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Michigan State



College Basketball



The Big Ten regular season title looked like a long shot for a good portion of the season for Michigan State, but it’ll be waiting for the Spartans if they can close the regular season with a win at Wisconsin. Of course, that’s easier said than done after Purdue lost in Madison only a week ago. Wisconsin is just looking for more ways to take a positive from a mostly disappointing season that’s seen them struggle throughout Conference play.

Even worse for the Badgers is that they have to close with three Games this week after beating Minnesota in OT on Monday and then traveling to Northwestern on Thursday. As for the Spartans, it’s a bit more favorable with just the home Game against Illinois on Tuesday. It’s senior day for Wisconsin, but no one relevant on the team is a senior. This team has been all over the place at home and beating Purdue stands out compared to how it performed in other Games.

That said, don’t expect this to be a complete blowout. Michigan State has had issues winning on the road, from being down 27 points to Northwestern to winning by three points at both Indiana and Iowa. They haven’t exactly put together a full Game from start to finish on the road.

When these teams met a month ago, Wisconsin looked largely outmatched, down by double digits for most of the Game. The Badgers fought and kept things sort of close in the second half, but never really looked threatening to steal a win and lost 76-61 in the end. The only thing going for them is that this is a home Game, otherwise, they don’t have an advantage at any position.

Ethan Happ was the only player that forced the issue in that first Game and he still finished 7-of-19 from the field with 23 points. Brevin Pritzl was the only other Badger that reached double digits and that was because he went 3-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Badgers clearly need a lot more offensively to have a chance at the upset and that means more from Brad Davison and Khalil Iverson. Neither could get going in that first meeting and that had a lot to do with matchups.

Iverson usually has some kind of matchup advantage as a guy that plays forward and also takes the ball up the cOurt, but he matched up a lot with Miles Bridges. As for Davison and Pritzl, neither one of those guys excels with quickness, which gives the advantage to Cassius Winston and Josh LAngford. As for Happ, Michigan State has numerous bodies to send at him and he’ll likely have a tough time again after Jaren Jackson and Nick Ward combined for nine blocks in that first Game.

On the other end, Wisconsin doesn’t have the size to deal with both Jackson and Ward and those guys kind of had their way down low. The same goes for Bridges, who will have an advantage no matter who marks him, whether it’s Iverson or Aleem Ford. Davison could be the biggest x-factor in this Game because he didn’t do much in that first meeting and dealt with foul trouble, which he’s had to deal with numerous times this season. The problem is that Winston isn’t the easiest player to guard and Davison could have trouble doing so again.

The Spartans seem to always play in a tight Game on the road and this one probably won’t be any different. But betting on the Badgers to win simply because they’re at home is a tough bet. In the final regular season Game, Michigan State should come out ready and that may be enough to win handily.

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