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Two of the Big Ten’s best will face each other in Madison, Wisconsin. Michigan State and Wisconsin are similarly good. They score almost the same amount of points and give up about the same amount of points. However, the only difference is Wisconsin has had a more challenging schedule.
Michigan State has the potential to be great. They are a big team that shoots well, passes well, and protects the rim, and they have also shown that they can go on a winning streak. Before their loss last game against Northwestern, they had won nine games in a row. Michigan State also does not have one prolific scorer; they have four players who can score pretty well, so if one is not playing, they can depend on others,
Wisconsin has become a contender for a National Championship this season. This is in large part to guard Johnny Davis, but we cannot forget about the rest of the team. Guard Brad Davison scores 15.1 points a game, and forward Tyler Wahl protects the rim on defense. If Wisconsin stays healthy, they could be the team to beat in March Madness.
|Tom Izzo||Head Coach||Nate Oats|
|14-3 (5-1, 3rd in Big Ten)||Standing||15-2 (6-1, 1st in Big Ten)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Gabe Brown (14.2)||PPG||Johnny Davis (22.1)|
|Marcus Bingham Jr. (7.1)||RPG||Johnny Davis (7.5)|
|Johnny Davis (2.5)||APG||Johnny Davis (2.5)|
|Tyson Walker (5.2)||SPG||Johnny Davis (1.5)|
|Tyson Walker (1.3)||BPG||Tyler Wahl (1.1)|
|Julius Marble II (.615)||FG%||Tyler Wahl (.511)|
|Tyson Walker (.571)||3P%||Lorne Bowman II (.500)|
Michigan State has a well-balanced roster with a handful of guys who can score. However, they will need to involve all of their players on the floor to outscore Wisconsin. On defense, they need to depend upon the big men to protect the rim and force Wisconsin to only take outside shots.
Some may look at Michigan State’s offense and think they need one player who can score at will. While that would help, they are in a solid position with their four players (Gabe Brown, Max Christie, Malik Hall, and Marcus Bingham Jr.) that score pretty well. They need to all be looking for their shot this game. They are playing a Wisconsin team that knows how to score and may need to match their scoring point for point.
Defensively, the big men need to step up this game. They need to make Wisconsin uncomfortable near the rim and force them to look outside for their shots. Wisconsin shoots well outside, but they shoot better inside. If Wisconsin is forced to take many more shots outside, they will be less efficient.
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Wisconsin is the favorite to win this game. They have the better team, but this will still be a difficult matchup. They are the smaller team of these two, so they have to make a lot of three-pointers on offense and protect the rim on defense.
Wisconsin is not a small team, but Michigan State is bigger. Since there is a size disadvantage, the Badgers will need to look to the outside shot more than usual this game. If they can hit their open three-point attempts, they will win. If they cannot hit them, they might fall behind.
Michigan State has tall guards and forwards. Since they are pretty tall, they will probably look to attack the rim a lot. Wisconsin has to make their life difficult by the hoop and contest their layups. If they make it hard for the Spartans to score at the rim, the Spartans will get tired and look for more outside shots.
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Marcus Bingham Jr. is not a flashy player. He is a 7’0” senior forward that plays his position well. He averages 9.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks in only 20.9 minutes per game.
Bingham Jr. is the Spartans key player because of his impact on both sides of the floor. He protects the rim on defense, can score a little on offense, and will grab rebounds along the way.
The Wisconsin offense will have to really attack the rim when Bingham Jr. is off the floor because when he is on the floor, they will have a tough time getting past him.
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Guard Johnny Davis is an exceptional talent. He is only a sophomore but one of the best players in the nation.
Davis averages 22.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 35 minutes per game. Not only is he a great rebounding guard, but he is a great shooter. He shoots 44.1% from the field, 35.7% behind the three-point line, and 79.6% from the free-throw line.
With all that being said, Davis is not much of a passer. The Michigan State defense has to force him to pass the ball. They may create some extra turnover if they make him pass.
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|No. 14 Michigan State vs No. 8 Wisconsin Information|
|What||No. 14 Michigan State vs No. 8 Wisconsin|
|Where||Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin|
|When||Friday, January 21, 9:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||FS1|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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