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Butch, Wisconsin claim the Big Ten title

Mar 17, 2008 - 1:28 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Brian Butch scored 12 points and Marcus Landry added 10 as sixth-ranked Wisconsin captured the Big Ten championship with a 61-48 victory over Illinois on Sunday.

It was the 10th straight win for the Badgers (29-4), who made nine 3-pointers and held the Fighting Illini to just 40 percent (21-of-52) shooting from the floor.

For the game, Wisconsin shot an efficient 49 percent (25-of-51), while committing just eight turnovers. The Badgers were 9-of-18 from the arc.

With the win, Wisconsin was rewarded with a No. 3 seed in the Houston Region in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The region features Kansas as the top seed and Georgetown in the second spot.

No. 10 seed Illinois (16-19), which became the lowest seed to reach the Big Ten title game since the Illini made it as an 11th seed in 1999, will miss its first NCAA Tournament appearance since that same season with the loss.

Illinois had an early 8-4 lead before Wisconsin went on a 14-4 run - keyed by four 3-pointers - to take an 18-12 advantage with 8:25 remaining in the first half.

The Illini cut the deficit to two but the Badgers finished the half strong and took a 29-22 advantage at the break after Trevon Hughes' jumper just before the halftime buzzer.

Landry and Michael Flowers each made a 3-pointer as Wisconsin started the second half on a 10-4 spurt to open a 39-26 bulge with 16:33 left to play.

The Badgers maintained their double-digit advantage the rest of the way, leading by as many as 55-35 with 5:34 to play

Shaun Pruitt had 13 points and eight rebounds and Calvin Brock added 10 and five to pace the Illini, who became the 11th team to fail to score 50 points against Wisconsin this season.