Preview: No.17 Wisconsin vs. No.10 Mich State

The Badgers have won six straight games but in order for that streak to continue, Wisconsin will have to beat two top 10 teams. First up is a trip to the Breslin Center against No.10 Michigan State, where UW has lost four straight meetings.

No.17 Wisconsin (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) vs. No.10 Michigan State (11-3, 1-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Wednesday, January 6, at 5:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Breslin Center (14,759)

Television - Big Ten Network (Gus Johnson and Steve Smith)

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

Series – MSU Leads 67-58 (MSU Leads 42-14 in East Lansing)

Last Meeting – Michigan State won, 61-50, on Feb 22, 2009 in East Lansing.

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 16.5 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 10.0 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 3.4 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Junior Forward, 15.8 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 7.9 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 5.2 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 8.4 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 2.8 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Center, 1.7 ppg)

Michigan State Probable Starters

1 Kalin Lucas (Junior Guard, 16.1 ppg)

2 Raymar Morgan (Senior Forward, 10.6 ppg)

3 Chris Allen (Junior Guard, 10.5 ppg)

10 Delvon Roe (Sophomore Forward, 7.5 ppg)

41 Garrick Sherman (Freshman Center, 2.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

15 Durrell Summers (Junior Guard, 11.4 ppg)

23 Draymond Green (Sophomore Forward, 11.1 ppg)

34 Korie Lucious (Sophomore Guard, 6.1 ppg)

50 Derrick Nix (Freshman Center, 2.6 ppg)

Last Meeting:

Marred in a shooting slumber for 75 percent of the game, the Spartans came alive in the final 10 minutes of the second half, closing the game on a 32-9 run to emerge victorious. The loss snaps Wisconsin's season-best five game winning streak and its four game winning streak over the Spartans.

After Jason Bohannon and Marcus Landry each nailed a three pointer in a 90 second span to give Wisconsin a 12-point lead, its biggest of the game, at 12:31 of the second half, Michigan State went on its run. After regrouping with a timeout, the Spartans, down 41-29, went on an 18-4 run over the next seven-plus minutes to take their first lead since 2-0.

Landry answered on the next possession with a turn around jumper at 3:41, ending an eight minute, 30 second field goal drought, but the Spartans continued to pile it on, getting a two point jumper from Lucas (game-high 17 points) and back-to-back three pointers from Chris Allen and Lucas, the Spartans first two made threes of the game.

From there, it was all downhill for Wisconsin, as the Badgers could never answer back.

Last Time Out:

Playing their typically tough defense and methodical offense, No. 23 Wisconsin felt right at home in Happy Valley.

It didn't matter much Sunday that the Badgers' leading scorer, Jon Leuer, spent much of the afternoon on the bench with foul trouble. Trevon Hughes scored 18 points and the Badgers took advantage of open perimeter looks to defeat Penn State 63-46 on Sunday for their sixth straight victory.

Coach Bo Ryan likes the way his team is getting outside shots.

"From the post, you catch and you shoot ... It's the highest percentage 3 year in and year out," Ryan said. "Through the post. Good things happen through the post."

Talor Battle had 15, while David Jackson added 13 points and five rebounds for Penn State, which lost its 11th straight to Wisconsin (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) going back to 2003.

As usual, Battle was the Nittany Lions' top option, but rarely found easy looks with Hughes and fellow guards Jason Bohannon and Jordan Taylor defending him. Jackson gave Penn State (8-6, 0-2) a spark with scrappy play around the bucket.

Otherwise, coach Ed DeChellis' Nittany Lions became the latest to succumb to Wisconsin's defense. The Badgers entered Sunday allowing 57.2 points a game, best in the Big Ten.

Series Notes:

The Spartans and Badgers met only once in each of the past two seasons

At least one team has been ranked in 14 of the last 15 meetings.

The home team has won the last eight games played on a college campus.

Both Michigan State and Wisconsin have consistently ranked among the top programs in the Big Ten over the last 12 years. In fact, either the Spartans or the Badgers have won the Big Ten regular-season championship in eight of the last 12 seasons (MSU - 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009; UW - 2002, 2003, 2008).

UW is 11-4 against the Spartans under Bo Ryan, including 2-4 at the Breslin Center.

Wisconsin Notes:

The 2000's will go down as one of the greatest decades in Wisconsin men's basketball history. From 2000 thru 2009, UW compiled a 230-94 (.710) record overall and a 112-53 (.679) mark in Big Ten play.

Wisconsin has turned the ball over 10.1 times per game this season, which ranks third in the nation. UW is 11-0 when turning it over fewer times than its opponent this season. Wisconsin has posted fewer than 10 turnovers in seven games this season, including five of the last six games.

UW is third in the Big Ten shooting 73.5 percent at the free throw line. That is the team's highest mark since shooting 74 percent at the charity stripe in 1998-99. UW has converted at least 75 percent at the line in eight games this year including three straight.

The Badgers are also lighting it up from 3-point range, connecting on 37.7 percent from behind the arc. That is UW's second-best 3-point FG pct. in the last 18 seasons (39.1 pct. in 2004-05). Wisconsin has shot 44.2 percent (46-104) from deep over the last five games.

Michigan State Notes:

Over the past 59 seasons, Michigan State has posted a 40-19 mark in Big Ten home openers. Tom Izzo is 12-2 in Big Ten home openers, including winning the last seven.

Michigan State ranks in the top six nationally in three different statistical categories (as of Jan. 4). The Spartans rank fourth in the nation with a +10.3 rebound margin, fifth in assists per game (19.4 apg) and sixth in field-goal percentage (.507).

Michigan State has struggled at the foul line this season, converting at a .678 percentage. The Spartans, however, are showing improvement recently, hitting .752 percent of their attempts in the last four games, raising the team's average from .644 to its current mark.

Korie Lucious has posted impressive numbers in his role as a reserve point guard. He leads the team with 4.1 assists per game and his 2.64 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Last season, he averaged just 1.2 assists with a 1.12 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Worgull's Prediction

Bo owns Izzo, so naturally UW is going to win, but this one isn't going to be easy. Wisconsin made define the word 'team' this season, but the Spartans roster defines the word 'balance.' Five Spartans average over 10 points per game while the team averages a league-high 82.4 points per game with a .507 field goal percentage.

That's not so much of a big deal, considering UW shut down Ohio State - entering the game as the conference's leading team scorer - to 40 points below its average, but the fact that MSU scored 90 points against Northwestern is impressive.

Where this game is going to be won or loss for the Badgers is on the boards, primarily the offensive boards. MSU leads the conference averaging 41.4 points per games, including 14.2 on the offensive glass. The Badgers have out-rebounded 11 of 14 opponents this season, sporting a 10-1 record in those games, but UW didn't rebound well against Penn State, getting out rebounded 35-34, which drew some criticism from head coach Bo Ryan and assistant Howard Moore. UW leads the Big Ten in rebounding defense and will need to continue to do so if they want to win.

The other key is going to be Trevon Hughes, Jason Bohannon and Jordan Taylor not for their offense, but for their defense on Lucas. Against Northwestern, Lucas, who was benched last week by Izzo, has six of MSU's 14 turnovers. If those guys play the type of tenacious team defense they have done all season on opposing guards, UW will win. It's another slug fest, but UW has the tools to pull off a victory by the narrowest of margins, one point.

Worgull's Record: 10-4

Points off Prediction: 178 (12.7 per game)


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