Brad Underwood is looking ahead to the matchup with Wisconsin on Saturday after a disappointing 73-60 loss to Northwestern.  Speaking to the press on Friday, Underwood mentioned that he was actually feeling good about where the team is headed, despite the loss.

Underwood also mentioned that the Fighting Illini haven’t been playing as hard as they should have. Illinois has lost three of its last five games, and are 0-3 in conference play. The head coach stated that the Illini aren’t far away from their goals, while also praising the defense.

“In a crazy kind of way, I felt pretty good after the Northwestern game,” said Underwood. “We’re not far away. We weren’t playing hard (before). Now we’re playing hard. We made as few mistakes defensively as any game this year.”

To win over Wisconsin, the Illini will need to get through Badgers PG Chucky Hepburn, and Tyler Wahl. Underwood addressed both players talents.

“Chucky Hepburn is an elite PG. Tyler Wahl is a handful,” said Underwood. “Tough matchup. This team is a typical Wisconsin team. They do what they do & do it very well.”

Scoring is something Hepburn knows all about, as he’s over 40% in his free shooting, and has delivered for Wisconsin this season. Wahl is also a standout for the Badgers, leading the team in scoring (13.2 ppg), free-throw attempts (61) and is second in rebounds (6.4 per game).

Wisconsin and Illinois will face off on the court on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.