Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Prediction, Game Preview

    Michigan State vs. Wisconsin prediction and game preview. The Spartans are looking to win their fourth game in their last five tries, while the Badgers are looking to avoid being upset again.

    April 11, 2017

    Michigan State vs. Wisconsin prediction and game preview. The Spartans are looking to win their fourth game in the last five tries, while the Badgers are looking to avoid being upset again.


    Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Game Preview

    When: Sunday, Feb. 26 – 4:00 p.m. ET
    Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI
    TV Broadcast: CBS

    Tom Izzo and the Spartans (17-11, 9-6 Big Ten) are coming off of an 88-72 home victory over Nebraska on Thursday and will now prepare to play at the Breslin Center for the final time this season. The win over the Cornhuskers guaranteed that Izzo will extend his run of avoiding a losing record in Big Ten play for the 22nd time in his 22-season career.

    Meanwhile, Greg Gard’s No. 16 Badgers (22-6, 11-4) were once 21-3 after an eight-game win streak but have lost three of the last four, with the latest setback being an 83-73 upset at the hands of unranked Ohio State on Thursday. The Buckeyes outrebounded Wisconsin by 13 and outscored them in the paint by four. That’s simply not successful Wisconsin-type basketball.

    When these teams met in East Lansing last February, Denzel Valentine had 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in a 69-57 Spartans victory. Nigel Hayes was held to a season-low five points, 12 below his team-high scoring average, on 1-of-13 shooting for the Badgers.

    Michigan State Wins If …

    … The Spartans’ freshmen play well once again with senior guard Eron Harris out for the season. The Spartans passed their first test without their third-leading scorer against the Cornhuskers, but this will be a much more difficult challenge. Forward Miles Bridges and center Nick Ward each scored 20 points, while shooting guard Joshua Langford added a career-high 17 and point guard Cassius Winston dished out eight assists against the Huskers. Fair or not, similar production will now be expected.

    Ward and Bridges looked more aggressive against Nebraska, and perhaps that had to do with them each knowing that more was going to have to be on their plate. The challenge will be to be that consistently good moving forward with Harris and fellow seniors Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling sidelined.

    Wisconsin Wins If …

    … Guard Bronson Koenig has a similar offensive effort as he did against Ohio State. The senior scored 27 points against the Buckeyes, but sophomore center Ethan Happ was held to just four and senior forward Hayes was limited to just seven. That duo averages over 27 points per game, so they’ll need to be much more effective scorers on the road in East Lansing.

    The Badgers also need to defend better than they did against the Buckeyes, as Thad Matta’s squad shot 50 percent from the field, including a 10-of-16 mark from beyond the arc. Getting stops early could frustrate the MSU freshmen, so the Badgers need to be much more aggressive and tenacious at the other end of the court. The inability to stop OSU, particularly in the first half, put the Badgers in a big hole.

    Matchup To Watch

    Ward and Kenny Goins vs. Happ and Vitto Brown

    Even if Ward and Goins don’t contribute a ton on offense, they need to stay out of foul trouble because of the team’s depth issues. Happ and Brown have the experience edge, so expect the Badgers to try to take advantage of the mismatch inside. The Badgers are at their best when they are getting consistent interior scoring. Coming into the contest against the Buckeyes, they had outscored opponents in the paint by an average of 10.5 points per game. They need to get back to that level against MSU.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: No spread as of post
    Over/Under: No line as of post

    Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Prediction

    This is a very young Spartans team, but the Breslin Center crowd should help with any nerves. Ultimately, though, Happ and Hayes are the difference, as the pair bounce back and get the Badgers back in the Win column.

    Michigan State vs. Wisconsin final score prediction: Wisconsin 67, Michigan State 62

    MORE: Louisville vs. Syracuse Prediction, Game Preview

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