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Men’s Basketball: Wisconsin Preview and Game Thread

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NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info:

Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI

When: 7:00 PM ET, January 17, 2020

TV/Radio: FS1/Spartan Sports Network radio

Wisconsin 11-6 (4-2): #21 (Kenpom)

Depth Chart:

1 - D’Mitrik Trice (6’0” jr), Trevor Anderson (6’2” jr)
2 - Kobe King (6’4” so), Brevin Pritzl (6’3” sr)
3 - Brad Davison (6’4” jr)
4 - Aleem Ford (6’8” jr), Tyler Wahl (6’7” fr)
5 - Nate Reuvers (6’11” jr), Micah Potter (6’10” jr)

Scout:

Wisconsin started the year undermanned due to the NCAA’s madness (not letting Potter be eligible to start the year - I still can’t figure that one out), had some rough losses, and suffered through a brutal offensive stretch (linked in part to Trice’s major scoring/shooting slump). But things have turned around of late - Wisconsin has won 6 of their last 7 despite Trice being pretty awful in that stretch too. What has changed? Micah Potter.

Potter has played 7 games now, and has been the perfect addition this team needed. He has scored the ball wonderfully (shooting 50-40-90 on the season right now!!!), stretched defenses, locked up the paint, and generally been superb. With Potter in the fold, Wisconsin now has a terrific 2-man center rotation, improved floor-balance, and more cushion on defense in terms of fouls and fresh-bodies.

They take a ton of 3’s, and everyone in their rotation other than King, Wahl, and Anderson should be expected to hit them if they are open. Despite his shooting struggles, King has been really good for Wisconsin this year. Finally healthy, he gives them a strong slasher and a good transition finisher.

Pair the bigs and King with a terrific set of role players including Darth Davison, Ford, Wahl, and Pritzl (their classic bench 3pt shooter), and you have a complete team. They still play slow, but they have the shooting and personnel to make it work.

Game-plan:

This will be a tough, old-school B1G game. MSU will have to execute on both ends, not leave open shooters, and make open shots. Where MSU has had difficulty matching-up with Purdue and some other opponents, I think the Spartans match-up well against Wisconsin.

The big advantage that MSU has is Cassius Winston. Cash should have a great game against Wisconsin, likely taking sole possession of MSU’s career assists mark. Cash is always comfortable against Wisconsin, which is generally a recipe for a loss against MSU, and I expect this game to be no different. I also think that the rest of MSU’s wings should be liking what they are seeing from an offensive perspective: Aaron Henry, Gabe Brown, and Rocket Watts should win their match-ups (with Davison being the toughest cover), and I particularly think that Henry and Watts may be set up for success against Wisconsin. Winston and Tillman will be Wisconsin’s main foci on defense and Watts and Henry should both have physical/quickness advantages against King, Pritzl, and Anderson.

Finding easy buckets will be essential, but Wisconsin is generally solid on the defensive glass and tries to deny transition rather than attacking the offensive glass. That being said, there are always going to be chances in transition and for second-chance points - MSU needs to finish those chances; after a week of Izzo yelling, I believe we will.

Prediction:

MSU 70 Wisc 64

PPTPW

GO GREEN!!!