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Your Wisconsin v. Michigan State Basketball Preview

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Your MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs. the WISCONSIN BADGERS
THE JACK BRESLIN STUDENT EVENTS CENTER, EAST LANSING, MI
6:30 PM (ET), WEDNESDAY
TV: BIG TEN NETWORK

Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin Badgers are Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. Slow?  Sure.  Give them enough time though, and your team will find itself on the receiving end of a bolt pistol.  Wisconsin was thought to be one of the middle-of-the-pack teams in the Big Ten this year, but then the Duke win happened, and the Badgers found themselves with Purdue and MSU as contenders for the Big Ten title.  Statistical Analysis and predictions after the jump.

Here's the four factors graph for each team to this point:

While Wisconsin has the better Pomeroy ratings (#4 to MSU's #19, #12 to MSU's #60 on defense - offense is dead equal with a rating of 116.8 for each team), the four factors graph shows that these teams are closer than you think.  The only significant differences are in turnover percentage, which Wisconsin predictably leads, and offensive rebounding percentage, where MSU also predictably leads.

The key to this game will be how well Michigan State can offensively rebound.  Michigan State is eighth in the nation in this statistic, rebounding 42.1% of its misses.  Wisconsin is even better at defensive rebounding however, they only allow opponents to collect 23.8% of its misses; that rate is first in the nation.  If Draymond Green, Delvon Roe and Raymar Morgan can out maneuver the Badger forwards for State's missed shots, one of the cornerstones of the Badger defense will be compromised.

The Badgers have quickly risen to prominence this season thanks to the much improved play of Jon Leuer.  The 6'10" forward averages about 27 minutes a game but is extremely efficient.  He scores 15.8 points per game and has a Pomeroy offense rating of 128.5, ranking 31st in the nation. To boot, his offensive and defensive rebounding percentages both rank in the nation's top 100, and his turnover percentage is one of the nation's 50 best.  If you wanted to name him Big Ten MVP to this point, I wouldn't complain.

The other important Badgers include Trevon Hughes, who's leading Wisconsin in scoring with 16.5 PPG.  Sophomore guard Jordan Taylor leads the team in assists with 3.35 per game. Jason Bohannon, seemingly in his 15th season in a Badger uniform, has the highest three point percentage with 42.6%.

Besides offensive rebounds, the other key for State will be the same one it's been since the beginning of time - limit turnovers.  They're not facing a team that forces turnovers in Wisconsin (19.2% opponents' TO%, that's 250th in the nation), so the onus will be on the Spartans to hit their alley-oops and keep the travels to a minimum.

As for prediction, Pomeroy has the Badgers winning 67-66 in a 63 possession game.  I don't see it that way, and one intangible that could swing a Spartan win is the Izzone alumni.  About 850 Izzone alumni have tickets to this game, including LVS, and if they're as loud as they say they were back then, they'll be able to hear the Bres at Oades' Big Ten (note to non-MSU readers - yes, that's far away from the Breslin Center).  The data indicates a Wisconsin win, but there's no way I'd be able to live with myself if I predicted a Badger victory.

YOUR MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS 69, WISCONSIN 62