Preview: No.20 Wisconsin at Michigan State

After a five-day layoff after beating Michigan Wednesday, No.20 Wisconsin looks for back-to-back wins against the state of Michigan, as the Badgers head to East Lansing to take on struggling Michigan State.

Wisconsin (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten) vs. Michigan State (10-5, 2-1 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Tuesday, January 11, at 6 p.m. Central

Arena – Breslin Center (14,759)

Television - ESPN (Dave O'Brien, Dan Dakich & Jill Montgomery)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Michigan State Leads 68-59 (MSU leads 43-14 in East Lansing)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 67-49, on Feb. 2, 2010 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 16.4 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 5.6 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 19.3 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 5.2 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 8.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Wquinton Smith (Senior Guard, 0.5 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 3.5 ppg)

15 Brett Valentyn (Senior Guard, 1.5 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 4.1 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Junior Guard, 2.3 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 4.1 ppg)

Michigan State Probable Starters

1 Kalin Lucas (Senior Guard, 14.3 ppg)

10 Delvon Roe (Junior Forward, 7.2 ppg)

11 Keith Appling (Freshman Guard, 5.5 ppg)

15 Durrell Summers (Senior Guard, 15.6 ppg)

23 Draymond Green (Junior Forward, 11.7 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Adreian Payne (Freshman Center, 2.6 ppg)

13 Austin Thornton (Junior Guard, 3.0 ppg)

25 Derrick Nix (Sophomore Center, 1.8 ppg)

34 Korie Lucious (Junior Guard, 7.3 ppg)

41 Garrick Sherman (Sophomore Center, 4.6 ppg)

Last Time Out

After a frustrating first half, Taylor found his groove, scoring 17 of his game-high 20 points as Wisconsin used the long ball to push past Michigan, 66-50, Wednesday night.

Down 28-26 at halftime, the first time UW trailed at halftime in a home game all season, six of the Badgers first seven second-half shots were three-point attempts. After five found the bottom of the net, UW gained a five-point edge, as Taylor's production seemed to ignite the crowd.

Taylor buried consecutive three-pointers to pull UW (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten) within 33-32 and after Keaton Nankivil hit a three to give UW its first lead since 6-4, Taylor buried his third triple of the half to push the lead to 38-33 and force Michigan to burn a timeout.

Consider it coincidence then that Taylor attempted more shots (5) in the first 5 minutes, 15 seconds than he did the entire first half. Taylor added eight rebounds, three assists and made all six of his foul shots in the final seven minutes to make sure the Wolverines got no closer than six the rest of the way.

Things were easy for Taylor, especially with the contributions his team was getting from senior post players Jon Leuer and Nankivil. Leuer, who came in averaging 15.7 points in three previous games against Michigan, scored 17 and Nankivil added 13, nine of which came during a 10-minute stretch between halves where UW took control.

Just as important as Taylor's contribution, Wisconsin continued to utilize its new three-point reputation to springboard them right back into the thick of things. Three days after shooting 10-for-35 (28.6 percent) in an eight-point loss at Illinois, the Badgers' three-point marksmanship was a necessary asset at the start of the second half, as UW finished 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) from three-point range and 6-for-12 (50 percent) after halftime.

Last Meeting

No.16 Wisconsin trailed 1-0 and that was it, leading by as many as 17 points in the first half and never let the led dip below eight after that on its way to a resounding 67-49 victory in front of 17,230 fans at the Kohl Center.

Four players scored in double figures for Wisconsin (17-5, 7-3 Big Ten), led by Bohannon's game-high 19 that put the Badgers back into sole possession of second place and gives Michigan State (19-4, 9-1) its first conference loss of the season.

Everything seemed to click for the Badgers. Defeating its third ranked team in the AP top 10 that season (the first time UW has done that since 1999-2000) Wisconsin dished out 17 assists (best in a conference game), shot above 50 percent (50.9 percent) for the first time in conference play against the conference's best field-goal percentage defense and held the Spartans to a season-low in points.

Said Izzo: "I thought for the most part that was an old-fashioned whooping. They came out and really took it to us early, made a lot of shots and they deserve the credit."

Series Notes:

The Badgers have won five of the last seven meetings between the schools. UW is 12-5 against the Spartans under Bo Ryan, including a 2-5 mark at the Breslin Center and a 3-0 record on neutral courts.

Excluding neutral games played in the Big Ten Tournament, the home team has won each of the last 10 meetings in this series.

At least one team has been ranked in 16 of the last 17 meetings.

Bo Ryan and MSU head coach Tom Izzo currently rank first and third, respectively in career Big Ten winning percentage. Ryan owns the top mark at .712, while Izzo's .699 win percentage is third behind Bob Knight (.700).

Some of the current Badgers have enjoyed big games against Michigan State. In his only appearance against the Spartans last season, Jon Leuer posted a game-high 21 points with 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in East Lansing. With Leuer out with a broken wrist for the 2010 rematch at the Kohl Center, Jordan Taylor poured in 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Rob Wilson also chipped in 10 points and 4 rebounds in that game.

Michigan State Notes:

In conference games, MSU leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to .378 shooting from the field. The Spartans also rank third in the conference in scoring defense in league games, allowing 63.3 points per contest. MSU leads the league in blocks (7.3 bpg) and ranks second in steals (6.7 spg) in league games.

Michigan State has done a solid job defensively on the league's top two scorers. First, MSU held Northwestern's John Shurna, currently averaging 20.4 ppg, to 11 points on 1-of-11 shooting. Most recently, MSU held Penn State's Talor Battle, averaging 20.5 ppg, to 13 points on 3-of-14 shooting.

Summers leads the Spartans in 3-point field goals made (38), attempted (88) and percentage (.432). Summers has made four or more three pointers in five of the last eight games and three or more in six of the last eight games.

Wisconsin Notes:

Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.2 ppg), free-throw percentage (.804) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.81)

With the exception of UW's loss to Notre Dame in the Old Spice Classic, Wisconsin has been remarkably good at closing games recently. Dating back to last season, the Badgers have a 34-1 record when leading or tied with 4:00 remaining in regulation, including a 12-1 mark this season. Wisconsin's only loss with a late lead was to the Fighting Irish on Nov. 28, 2010 (UW led 48-43 with 4:00 remaining).

In 2010-11, Wisconsin is a perfect 10-0 when shooting 45.0% or better from the field. The Badgers are also 11-0 when shooting a higher FG percentage than their opponents.


Winners in eight of its last nine, Wisconsin finds itself ranked in the AP top 20. With four losses since December 1, Michigan State, once thought to be Final Four contenders, is out of the top 25. Who would have thought UW would be the ranked team in this match-up.

To me, this game boils down to four areas.

1) Over the last five seasons (2006-07 to present), Wisconsin has gone 27-19 (.587) in true road games. That mark ranks as the seventh-highest win percentage among teams in the six BCS conferences. UW is 1-2 in true road games this season. During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 214-27 (.888) at home, including 191-18 (.914) over the last 14 years.

2) The Badgers rank among the nation's leaders in free throw shooting percentage at 80.4 percent. The Spartans are one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the Big Ten at 65.5 percent and shot just 50 percent during their 66-62 upset loss at Penn State Saturday.

3) One of Michigan State's early season issues has been turnovers, as the Spartans average 15.1 per contest. MSU opponents are averaging 15.0 points per game off turnovers, compared to just 13.9 points for the Spartans.

4) During the non-conference schedule, Michigan State played five teams that have been ranked in the AP Top 25 at some point this year. MSU's four non-conference losses have come to teams with a combined record of 55-5 and that are all currently ranked in the top 12 of the AP Top 25.

The last one concerns me because not only is Michigan State's record deceiving after losing to good teams, they will be agitated after losing to Penn State. Wisconsin has played well on the road, but they haven't played spectacular, which is what will be needed here. UW will beat Michigan State on Feb.6, but will lose by six tonight.

Worgull's Record: 14-1

Points off Prediction: 100 (6.7 per game)

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