Leuer who broke his wrist on Jan. 9. Since then the Badgers have posted a 5-2 record. While Ryan has said he hopes to have Leuer back this season, there was no update Monday on his prognosis.