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Game Thread: Michigan State Spartans vs. Wisconsin Badgers

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Michigan State vs Wisconsin Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans got back into the win column this past Saturday— after what felt like eternity but was really only three games in realty — with a 24-point beatdown over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Now the No. 11 Spartans travel to Madison to take on the No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers team.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Here is your game thread platform. As usual, use this space to chat with your peers about the game.

Wisconsin is a very good team that slows down games and grinds out wins by playing tough defense and controlling the tempo and shooting well from deep on offense. The Kohl Center is also a very tough place to play — quite possibly the toughest venue for Big Ten road teams to play in. Tom Izzo is just 8-13 all-time in Madison.

Senior forward Kenny Goins’ availability is a “question mark,” per Izzo. Goins suffered an elbow injury early on against Minnesota and played just six minutes. While Izzo expects Goins to play tonight, he isn’t sure the capacity in which we’ll see Goins on the floor. Already down Joshua Langford for the season, the Spartans really can’t afford to have another starter miss extended time.

The chips seem stacked against MSU in this one — on the road in a tough environment, playing a very good defensive team/very good three-point shooting team, and with a limited (at best) Goins. Also, MSU has lost three of its last four games, so despite a win last time out, it’s hard to gauge where exactly this team currently stands. Wisconsin is even favored to win this game (line is at -1 as of press time).

But still, these are usually the situations that Izzo-coached teams play their best basketball. When their backs are against a wall and everyone is counting them out. It will be interesting to see how this one shakes out. No matter the final result, I am expecting a close game throughout.

For more on tonight’s matchup check out Matt Hoeppner’s crossover piece with Buckysfifthquarter and listen to today’s (Feb. 12) episode of The Only Podcast. Be sure to recap the 40th anniversary celebration of Michigan State’s 1979 national championship team as well.