Here We Go Again: UW vs MSU Round Three

Thursday's victory over Northwestern means that the Spartans will meet the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday night in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan should get used to seeing one another, because their teams seem to keep crossing paths.

Thursday's victory over Northwestern means that the Spartans will meet the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday night in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

This will be the third meeting between the two in less than two weeks, with both winning on their home court.

But the Spartans may have a little redemption in their sights along with building a stronger NCAA tournament resume. Last Saturday in Madison, the Spartans battled their way to lead by two points with 11.4 seconds to play.

But Kammron Taylor crushed the Spartans' hopes of a season sweep of the Badgers with a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in the game to give his team a dramatic 52-50 victory on senior night.

Now the third meeting will decide the season series, with a chance at the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament at stake.

But both teams seem to be mirrors of each other, often relying on one dominating scorer to do the job. Such was the case for the Badgers in last Saturday's meeting with the Spartans, as Tucker scored 26 points and was the only Badger in double-figures.

Even Drew Neitzel got some much needed help on the scoreboard in that game as Goran Suton scored 16 points on the night to go along with Neitzel's 22.

A key missing factor in that game for MSU was freshman Raymar Morgan, who was battling the flu throughout the game, impeding his scoring and contributions. A much healthier Morgan scored 15 points against Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

Morgan could be the difference for the Spartans this time around, but while they gain a key player back, the Badgers find themselves having to replace senior big-man and starter Brian Butch, who dislocated his elbow late in the regular season against Ohio State.

Despite Taylor's late heroics against MSU, his presence has been limited in two games this season. He was held scoreless in MSU's upset of the Badgers in East Lansing while only scoring eight points in their last meeting, including the big three-pointer.

While both teams appear to be locks for the NCAA tournament, both could certainly benefit from a victory over the other, especially Michigan State.

Friday night's game will be a dogfight to the end, with Neitzel and Tucker stepping in for their respected teams. But the game could likely come down to who can provide the secondary scoring to support their star players.

Raymar Morgan or Kammron Taylor could both do it, or could someone else step up and pull off a huge victory for their team?


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