Wisconsin vs Michigan State Preview
TV: Big Ten Network
Time: 5:30 CT
At: Jack Breslin Center, East Lansing MI
UW Badger Basketball Fast Break Preview:
First Easy Trey:
1. The Badgers (12-2) are now ranked 20th in the coaches poll after taking care of business in their first two Big Ten games, the Spartans (11-3) are ranked 11th and have won their only Big Ten game against Northwestern 91 to 70. The Spartans key victory is against Gonzaga, and their losses are against Florida,UNC, and Texas. Losing to Texas the number 2 team in the nation on the road is understandable, however the loss to Florida on a neutral court and to UNC on the road are starting to look like a sign of weakness.
2. Michigan State's starting lineup is Raymar Morgan F, Delvon Roe F, Garrick Sherman C, Kalin Lucas G, Chris Allen G. The key players to watch are Raymar Morgan and Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers a junior guard is the key reserve.
3. Anyone in Big Ten country knows that the Badgers and Michigan State have a very good rivalry going on over a decade now. It all started when Michigan State beat the Badgers 4 times in the year they both made the final four, and has include memorable moments like when the Badgers beat MSU with their Big Ten championship banner in the rafters waiting to be displayed. The two teams don't seem to like each other but they do seem to respect each other.
Badger Fast Break Keys to the Game:
1. Jon Leuer needs to stay out of early foul trouble, in his first two Big Ten games he has yet to make it past the 5:30 mark of the first half in Big Ten play. Jon Leuer is key contributer 1a for the Badgers, they need him to have a solid game to win on the road.
2. The Spartans lead the Big Ten in scoring with 82.4 points per game this year in addition to being ranked in the top 10 nationally in shooting percentages and assists. The Badgers on the other hand are 5th in the nation in team defense giving up 56.4 points per game, something has to give. A lot of the Spartans scoring is keyed by the guards and this is scary for the Badgers as Jason Bohannon needs to have a great defensive game, this one game they would trade him being solid on defense as compared to hitting his threes. Speaking of threes Michigan State doesn't hit many threes in fact they only get an average of 5.6 good for #216 in D1, as their main defensive problem is giving up 3 point looks. Key young reserves Jordan Taylor and Ryan Evans could be difference makers for the Badgers with their strength (Taylor) and athleticism (Evans) look for both to log a lot of minutes in this game.
3. The Badgers bench as has been mentioned here first on this site a number of times is destroying the opposing teams bench from the field in Big Ten play, they are outscoring the other team 40 to 5 and the 5 points the other bench has scored has been in garbage time. It is going to be really difficult to keep this up against the Spartans but the Badgers need their bench to at least equal the Spartans. The reason why it will be difficult is because MSU backups Summers and Green are 2 and 3 on the Spartans team in scoring at 11.4 and 11.3 points per game. It is going to be particularly difficult for the Badgers bench to outscore the Spartans because they are going to need to play very solid defense to keep the Badgers in the game, look for the Badgers bench scoring to go down but as we have mentioned before we really like their defense.
4. The Badgers need to play this game at their pace running the swing and that all starts with the guards and in particular Trevon Hughes. The Badgers need Hughes to not have one of his games where he gets careless with the ball and has multiple turnovers. The Badgers need a game like against Duke where they refused to turn over the ball. On the other end look for Hughes and Taylor to force turnovers on the Spartans guards, this will happen.
5. The Badgers haven't been winning the battle of getting to the line more often than their opponents this year the way they have in the past, this might not be a problem in this game as look for the refs to swallow their whistles for the fear of wrath of both Bo and Izzo. The Spartans shoot the ball very well from the field but the Badgers do have an advantage at the free throw line .735 to .678.
6. Where are you Keaton Nankivil? The Badgers could really use a big game from Keaton, if he and Leuer can get it going tonight it will pose all sorts of matchup problems for the Spartans.
Badger Game Fearless Prediction:
Badgers win a close game on their superior free throw shooting down the stretch and standout defense by Trevon Hughes and Ryan Evans. Badgers Score 69 Spartans 64