Preview: No.5 Michigan State vs. No.16 UW

After nearly stealing a Big Ten road victory on Thursday at Purdue, No.16 Wisconsin will host No.5 Michigan State, which made a habit of late of stealing every road game. The Badgers will be looking to avenge an early January loss in East Lansing while the Spartans will be looking for its first Madison road win since 2001.

No.16 Wisconsin (16-5, 6-3 Big Ten) vs. No.5 Michigan State (19-3, 9-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Tuesday, February 2, at 8 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - ESPN (Brent Musberger, Steve Lavin and Erin Andrews)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas). Nationally on Compass Media Networks.

Series – Michigan State Leads 68-56 (UW Leads 41-22 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Michigan State won, 54-47, on Jan. 6, 2010 in East Lansing

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 16.0 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 9.5 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 10.4 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 2.8 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 8.7 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 4.2 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 3.1 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Freshman Forward, 1.1 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Center, 1.5 ppg)

Michigan State Probable Starters

1 Kalin Lucas (Junior Guard, 16.0 ppg)

2 Raymar Morgan (Senior Forward, 11.1 ppg)

3 Chris Allen (Junior Guard, 9.3 ppg)

10 Delvon Roe (Sophomore Forward, 7.4 ppg)

15 Durrell Summers (Junior Guard, 10.8 ppg)

Off the Bench

23 Draymond Green (Sophomore Forward, 10.4 ppg)

34 Korie Lucious (Sophomore Guard, 5.0 ppg)

41 Garrick Sherman (Freshman Center, 2.1 ppg)

50 Derrick Nix (Freshman Center, 2.0 ppg)

Last Meeting:

Michigan State won a hard-fought 54-47 contest vs. Wisconsin on Jan. 6, 2010, in East Lansing. Both teams shot below 30 percent in the first half as MSU held a 22-20 lead at the break. The Spartans couldn't shake the Badgers, as Wisconsin tied the score five times in the second half, but could never take the lead. A Jon Leuer 3-pointer cut MSU's lead to one at 39-38 with 9:14 left. On the Spartans' next possession, Draymond Green got a layup off a pick-and-roll with Kalin Lucas.

After a Badger miss, Korie Lucious attempted a jumper from the top of the key. The shot missed, but Green was there for the tip-in, pushing MSU's lead to 43-38. The Spartans shot 50 percent in the second half. Chris Allen led MSU with 16 points, while Jon Leuer paced UW with 21 points. MSU's four guards (Allen, Lucas, Lucious and Durrell Summers) combined for 20 rebounds, as the Spartans out-boarded the Badgers, 41-27.

Wisconsin (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten) had a game plan defensively to make things challenging on a Spartans team that had five players averaging double digits in points and averaged 50.7 percent shooting. Consider that mission accomplished, as Michigan State had a season low in points and shooting percentage (38.1 percent).

The problem was the Badgers couldn't buy a bucket offensively in a rugged first half and only marginally improved from the floor after halftime, as the size and speed of Michigan State (12-3, 2-0) forced UW out of its comfort zone from the opening whistle.

Last Time Out:

Playing in a building where they had won twice in 42 years and facing its biggest test without its biggest inside presence, No.16 Wisconsin did everything it could to exercise its Mackey Arena demons, having No.10 Purdue on the ropes twice late in the second half.

When it came to crunch time, the Badgers couldn't stop E'Twuan Moore and couldn't get their crunch-time player - Hughes - to drop not one, but two game-winning attempts, a series of events that spelled out a 60-57 loss in front of a sellout crowd of 14,123.

"It's especially frustrating tonight because I felt like we (had them) a couple time where we wanted them," said Nankivil, who led all scores with 25. "We had them with 10 minutes left, with a couple minutes left and both cases, I thought we had some good stuff going. They made plays down the stretch and we struggled a couple times."

Wisconsin (16-5, 6-3 Big Ten) looked to be headed toward another ‘what-if' defeat midway through the second half when the Badgers saw a 38-31 lead with 13:01 remaining evaporate over a six-minute span, as Purdue (17-3, 5-3) carved out a 17-2 run with just over seven minutes left.

But on a night where Nankivil simply couldn't miss, the Badgers clawed back into the fight. Tying the school record with seven three-pointers and a career-high in points, Nankivil, after stuffing senior Chris Kramer, buried a three-pointer from the top of the key with 42 seconds left to put the Badgers up 57-56.

"We just kept fighting back and doing what we had to do up until the very end," Nankivil said.

Then came the two part ending for Wisconsin. Part one came compliments of Moore, who drove past Taylor off a screen and pulled up in the lane to deliver a floater over Nankivil with 25.2 seconds left, giving Purdue a 58-57 lead.

The second part was a struggling Hughes having two looks at making the Badgers a winner. His first attempt was a three-pointer from the left elbow that went awry, but bounced off a Purdue player and out of bounds. Although admitting to getting hit on the elbow, Hughes, who finished the game 0-of-5 from three-point range, knew no call was coming.

With six seconds remaining, Hughes got another chance to attack the rim. Driving the lane until he ran into three Purdue defenders, Hughes' shot was too strong, bouncing off the glass and the front rim before falling into the hands of Purdue, effectively sealing the game.

Series Notes:

Tuesday's contest will mark the Badgers' seventh game against a top-25 opponent this season, owning a 4-2 record in such games. UW is one of just five teams in the nation (along with Duke, Georgetown, Ohio State and Syracuse) to post four wins against the AP Top 25.

The Badgers have won four of the last six meetings between the schools.

UW is 11-5 against the Spartans under Bo Ryan, including a perfect 6-0 record at the Kohl Center.

At least one team has been ranked in 15 of the last 16 meetings.

Wisconsin Notes:

The Badgers have played four games vs. top-10 teams this season, knocking off #6 Duke and #4 Purdue and losing at #10 Michigan State and at #10 Purdue.

In Ryan's nine seasons at UW, the Badgers are 7-19 vs. AP top 10 teams.

The Badgers are 12-0 at home this season and own a 17-game home winning streak overall. UW's average margin of victory at home is 19.0 points per game.

Under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin is 20-7 (.741) vs. ranked opponents at the Kohl Center. That includes a 14-5 (.737) mark vs. ranked Big Ten teams.

Since Bo Ryan took over in 2001, Wisconsin has posted a 100-41 (.709) Big Ten record, tops in the conference. Over the last four seasons, UW also owns the best Big Ten mark at 44-16 (.733). Michigan State (43-17, .717) has the second-best record over that span.

The Badgers have completed the first half of the Big Ten season with 6-3 record, an improvement over last season's 3-6 start. UW's scoring defense has improved by 8.8 points per game and the Badgers are forcing 2.1 more turnovers this season.

Wisconsin leads the nation, turning the ball over an average of just 9.4 times per game. That mark would smash the single-season school record of 10.0 which was set in 2003-04 and equaled in 2008-09. During conference games, UW is giving it up a mere 8.2 times per contest. UW is 15-2 when turning it over fewer times than its opponent this season.

Michigan State Notes:

After winning its first four Big Ten road games of the season, Michigan State has won 12 of its last 13 Big Ten road contests for the first time in school history. In 2008-09, the Spartans were 8-1 on the road, establishing a school record for most number of league road victories.

In 2010 road games, Lucas has averaged a team-best 17.3 points. For his career, Lucas is averaging 14.4 points in 22 conference road games. Over the last two seasons, that average jumps to 17.8 points per contest.

Michigan State (9-0) joins Villanova (8-0) and Kansas (6-0) as the only teams in a BCS conference currently undefeated in league play. Overall, there are 10 teams undefeated in conference play.

Michigan State's bench is averaging 26.9 points per game, including 21.0 points in Big Ten play. On average, MSU's bench is out-scoring Big Ten opponents' benches by a 21.0-11.8 margin.

Worgull's Prediction

What Wisconsin team are we going to see against Michigan State Tuesday? Are we going to see the team that struggled for the good majority of its two home games two weeks ago or the team that nearly upset the tenth-ranked team on the road? The Badgers still haven't shot 50 percent in a conference game and have to do it sooner or later.

The Spartans have won 10 in a row and are third in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage. They are led by Morgan (63.4 percent) and Green (56.7), but Michigan State's defense is just as good.

Michigan State's defense has been very effective in league play, holding opponents to 59.9 points per game, ranking third in the Big Ten. MSU's conference opponents are shooting .388 from the field, ranking second in the league, including .297 from 3-point range, ranking fourth. Overall, MSU leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense (.395).

Something tells me Wisconsin is going to find its shooting touch. The Badgers usually get the calls and the better of the Spartans in Madison, and Michigan State has been living on the edge for weeks. Sooner or later, they are going to tumble, as who better to finally push them over the edge that Wisconsin? Badgers win a four-point thriller.

Worgull's Record: 16-5

Points off Prediction: 222 (10.6 per game)

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