Sparty Spurns the Badger’s B1G Title Hopes

The hot Spartans proved to be too much for Wisconsin, as Michigan State clinched the season sweep with a 69-55 victory at the Breslin Center. Michigan State improved to 21-6 with a 10-3 record in the Big Ten. While the Badgers fall to 19-7 with a 8-5 Big Ten record. 

The first half was not a memorable one for the Badgers. Wisconsin shot just 31.8% from the field in the first half to Michigan State’s 50%. The Badgers kept it close for most of the 1st half, until Sparty went on a 23-7 run to end the half. Thanks to a few home court calls and great MSU defense, the Spartans jumped to a 31-19 halftime lead.

The Badgers didn’t have a pretty second half, either. At one point the Spartans pulled out to a 19 point lead. Whenever Wisconsin hit a shot, it seemed Sparty had an answer. Wisconsin out-rebounded MSU 33-30. Traditionally, the team who wins the rebounding battle usually won the game. This was obviously not the case today. It did seem like the Spartans were getting to every loose ball. 

Once again, the Badgers were plagued with appalling shooting. The Badgers shot just 18-53 from the field, a mere 34% and from downtown Wisconsin went 5-24, that’s just 20.8%. This game could have been a lot closer if the Badgers could have hit shots.

Leading scorers for the Badgers were Ryan Evans with 17 and Jordan Taylor with 13. Coming into this game, Jordan Taylor averaged 24.0 points a game against the Spartans. I don’t know if it was MSU’s defense, or a bad day, but Taylor failed to show up. He needed to make more big shots and plays if Wisconsin wanted to win. 

A key stat to this game was Michigan State’s ability to get to the line. The Spartans went 19-25 from the line and had 8 and one opportunities. That’s right, 8 baskets with a free throw attempt. I don’t want to sound like I’m on a rant, but at least half of those fouls were not fouls. At least not in Big Ten play. The Big Ten is known as a ground and pound league. Touch fouls should not be called very often. That’s just my opinion, but many people would agree. 

Overall, it was a bad night for the Badgers. Thanks to a hot MSU team and absurd shooting, the Badgers Big Ten Title dreams are practically over. They’ll need to win out and receive a lot of help. The Badgers return to the Kohl Center Sunday to take on Penn State in what could be a case of just what the doctor ordered as the Nittany Lions sit at the bottom of the Big Ten standings.