Wisconsin Sweeps to Big Ten Title, NCAAs

By: AP
By: AP

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Brian Butch scored 12 points, and No. 8 Wisconsin beat upstart Illinois 61-48 on Sunday to sweep the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles for the first time.

Marcus Landry, the tournament's most outstanding player, added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists as the top-seeded Badgers (29-4) won their second tournament championship.

Shaun Pruitt led the 10th-seeded Fighting Illini (16-19) with 13 points and eight rebounds. Illinois had won four straight games, including a win over No. 17 Purdue in the quarterfinals.

Wisconsin won all three games against the Illini this season by double digits, and will enter the NCAA tournament on a 10-game winning streak.

Illinois fans took advantage of the short 2-hour drive to Indianapolis, and the team's orange and blue were the dominant colors in the crowd. Illinois coach Bruce Weber wore a bright orange blazer, something he saves for the biggest games.

None of that mattered to the Badgers.

Wisconsin guard Trevon Hughes, who sprained his left ankle in the second half of the semifinal win over No. 19 Michigan State on Saturday, started against Illinois. He hit a long jumper as time expired in the first half to give Wisconsin a 29-22 lead.

The Badgers opened the second half on a 10-4 run. A 3-pointer by Michael Flowers put Wisconsin ahead 39-26 with 16:26 to go and the Badgers went on to lead by as many as 20 points.

Illinois would have been the second team to qualify for the NCAA field with a losing record this season. Coppin State (16-20) made it by winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

The Illini also would have been the lowest seed to win the Big Ten tournament, and the only one to win four games in as many days to claim the championship.

Wisconsin ended those possibilities by holding the Illini to 40 percent shooting. The Badgers held Michigan to 20 percent shooting in the quarterfinals and Michigan State to 42 percent shooting in the semifinals.

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