Preview: Michigan State at No.19 Wisconsin

After knocking off No.11 Purdue Tuesday, No.19 Wisconsin looks to cap off a big week by exacting some revenge against reeling Michigan State Sunday afternoon.

Michigan State (13-9, 5-5 Big Ten) vs. No.19 Wisconsin (16-5, 6-3 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Sunday, February 6, at 12 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - CBS (Gus Johnson & Clark Kellogg)

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

Series – Michigan State Leads 69-59 (UW leads 42-22 in Madison)

Last Meeting - Michigan State won, 64-61 in overtime, on Jan. 11, 2011 in East Lansing

Wisconsin Probable Starters

11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 17.2 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 5.5 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 3.8 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 19.4 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, 3.0 ppg)

15 Brett Valentyn (Senior Guard, 1.4 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 4.8 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Junior Guard, 2.0 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 3.1 ppg)

Michigan State Probable Starters

1 Kalin Lucas (Senior Guard, 15.6 ppg)

10 Delvon Roe (Junior Forward, 6.9 ppg)

11 Keith Appling (Freshman Guard, 5.8 ppg)

15 Durrell Summers (Senior Guard, 13.7 ppg)

23 Draymond Green (Junior Forward, 13.2 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Adreian Payne (Freshman Center, 2.3 ppg)

13 Austin Thornton (Junior Guard, 2.1 ppg)

25 Derrick Nix (Sophomore Center, 3.0 ppg)

41 Garrick Sherman (Sophomore Center, 3.3 ppg)

Last Time Out

Leuer and Taylor scored 24 and 15, respectively; Smith got into a minor tussle on the floor and Evans finally found the switch, helping No.19 Wisconsin to a key 13-3 that was vital in registering a 66-59 victory against No.11 Purdue.

The three-minute second-half snapshot of UW's supporting cast from seniors Smith and Nankivil and Evans, a stretch that injected some needed life into a drab atmosphere, was the difference in that second-half run.

Wisconsin (16-5, 6-3 Big Ten), allowing a conference best 58.9 points per conference game, was stuck on the tracks when the second half began with Purdue, averaging a conference best 74.8 points per conference game, making its first nine shots and engineering a 27-12 run to take a seven-point lead, its largest of the game, with 11:47 left.

Naturally, the run was led by Johnson (23 points) and Moore (15), which had led Purdue (18-5, 7-3) to a 61-9 record entering the night when they both reached double figures. Naturally, UW needed other players to kick in production wise when those flip the page. That came from Evans, whose 10 points single-handedly outscored Purdue's bench by seven.

The Kohl Center started to vibrate at the 9:59 mark when Taylor hit Evans for the dunk and really started to rumble after Smith got into a little tussle with Purdue junior Lewis Jackson. Smith was rewarded after Nankivil made his first basket, a three from the top of the key, when he drew a charge by sliding into the path of Moore.

Throw in the fact that the public address announcer made it a point to further rile up the students by announcing class at the university was canceled with Nankivil rattling in a three from the top of the key to give UW a 51-49 advantage, it proved a vital sequence.

Although Johnson answered back with a 3-pointer of his own to give Purdue a 52-51 lead and a D.J. Byrd layup gave the Boilermakers a 59-58 lead with 1:11 remaining, Evans again was vital, hitting a 12-foot jumper with 50 seconds to give UW the lead back and tied up Moore on a drive to the bucket with 21 seconds left, forcing a jump ball and a change of possession in UW's favor.

After scoring 30 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, Wisconsin held Purdue to 10 points in the final 10 minutes, keeping its streak of 38 straight home game, not counting overtime, that they've held their opponent under 70 points.

After the Badgers got out rebounded by four in Saturday's loss to Penn State, the effort to control the boards was evident from the start. As a result, Wisconsin out rebounded Purdue by seven and scored five more second-chance points off eight more offensive rebounds.

Last Meeting

No.20 Wisconsin led by 12 points in the first half and nine points with 2 minutes, 39 seconds remaining, but uncharacteristic carelessness and poor shooting allowed Michigan State to claw back into the game, a game it eventually took control of in overtime to win 64-61 in front of 14,797 rowdy fans at the Breslin Center Tuesday.

The pride of Wisconsin (12-4, 2-2 Big Ten) the last few seasons has been taking care of the basketball. Leading the nation for the second straight season in fewest turnovers per game (8.1 per game), Wisconsin had turned the ball over just 13 times in its first three conference games, an average of 4.3 per contest.

They nearly equaled that average over the final minute.

The Badgers came up on empty on their final five possessions of the game, allowing the Spartans to close the game on a 9-0 run to force overtime. Worse yet, the empty possessions were the result of poor ball handling.

It started with Leuer, who had an all-points bulletin filed after going missing in the second half, being stripped at midcourt that led to Keith Appling's uncontested dunk to cut the lead to 53-50.

On the ensuing possession, Rob Wilson, who got his first significant minutes this season in a close contest, bobbled a perfectly clean inbounds pass from Jarmusz out of bounds, and Milwaukee-native Korie Lucious hit a three-pointer from the elbow, his only bucket, to tie the game.

Nankivil had a monster performance with 17 points, 5-for-6 from three-point range, four rebounds and a team-best three blocks and three steals, but could only do so much when it came to Spartans junior Draymond Green.

With Michigan State (11-5, 3-1) having all the momentum and carrying it into overtime, Green scored the Spartans first eight points in overtime, including a free throw that put the Spartans ahead 61-60 with 1:16 left, as he finished with a career-high 26 points.

Just like at the end of regulation, Wisconsin missed its chances to retake control of the game. Taylor missed UW's first free throw at 58 seconds in overtime, a result that left the game tied at 61 instead of giving the Badgers a one-point advantage.

One the very next possession, Nankivil picked up his fifth foul, forcing Wilson to check back in. After Lucas went 1-for-2 from the line to put the Spartans back in front, Taylor missed a step back two pointer off the right corner of the iron. Lucas grabbed the rebound, was fouled, made both foul shots and Taylor's hail-mary heave from midcourt fell short.

Series Notes:

The Badgers have won five of the last eight meetings between the schools. The teams have split the season home-and-home series in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010. UW and MSU had only one regular-season meeting in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009.

UW is 12-6 against the Spartans under Bo Ryan, including a perfect 7-0 mark at the Kohl Center and a 3-0 record on neutral courts.

Excluding Big Ten Tournament games, the home team has won each of the last 11 meetings in this series.

At least one team has been ranked in 17 of the last 18 meetings. Bo Ryan and MSU head coach Tom Izzo currently rank first and fourth, respectively in career Big Ten win pct.

Michigan State Notes:

Lucas is averaging team bests in both scoring (15.6 points) and minutes (31.3 minutes), and has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 13 games, averaging 16.7 points in that stretch. In his last three games, Lucas is averaging 23.3 points and 36.7 mpg, playing a possible 110 of 125 minutes.

Through the first five conference games, MSU was holding opponents to .393 shooting from the field, including .353 from 3-point range. In the last five games, conference opponents are shooting .535, including .475 from behind the arc. In all conference games, MSU ranks eighth in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense (.461).

MSU ranks second in the league in blocks (5.30 bpg) and is tied for the lead in steals (6.20 spg) in league games.

Green leads the team in rebounding (8.6 rpg), steals (1.8 spg), assists (4.0 apg) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.419), ranks second in blocks (1.2 bpg), and third in scoring (13.2).

The Spartans average 14.1 turnovers per contest. It's an area, however, where MSU has shown improvement lately as the Spartans have committed 11 turnovers or fewer in eight of the last 13 games, averaging 11.5 in that stretch.

Wisconsin Notes:

Wisconsin has won 15 straight home games, tied as the 9th-longest streak in the nation. The Badgers have won their 12 home games this season by an average of 19.9 points per game.

Taylor ranks 2nd in the nation with a 3.80 assist-to-turnover ratio. Wisconsin as a team is also No. 1 in nation with a 1.81 ratio and is closing in the NCAA record for fewest turnovers. UW leads all of college basketball with just 7.8 turnovers per game - the NCAA record is 7.72, set by Temple in the 2005-06 season.

Under Bo Ryan, the Badgers are 217-50 (.813) when limiting opponents to fewer than 70 points.

At home this year, UW is scoring an average of 75.3 points per game and holding opponents to 55.3 points. The Badgers are shooting 48.0 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from 3-point range at the Kohl Center.

Prediction

So much has changed since the Badgers squandered a late second-half lead and lost 64-61 in overtime. While Wisconsin enjoyed a nice run that ended with the Jan. 29 loss at Penn State, the Spartans lost three games, dismissed point guard and Milwaukee native Korie Lucious from the squad, and nearly fell to second-division Indiana on Jan. 30. Lucious wasn't instrumental in the first meeting, but it's just another distraction the Spartans don't need.

Michigan State was once No.2 in the country, but Sparty has dropped four of five and was a bucket away from losing at home against Indiana. One could even make the case that they should be on an eight-game losing streak with the way they've stole games against UW and Northwestern.

The Spartans, frankly, are terrible, which showed in their 20-point loss at Iowa City, a final score that doesn't reflect how badly the Hawkeyes crushed them. Worse yet, Tom Izzo, every Badgers fan favorite coach, doesn't know how to fix it.

This is a must-win game for Wisconsin. The Badgers can't give the Spartans a breath of life in the conference, the Badgers can't fall any further behind Ohio State if UW wants to win a piece of the title and, most importantly, they can't lose to Izzo at the Kohl Center.

Before the big game tonight, Wisconsin registers an important, and hopefully, embarrassing 16-point win over Michigan State.

Worgull's Record: 20-1

Points off Prediction: 133 (6.3 per game)


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