Michigan State Spartans (21-11) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (24-6)
March 11, 2022 6:30 pm EDT
The Line: Wisconsin Badgers -1.5 / Michigan State Spartans +1.5; Over/Under: 138.5
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The Michigan State Spartans & 12th ranked Wisconsin Badgers will square off at Gainbridge Fieldhouse this Friday night in the Quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The 7-seed Michigan State Spartans improved to 21-11 on the season after defeating the 10-seed Maryland Terrapins, 76-72, last night. Michigan State allowed Maryland to make it a game late after holding a 68-56 lead with just 3:12 left in regulation, however, the Spartans were able to hold on for the victory after taking a pair of FT’s by Max Christie made it a two-possession game with just :07 seconds left in regulation. Michigan State shot 50.0% from the field & 47.4% from beyond the arc while allowing Maryland to shoot 39.1% from the field & 31.0% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Spartans was Max Christie who had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, & 1 steal.
Coming into their game against Maryland, Michigan State was averaging 72.1 ppg on 45.6% shooting from the field. The Spartans were averaging 7.3 three-pointers per game on 38.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Michigan State has been led by Gabe Brown (11.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apg), Malik Hall (9.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 apg), Max Christie (9.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.5 apg), & Tyson Walker (8.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.1 spg).
Defensively, prior to their game against Maryland, Michigan State was allowing their opponents to average 68.3 ppg on 41.7% shooting from the field. The Spartans had a rebound margin of 4.6 and a turnover margin of -2.7.
The 12th ranked Wisconsin Badgers finished their regular season with an overall record of 24-6 and earned the 2-seed in the Big Ten Tournament after finishing conference play with a 15-5 record. Wisconsin finished their non-conference portion of their schedule with a 9-1 record with their best wins coming against Houston, Saint Mary’s & Marquette. Wisconsin was solid throughout Big Ten play as the Badgers picked up signature wins against Purdue (twice), Ohio State, & Iowa, however, the Badgers did suffer a shocking home loss to Nebraska in their regular season finale.
On the season, Wisconsin is averaging 71.0 ppg on 42.7% shooting from the field. The Badgers are averaging 6.6 three-pointers per game on 31.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Wisconsin has been led by Johnny Davis (20.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg), Brad Davison (14.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.9 apg), Tyler Wahl (11.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.1 spg), Steven Crowl (9.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.5 apg), & Chucky Hepburn (8.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg). Johnny Davis was injured in their regular season finale against Nebraska, but early indications is that he will be available for this matchup.
Defensively, Wisconsin is holding their opponents to an average of 66.5 ppg on 43.8% shooting from the field. The Badgers have a rebound margin of 0.4 and a turnover margin of 2.9.
The Spartans are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games, however, are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win. The Badgers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 Friday games & 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
Michigan State & Wisconsin split their regular season series as the Spartans defeated the Badgers by an 86-74 margin on the road in late January while Wisconsin defeated Michigan State by a 70-62 margin on the road in early February.
Wisconsin has been led by their defense this season, which ranks t-98th in scoring defense & 36th in turnover margin, however, the Badgers have struggled on the offensive end at times and comes into this matchup ranked 174th in scoring offense, 255th in FG%, & 291st in 3P-FG%. Michigan State has been decent on both ends of the court this season, ranking 152nd in scoring offense, 95th in FG%, & 151st in scoring defense. Michigan State struggled a bit down the stretch, however, the Spartans have plenty of talent to matchup up with the Badgers and between the fact that the Spartans offense had plenty of success against Wisconsin during the regular season matchups and that Tom Izzo generally has the Spartans playing some of their best basketball in the post-season, I think the play here is to take Michigan State and the points. Good Luck!