INDIANAPOLIS -- Illinois is halfway to a victory that could seal an NCAA tournament berth. Wisconsin doesn't look overly interested in being here.
Some quick thoughts at halftime of Friday's second quarterfinal:
Demetri McCamey looks like he did a month ago, and that's a very good thing for Illinois. McCamey has put Sunday's ugliness behind him and recorded 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting. He even cracked a smile after hitting a fadeaway late in the half to put Illinois up 29-18. It looks like all is well between McCamey and head coach Bruce Weber, though there's still a half to go.
Illinois' front line has provided a major lift. Center Mike Tisdale swished just his second 3-pointer of the season and finished the half with nine points and 5 rebounds on 4 of 5 shooting. Forward Mike Davis also answered the bell with six points and five boards, hitting 3 of 4 shots. Illinois shot a blistering 65 percent for the half but committed way too many turnovers (9).
Forward Jon Leuer continues to show up big for Wisconsin, but he's the only one so far. Leuer, who sparked Wisconsin's four-game win streak to close the regular season, has a game-high 11 points. It hasn't helped, though, as Wisconsin's backcourt looks simply awful so far. Trevon Hughes is 0-for-8 from the field, and Hughes, Jason Bohannon and Jordan Taylor are a combined 1-for-17 for three points.
Illinois hasn't been a good defensive team this year, but the Illini look like the old Weber teams today. Wisconsin is settling for way too many outside shots, and the Badgers are losing the rebounding edge 18-13.