Preview: No.13 Michigan State at Wisconsin

Junior guard Keith Appling

After having its seven game win streak snap at Iowa Saturday, Wisconsin returns to the Kohl Center to take on No.13 Michigan State, whose three game winning streak over the Badgers is its longest in 12 years.

No.13 Michigan State (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten) vs. Wisconsin (13-4, 4-1 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Tuesday, January 22, 6 p.m. Central

Arena –Kohl Center (17,249)

Television - ESPN (Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich and Sam Ponder)

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

Series – Michigan State leads 72-60 (Wisconsin leads 43-23 in Madison)

Last Meeting - Michigan State won, 65-52, in the Big Ten Tournament on March 10, 2012 in Indianapolis

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 10.7 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 11.2 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 5.5 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 7.4 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 12.7 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 5.7 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 9.6 ppg)

32 Zak Showalter (6-2 Freshman Guard, 2.4 ppg)

Michigan State Probable Starters

5 Adreian Payne (6-10 Junior Forward, 9.4 ppg)

11 Keith Appling (6-1 Junior Guard, 13.8 ppg)

14 Gary Harris (6-4 Freshman Guard, 12.6 ppg)

22 Branden Dawson (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 10.1 ppg)

25 Derrick Nix (6-9 Senior Center, 9.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

0 Russell Byrd (6-7 Sophomore Guard, 2.2 ppg)

2 Alex Gauna (6-9 Sophomore Forward, 1.9 ppg)

10 Matt Costello (6-9 Freshman Forward, 1.7 ppg)

20 Travis Trice (6-0 Sophomore Guard, 5.9 ppg)

45 Denzel Valentine (6-5 Freshman Guard, 5.4 ppg)

Last Time Out

IOWA CITY, Iowa (BadgerNation) - Showing none of the intangibles that led them to a win over No.2 Indiana Tuesday in the first half, Wisconsin's late rally proved futile after an ugly first half, allowing Iowa to register a 70-66 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

After winning 13 of 15 games in the series, Wisconsin (13-5, 4-1 Big Ten) has dropped three straight meetings to Iowa, the latest causing the Badgers to fall a half game behind Michigan State in the win column for first place in the Big Ten. The Badgers host the Spartans Tuesday and can ill afford to have the kind of start it did against the Hawkeyes.

Starting 1-for-12 from the field, including 0-for-5 from its three senior forwards, Wisconsin shot 6-for-26 (23.1 percent) from the field in the first half. Held to a season-low 18 points before intermission, Ben Brust and Sam Dekker were the only two players who made two buckets in the first half. It was so ugly that the Badgers had more turnovers (eight) than made field goals.

"We can't afford to dig ourselves into holes like that and get down by 20 points," said senior Jared Berggren. "You can't do that, especially on the road. You're putting yourself in a terrible position to try to win a game. We did pretty much everything wrong in the first half. It's just too much to overcome in the second."

George Marshall scored all of his career-high 20 points in the second half, including 16 points in the final 4:33 and UW's final nine points in the last 30 seconds. Fellow freshman Dekker scored 13, but finished with five turnovers.

Wisconsin finished with zero blocks for the first time since December 2011 and no steals for the first time since before the 1998 season.

"(They) beat us to all the loose balls," said Marshall. "They played a lot tougher. It was just all the little things that they did and executed on offense and our defensive lapses that let them get that big lead in the first half."

Wisconsin made it interesting late in the second half, scoring on seven straight possessions to orchestra a 17-8 run and cut the lead to 60-53. Wisconsin had a chance to cut the lead further in the final 80 seconds, but a Traevon Jackson turnover kept the game at three possessions. Despite Marshall's best efforts, UW never got closer than three with Iowa making 10 of its final 12 free throws.

Last Meeting

INDIANAPOLIS (BadgerNation) - No. 14 Wisconsin struck out in its third crack at No. 8 Michigan State, falling 65-52 in Saturday afternoon's Big Ten Tournament semifinal at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Badgers (24-9) shot 34.7 percent from the field despite making eight of their first 13 shots, opening up a 20-9 lead that lasted about as long as an intentional walk.

"You've got to be opportunistic. When you get (looks), you've got to make them if you expect to compete," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "You don't have to make all of them, but you've got to go a little better than the guy that won the batting crown."

Spartans guard Austin Thornton (12 points), who has started the last 10 games after spending most the year as a sixth man, splashed three consecutive 3-pointers to cut UW's lead to two.

Spanning 12 minutes, mostly the latter part of the first half, Michigan State enjoyed a 28-5 run that did not include a successful Wisconsin field goal.

Senior point guard Jordan Taylor and junior forward Ryan Evans combined for 37 of UW's 52 points, as their teammates shot 4-for-20. Two Wisconsin starters, Mike Bruesewitz and Josh Gasser, were scoreless.

"They just outworked us for that time span when they took the lead," Taylor said. "They're a good defensive team – they do that to a lot of teams. But we didn't do a good job moving without the ball. We just have to correct that for the (NCAA) tournament."

Wisconsin senior reserve Rob Wilson, after trending worldwide on Twitter with his 30 points in the Badgers' quarterfinal defeat of Indiana Friday, was hounded on the perimeter, finishing with six points on five shots.

MSU became just the second team to defeat the Badgers three times in a season in Bo Ryan's 11 years on the UW sideline, following NCAA runner-up Illinois (37-2) in 2004-05.

"It's almost impossible," Izzo said. "He's beaten us more than anybody that we've played. He's had our number, and still does in a lot of ways. Like us, they've had a heck of year. For some reason, we've been able to check pretty good against them."

Big Ten player of the year Draymond Green filled up the Spartans' stat sheet with 14 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and three blocks, amidst seven turnovers. Keith Appling chipped in 13 points and five helpers.

One of the country's premier rebounding squads, MSU was equaled on the boards 29-all by Wisconsin, but the Spartans shot 50 percent from the field, including 6-of-9 threes.

Series Notes:

The two teams have split the last 6 meetings, but MSU swept a 3-game season series a year ago.

UW is 13-9 against the Spartans under Bo Ryan, including an 8-1 mark at the Kohl Center. Last year the Spartans won for the first time in Madison since 2001.

Excluding neutral site games, the home team has won 12 of the last 13 meetings in the Wisconsin- Michigan State series (last year's MSU win in Madison is the lone exception).

At least one team has been ranked in 21 of the last 22 meetings.

Bo Ryan (.712) and MSU head coach Tom Izzo (.688) currently rank 1st and 4th, respectively in career Big Ten win percentage.

Izzo (18 years) and Ryan (12 years) are two of three longest-tenured coaches in the Big Ten - Bill Carmody has been at Northwestern 13 years.

Izzo (201) and Ryan (136) also rank 1-2 in career Big Ten wins among active coaches. Overall, Izzo ranks 6th on the Big Ten's all-time list and Ryan ranks 14th.

Wisconsin Notes

Winners of seven of their last eight and 4-1 in the Big Ten, the Badgers are enjoying their best start to conference play since opening the 2009-10 season with a 5-1 mark.

Wisconsin allowed 70 points at Iowa on Saturday, snapping a streak of holding 11 consecutive opponents to 60 points or less. Overall, UW still leads the Big Ten and ranks 8th in the nation allowing 55.8 points per game. UW led the nation in scoring defense last season (53.2 ppg).

Wisconsin's freshmen duo of Sam Dekker (13) and George Marshall (20) combined to score 33 of Wisconsin's 66 points at Iowa. Last week's Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Dekker has scored in double figures in 2 straight games and ranks 5th among Big Ten freshmen with 9.6 points per game.

Wisconsin has allowed just 70 total 3-pointers this season, an average of 3.9 triples per game. That figure leads the Big Ten and ranks 5th in the NCAA. Last season the Badgers finished 2nd in the NCAA allowing just 3.58 triples per game.

Michigan State Notes:

One area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 14.3 per game, including four games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 11.5 per conference game, including 11.0 in the last five games.

Michigan State is 5-1 in games decided by five points or less, including 2-0 in conference games. In the last three minutes of conference games, MSU is shooting .542 (13-24) from the field, and a remarkable .889 (24-27) from the foul line, averaging just 0.8 turnovers per game.

Dawson has recorded a team-best 35 steals (1.8 spg), ranking fifth in the Big Ten, and 21 blocks (1.1 bpg), ranking second on the team and 13th in the Big Ten. He is the only player 6-foot-6 or taller to rank in the Top 15 in steals, and the only one 6-foot-6 or shorter in the Top 14 in blocks.

Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 230-155, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +3.9 points per game (12.1-8.2).

Prediction

Just like all the previous meetings between Wisconsin and Michigan State, this game will be won or lost by who controls the paint. Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +11.3 points (35.7-24.4), out-scoring 16 of its 19 opponents, and are averaging 11.6 offensive boards per game.

Wisconsin ranks third in the Big Ten averaging 12.8 offensive rebounds per game (an improvement of 3.1 boards per game from last season) and has recorded double-digit offensive boards in all but four games. By comparison, UW's opponents are averaging just 8.5 offensive rebounds per game, which leads the Big Ten and is tied for 12th in the nation.

Wisconsin has also been solid on the defensive glass, rebounding 74.0 percent of its opponent misses, which is third in the Big Ten and 6th nationally. Wisconsin didn't win the rebounding battle in any of the three games against the Spartans last season, so attacking the boards will be a big emphasis and a collective effort.

Being able to recruit nationally, it's not a surprise to see Izzo has playmakers among his starters. Payne is averaging 14.5 points on 78.6 percent shooting the last four games, Dawson is averaging 11.4 points in his last five games, Appling has led the team in scoring 10 times and Harris heads the conference freshman in scoring, as well as 3-point field goals made and attempted.

But few in that group have produced in the Kohl Center where Wisconsin is 86-9 (.905) in Big Ten play. Other than Appling, who is averaging 12 points in five career meetings against the Spartans, none of the other five players that have registered stats average over 6.1 points per game against the Badgers.

Ryan's teams are 27-10 (.730) at home versus teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and were tenths of seconds away from going into double overtime against the Spartans at home last season. Although UW will have a lack of depth in the post tonight, I still think UW can pull out a four-point win.

Worgull's Record: 12-6

Points off Prediction: 209 (11.61 per game)

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