Spartans Set Sights on #1 Badgers

Michigan State has never beaten a #1 ranked team in East Lansing, the highest ranked team they have ever beaten at home is #2 Kansas State in 1952.

EAST LANSING - Michigan State has never beaten a #1 ranked team in East Lansing, the highest ranked team they have ever beaten at home is #2 Kansas State in 1952.

On Tuesday night in front of a national television audience and carrying major NCAA tournament implications, the Spartans (19-8, 6-6) will look to knock off newly-crowned #1 Wisconsin at Breslin Center.

The opportunity is once in a lifetime, we get a chance to play two top-five teams, some players dont get to do that in a four year career, said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

A win of such magnitude could potentially catapult the Spartans as a lock for an NCAA tournament birth.

The Badgers (26-2, 12-1) have won seven of the last 10 meetings overall although the home team has won the last four contests, with the Spartans winning 74-65 most recently last season.

Alando Tucker scored 23 points in that game but was the only Badgers to score in double-figures. Now a fifth-year senior and one of the top players in the country, Tucker ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring with 20.4 points per game, having scored at least 20 points in seven consecutive games.

Tucker is as good as any player Ive ever seen of drawing contact and playing through it, said Izzo. It seems like hes been in this league a hundred years, you dont face many guys like him, who fight and find ways to get shots off.

The Spartans come into the game having smashed Iowa 81-49 on Saturday at Breslin Center, where they are 16-1 this season.

MSU knocked down season-high ten three-pointers against the Hawkeyes and will need for their long-range shooters to stay hot if they intend on keeping up with the Badgers.

Whenever you play a top-five team it definitely is a signature win, they have beaten us when we were ranked very high before, its a good rivalry game, said Izzo.

Drew Neitzel will have to be on his game and have that shooting touch and the Spartans will need contributions from everybody on their team.

Raymar Morgan is playing the best basketball of the season, putting together back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts.

Maurice Joseph knocked down four three-pointers against the Hawkeyes, all coming in the first half. He will have to put together two halves of solid shooting to give his team a boost. A real key for the Spartans will come inside the paint, where the four big men for the Spartans will have to fight for every lose rebound on both ends of the court to minimize the Badgers second chance shots.

In their last two games, the Spartans have held Michigan to 44 points and Iowa to 49, but the Badgers rank second in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 73.4 point per contest.

While the Badgers are 7-1 on the road and have a veteran group that might not be so easily rattled, everyone inside Breslin Center on Tuesday night will know what a win for the Spartans would do for their NCAA tournament hopes, as well as building their confidence and momentum heading into the Big Ten tournament in a few weeks.

Pavel Kofman is a producer for WILS 1320AM


Spartan Nation Top Stories

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\r\n\r\n\r\nEAST LANSING - Michigan State has never beaten a #1 ranked team in East Lansing, the highest ranked team they have ever beaten at home is #2 Kansas State in 1952.\r\n

\r\nOn Tuesday night in front of a national television audience and carrying major NCAA tournament implications, the Spartans (19-8, 6-6) will look to knock off newly-crowned #1 Wisconsin at Breslin Center.\r\n

\r\nThe opportunity is once in a lifetime, we get a chance to play two top-five teams, some players dont get to do that in a four year career, said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.\r\n

\r\nA win of such magnitude could potentially catapult the Spartans as a lock for an NCAA tournament birth.\r\n

\r\nThe Badgers (26-2, 12-1) have won seven of the last 10 meetings overall although the home team has won the last four contests, with the Spartans winning 74-65 most recently last season.\r\n

\r\nAlando Tucker scored 23 points in that game but was the only Badgers to score in double-figures. Now a fifth-year senior and one of the top players in the country, Tucker ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring with 20.4 points per game, having scored at least 20 points in seven consecutive games.\r\n

\r\nTucker is as good as any player Ive ever seen of drawing contact and playing through it, said Izzo. It seems like hes been in this league a hundred years, you dont face many guys like him, who fight and find ways to get shots off.\r\n

\r\nThe Spartans come into the game having smashed Iowa 81-49 on Saturday at Breslin Center, where they are 16-1 this season.\r\n

\r\nMSU knocked down season-high ten three-pointers against the Hawkeyes and will need for their long-range shooters to stay hot if they intend on keeping up with the Badgers.\r\n

\r\nWhenever you play a top-five team it definitely is a signature win, they have beaten us when we were ranked very high before, its a good rivalry game, said Izzo.\r\n

\r\nDrew Neitzel will have to be on his game and have that shooting touch and the Spartans will need contributions from everybody on their team.\r\n

\r\nRaymar Morgan is playing the best basketball of the season, putting together back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts.\r\n

\r\nMaurice Joseph knocked down four three-pointers against the Hawkeyes, all coming in the first half. He will have to put together two halves of solid shooting to give his team a boost.\r\nA real key for the Spartans will come inside the paint, where the four big men for the Spartans will have to fight for every lose rebound on both ends of the court to minimize the Badgers second chance shots.\r\n

\r\nIn their last two games, the Spartans have held Michigan to 44 points and Iowa to 49, but the Badgers rank second in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 73.4 point per contest.\r\n

\r\nWhile the Badgers are 7-1 on the road and have a veteran group that might not be so easily rattled, everyone inside Breslin Center on Tuesday night will know what a win for the Spartans would do for their NCAA tournament hopes, as well as building their confidence and momentum heading into the Big Ten tournament in a few weeks.

\r\nPavel Kofman is a producer for WILS 1320AM\r\n

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EAST LANSING - Michigan State has never beaten a #1 ranked team in East Lansing, the highest ranked team they have ever beaten at home is #2 Kansas State in 1952.

On Tuesday night in front of a national television audience and carrying major NCAA tournament implications, the Spartans (19-8, 6-6) will look to knock off newly-crowned #1 Wisconsin at Breslin Center.

The opportunity is once in a lifetime, we get a chance to play two top-five teams, some players dont get to do that in a four year career, said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

A win of such magnitude could potentially catapult the Spartans as a lock for an NCAA tournament birth.

The Badgers (26-2, 12-1) have won seven of the last 10 meetings overall although the home team has won the last four contests, with the Spartans winning 74-65 most recently last season.

Alando Tucker scored 23 points in that game but was the only Badgers to score in double-figures. Now a fifth-year senior and one of the top players in the country, Tucker ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring with 20.4 points per game, having scored at least 20 points in seven consecutive games.

Tucker is as good as any player Ive ever seen of drawing contact and playing through it, said Izzo. It seems like hes been in this league a hundred years, you dont face many guys like him, who fight and find ways to get shots off.

The Spartans come into the game having smashed Iowa 81-49 on Saturday at Breslin Center, where they are 16-1 this season.

MSU knocked down season-high ten three-pointers against the Hawkeyes and will need for their long-range shooters to stay hot if they intend on keeping up with the Badgers.

Whenever you play a top-five team it definitely is a signature win, they have beaten us when we were ranked very high before, its a good rivalry game, said Izzo.

Drew Neitzel will have to be on his game and have that shooting touch and the Spartans will need contributions from everybody on their team.

Raymar Morgan is playing the best basketball of the season, putting together back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts.

Maurice Joseph knocked down four three-pointers against the Hawkeyes, all coming in the first half. He will have to put together two halves of solid shooting to give his team a boost. A real key for the Spartans will come inside the paint, where the four big men for the Spartans will have to fight for every lose rebound on both ends of the court to minimize the Badgers second chance shots.

In their last two games, the Spartans have held Michigan to 44 points and Iowa to 49, but the Badgers rank second in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 73.4 point per contest.

While the Badgers are 7-1 on the road and have a veteran group that might not be so easily rattled, everyone inside Breslin Center on Tuesday night will know what a win for the Spartans would do for their NCAA tournament hopes, as well as building their confidence and momentum heading into the Big Ten tournament in a few weeks.

Pavel Kofman is a producer for WILS 1320AM

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