Entering the home half of the season and unfamiliar territory, the No. 6 Badgers will duel No. 10 Illinois at the Field House Sunday.With three home matches left before the Big Ten Tournament, Wisconsin (18-1-0, 4-1-0 Big Ten) has given itself the opportunity to claim sole possession of second in the Big Ten standings with a win against Illinois (8-1-0, 4-1-0 Big Ten). Second place is a position the team has not been in at season’s end since 1992. More importantly, a victory this weekend would keep Wisconsin in contention for the Big Ten title — something the team has never won.Certainly the Badgers are cruising, but the Illini will be a challenge.”Illinois is tough,” 157-pound junior Craig Henning said. “This is a big match for us. We’re still in the running for the Big Ten Championship. We just have to keep the ball rolling.”The significance of this match is monumental. Not only does it feature two of the top teams in the Big Ten and nationally, but also if the Badgers win, they will be just a loss behind the Gophers in the standings. They grapple Minnesota next Friday.If that wasn’t enough hype for the match, six of the 10 matches taking place Sunday feature wrestlers ranked in the top 15 nationally. The headline bout will be at 157 pounds, where No. 3 Henning will take top-ranked Mike Poeta. Both wrestlers are a perfect 5-0 in Big Ten duals this season.Despite Wisconsin’s seemingly impenetrable talent up and down its weight divisions, indicated by its 18-1 record, the Badgers enter this weekend’s dual as underdogs in terms of the number of ranked players.”If you look at it on paper, they’re favored to win,” UW head coach Barry Davis said. “They’ve got more individual guys ranked than we do. But in the Big Ten, you have to expect the unexpected. We’ve already proved that we can win the close ones, so if it comes down to that this weekend then hopefully we can prove it again.”The Badgers have been proving a lot of things this season. After finishing last season seventh in the Big Ten, few thought the cardinal and white would be doing this well, considering their plethora of youth — just one senior is featured on the team.Although playing at the D-I level is difficult for any incoming grappler, Davis’ demeanor has helped them not only adjust but excel.”It’s a tough transition for us young guys,” UW freshman Kyle Ruschell said. “Coach Davis is so intense and he knows so much about wrestling that he makes it that much easier for me and the other younger guys.”With Davis’ mentoring, Ruschell is one of the many surprises this season. Last season he opted to red-shirt, choosing to watch and learn from two-time All-American Tom Clum instead of grapple. Now Ruschell, a year the wiser, is reaping the rewards of his decision. He is undefeated in conference duals and holds a 24-4 overall record. This weekend his record will be put to the test as he faces senior Cassio Pero, a two-time NCAA qualifier.”Tom helped me out so much last year,” Ruschell said. “I learned a lot from him and it’s helping me everyday. I’ve got a tough senior this weekend. … I’ve been watching a lot of tape on him and working on single leg counters, so hopefully that will help me to come out on top Sunday.”Hopefully for Wisconsin fans, the Badgers as a team will also come out on top.