After their first B1G tournament win in four years, #14 Wisconsin (24-8, 4th seed Big Ten) is looking to advance to their 3rd B1G championship game with a win over one of the best teams in the nation, #8 Michigan State (25-7, 1st seed Big Ten). The game will be televised on CBS with tip off right around 12:40 PM CT.
Michigan State has got the best of Wisconsin recently, sweeping the regular season series. The Spartans topped the Badgers 63-60 at the Kohl Center and 69-55 in East Lansing. Michigan State are coming off of a huge 92-72 win over Iowa in the second round. Previously Sparty had lost two straight coming in to the tourney. “I forgot that we had two losses in a row. Itâ€™s a brand new season,” Big Ten POY Draymond Green said. “I just completely forgot about it, knowing that we were 0-0. Weâ€™re 1-0 now and one step closer.”
The Badgers are coming off their impressive 79-71 2nd round win over Indiana. With 79 points the Badgers scored their second highest total of the season, thanks to Senior Guard Rob Wilson. Wilson came off the bench to hit a school record 7 three pointers and recorded 30 points, bashing his previous career high 13 points.
The key for the Badgers will be stopping Big Ten Player of the Year, Draymond Green. In the two matchups with Wisconsin this season Green is averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds a game. Green is a tough matchup because he is tall, big and quick. He is a spot up shooter and has the ability to take you to the hoop off the dribble.
The only effective way weâ€™ve seen Wisconsin cover Draymond is by having Ryan Evans shadow him. But when Bo does that, it leaves holes in the defense, and Michigan State is certainly no one man show. When playing Michigan State you basically have to count on Draymond scoring 20 and grabbing 10 boards. He is that good.
Wisconsin star Jordan Taylor hasnâ€™t been too bad against the Spartans either. Taylor is averaging 21.8 points a game in 5 career starts against the Spartans. The last meeting MSU guard Keith Appling held Taylor to just 13 points. “Jordan Taylor is a great player,” said Appling. “After the first Wisconsin game, I went back into the laboratory and studied him. I learned a lot about his game.”
Fatigue may be a problem for the not so deep Wisconsin team. The Badgers are coming off a close intense game with Indiana. On the other hand, Michigan State was able to rest most of their starters in route to blowing out Iowa.
For Wisconsin to win, they must protect the middle. The Spartans had 8 and one oppurtunitys and hit their free throws, going 19-25 from the line. If the Badgers can come out shooting hot and get more big help off the bench, I feel theyâ€™ll have a good shot to win this. The depth and size of Michigan State is likely to be too much for Wisconsin, and if they shoot bad, itâ€™s all over.
Prediction: Michigan State 65, Wisconsin 61.