Preview: No.17 UW at No.7 Michigan State

Winners of seven of its last eight and five of its last six on the road, No.15 Wisconsin looks to win its first game in East Lansing when it takes on No.7 Michigan State at the Breslin Center Thursday night.

No.17 Wisconsin (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) vs. No.7 Michigan State (20-5, 9-3 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Thursday, February 16, 6:00 p.m. Central

Arena – Breslin Center (14,759)

Television - ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Stephen Bardo)

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

Series – Michigan State leads 70-60 (MSU leads 44-14 in East Lansing)

Last Meeting – Michigan State won, 63-60, in overtime on January 3, 2012 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Junior Forward, 10.3 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (6-1 Senior Guard, 14.5 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 7.3 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Junior Forward, 6.5 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Junior Forward, 10.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 8.6 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Freshman Guard, 1.6 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (6-4 Senior Guard, 2.3 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Freshman Forward, 2.2 ppg)

Michigan State Probable Starters

5 Adreian Payne (6-10 Sophomore Center, 7.3 ppg)

11 Keith Appling (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 11.9 ppg)

13 Austin Thornton (6-5 Senior Guard, 4.5 ppg)

22 Branden Dawson (6-6 Freshman Guard, 8.7 ppg)

23 Draymond Green (6-7 Senior Forward, 15.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

0 Russell Byrd (6-7 Freshman Guard, 1.6 ppg)

20 Travis Trice (6-0 Freshman Guard, 5.2 ppg)

25 Derrick Nix (6-9 Junior Guard, 7.5 ppg)

30 Brandon Wood (6-2 Senior Guard, 8.6 ppg)

Last Time Out

MINNEAPOLIS - It would have been an outcome that would have haunted senior guard Jordan Taylor every time he crossed the St. Croix River.

Scoring 22 points in 40 minutes but watching a lead dwindle to nothing down the stretch, Taylor was a possession away from ending his career 0-3 in Minneapolis and dropping another heartbreaker where fans said he didn't do enough. He would have none of it.

UW's senior point guard and Bloomington, Minn., native used his defense to force a game-winning shot to fall well short and use his offense to get back on track with a dominate 27-point performance in No.21 Wisconsin's 68-61 victory over the Golden Gophers Thursday night.

The win helps Wisconsin (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) keep pace with first-place Ohio State in a crowded Big Ten and continues what is an impressive run of road dominance for the Badgers, who improve to 8-2 away from its home venue.

"Anytime you can win on the road against a tough opponent, it's always fun," said Taylor. "I haven't won here, so I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't enjoy that one a little bit."

It appeared it was going to come easy with time winding down in the second half. Building its lead to as many as 13 points, Wisconsin was sitting pretty after Jared Berggren converted one of 12 offensive rebounds into points, making the lead 51-41 with 7:43 remaining.

Those were the last points Wisconsin made in regulation, as nine consecutive missed shots and a 10-0 run ignited a Gophers crowd dying to cheer for something all night. It nearly could have been 12-0 had Taylor not scouted the tendencies of Andre Hollins.

Hollins scored 20 points to lead the Gophers (17-8, 5-7) but got caught when Taylor read his crossover dribble and forced a shot the UW senior contested. The end result was an air ball and desperation heave by Austin Hollins with no time left that sent the game to overtime. "I have seen the play a few times and I know he likes the left-to-right cross," said Taylor. "He's quick, so I just tried to stay solid, stay in front of him and I was fortunate to get a piece of the shot."

Josh Gasser was kicking himself in those few seconds between shots. After the initial miss, Gasser had an opportunity to secure the loose rebound, but couldn't both hands on it. When Austin Hollins missed, Gasser knew he and his teammates had a chance to make up for nearly eight minutes of complacency. Attacking the paint early and often in the extra session, it started with Gasser drawing a foul as he attacked the rim and continued from there, as the Badgers scored 15 of their 17 points from the line on 15 of 17 free throw attempts.

- By Benjamin Worgull –

Last Meeting

Tom Izzo never actually heard what the officials' final ruling was on Ryan Evans' apparent game-tying 3-pointer.

He just knew the shot didn't count, and Michigan State was walking away with a rare road victory at Wisconsin.

Evans' shot was disallowed after officials looked at a replay and ruled that it left his hand after time expired, allowing the No.10 Spartans to hold on for a 63-60 overtime victory over the No.18 Badgers.

"I don't know what happened at the end," Izzo said. "Nor do I care. I thought we played well enough and earned the win, and that's the way I'm going to look at it."

Draymond Green had 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Keith Appling added 16 points for the Spartans (14-2, 3-0 Big Ten), who have won 14 straight.

Jordan Taylor scored 28 points for the Badgers (12-4, 1-2), who have lost two straight at home for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Evans' 3 was overturned when officials ruled he didn't get the shot off in time.

In comments distributed by Wisconsin's sports information staff, referee Pat Driscoll acknowledged that there was some confusion because a clock on a side scoreboard appeared to show 0.2 seconds left when the shot left Evans' hand, while time had expired on the clock above the backboard.

"By rule we have to go by the clock that is on the backboard," Driscoll said. "I don't know why there would be different (times) -- it could be satellite, electronic, whatever -- but by rule we have to go by the clock that is attached to the backboard. In our review on the monitor, the clock clearly showed zeros while the ball remained in the Wisconsin player's hands."

Driscoll said officials looked at the replay approximately seven times, also examining whether Evans' foot was on the 3-point line. Badgers coach Bo Ryan said he tried to sneak a peek at the replay monitor while officials were looking at it but didn't get a good look.

It was another rare home loss -- and another rough shooting night -- for the Badgers, who shot poorly from outside in a home loss to Iowa on Saturday. It was only the Badgers' 14th loss, and eighth conference loss, at home under Ryan.

The Badgers have been overly reliant on streaky outside shooting this season. They were 3 for 28 from 3-point range in the loss to the Hawkeyes. They certainly made an effort to get the ball inside, but still ended up going 5 for 22 from 3-point range.

- By Associated Press

Series Notes:

The Badgers have won 6 of the last 10 meetings between the schools, but have not won in East Lansing since 2004, a string of 6 straight losses.

UW is 13-7 against the Spartans under Bo Ryan, including a 2-6 mark at the Breslin Center and a 3-0 record on neutral courts.

Prior to MSU's Jan. 3 win at the Kohl Center, the home team had won each of the last 12 meetings in the Wisconsin-Michigan State series.

At least one team has been ranked in 19 of the last 20 meetings. This marks the 10th-ever meeting where both teams are ranked in the AP poll.

Two of the last three meetings have gone into overtime, with the Spartans winning both.

Bo Ryan (.711) and MSU head coach Tom Izzo (.686) currently rank 1st and 3rd, respectively in career Big Ten win percentage (min. 10 years).

Wisconsin Notes

In his last 4 meetings with Michigan State, Jordan Taylor has averaged 24.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists, including a season-high 28 points in the Jan. 3 meeting.

The Badgers are 5-1 in Big Ten road games, having won 4 straight. Overall, UW is 6-2 in true road game this season (8-2 in road/neutral). Among the 6 BCS conferences, only Baylor (7) has more road wins than Wisconsin.

The Badgers will be taking on their 4th top-10 opponent of the season, and looking for their first win. UW is 9-24 all-time under Ryan against the AP top 10. Wisconsin's only road win against a top-10 team under Ryan was a 67-66 win at No. 7 Texas (12/29/07).

Wisconsin has won its last 11 games when coming off at least 6 days of rest.

Wisconsin has won at least 20 games in each of the last 5 seasons. That is the 2nd-longest active streak in the Big Ten behind Ohio State's seven straight seasons.

Michigan State Notes:

Michigan State is 309-44 (.875) all-time since Breslin Center opened in 1989, including 161-33 (.830) in Big Ten play. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are 235-29 (.890) at Breslin, including a 120-20 (.857) conference record. MSU is 15-0 at Breslin Center this season and has won 16 straight home games.

According to's InsideRPI Daily (Feb. 15), Michigan State's strength of schedule ranks No. 4 in the country. The Spartans have played 13 of 25 games vs. the RPI Top 100 and 18 of 25 vs. the RPI Top 150. Five of MSU's final six games will be against teams with an RPI of 60 or better, including three in the Top 25.

Michigan State is 5-3 against ranked opponents this season, including road wins over #23 Gonzaga, #18 Wisconsin, and #3 Ohio State and a home wins over #13 Indiana and #23 Michigan. In MSU's five wins over ranked opponents, the Spartan defense has been outstanding, holding opponents to 58.8 points on .369 shooting.

Draymond Green has led MSU in rebounding in 20 of 25 games, including 11 of 12 Big Ten contests. In fact, the only one he didn't lead in was at Illinois where he played just 16 minutes due to foul trouble and injury. He's led MSU in scoring in 11 games, and paced the Spartans in assists in seven contests.


It was the ultimate feeling of helplessness for Bruesewitz, sitting and watching a seemingly insurmountable lead flitter away before his very eyes. Leading by as many as 12 points in the first half and holding a 53-44 advantage with 2:37 remaining, Michigan State rallied to force overtime and eventually win 64-61 the last time UW was in the Breslin Center.

"I had to watch it happened, which is probably one of the worst feelings," Bruesewitz recalled. "Being a part of it, you sometimes have a control in that. Watching it from the bench is harder almost."

Korie Lucious capped the comeback with a three-pointer from in front of the Spartan bench, but it was Wisconsin's ineptness during the stretch that even allowed the comeback to happen – missing all three shots and turning the ball over four times in the final 2:37. Once overtime came, Green took over by scoring the first eight points and UW could never recover.

"We pretty much did everything wrong to close the game," said Berggren. "We gave them every chance, they took advantage of it and we really let that slip through our fingers. We definitely remember that and we definitely learned from that."

It's a different year, which equals a different Wisconsin team. Not only are the Badgers near perfect away from home in the fourth month of the season, Wisconsin has learned how to close games since letting Michigan State steal one at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers are a perfect 19-0 this season when leading or tied with 5:00 to go. In three of UW's last four wins, the Badgers have overcome second-half deficits to pull out the win. UW's last game wasn't a comeback, but the Badgers regrouped after Minnesota, once down 10 with 7:41 to go, chipped away to force overtime.

"We just look at each other and said, ‘It's on us," Bruesewitz said of the Gophers game. "We knew we weren't losing (there)."

It's the same mentality Wisconsin needs tonight against Michigan State. In order for the Badgers to win, UW needs to be more physical than arguably the most physical team in the conference, needs to outrebound arguably the best rebounding team in the conference and needs to win on the road against one of the best home teams in the conference.

It's a bunch of long odds for a team that doesn't have one player who can claim a victory on this floor. Then again, that's nothing new this season.

"We hadn't had anybody win at Purdue or Minnesota, either, so we might as well knock this one out, too," said Bruesewitz. "That would probably be the best of both worlds."

It would be, but I don't think it's going to happen. As I wrote here, this is one of the best team's Izzo has in terms of rebounding and field goal defense … two of the weakest areas on this year's UW team. I think Wisconsin will give Michigan State a fight for 37 minutes, but the Spartans will pull away and win by nine those last three minutes.

Worgull's Record: 21-4

Points off Prediction: 243 (9.72 per game)

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