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Big Ten Tournament Preview: No. 7-seed Michigan State faces No. 2-seed Wisconsin

Michigan State v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

The No. 7-seeded Michigan State Spartans avoided a late-game rally by Maryland on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals where the No. 2-seeded Wisconsin Badgers await.

The game between Michigan State and Wisconsin on Friday night is the third matchup between the Big Ten rivals this season. The teams split the regular season games, with the road team winning each time. The Spartans defeated Wisconsin 86-74 in Madison on Jan. 21, but the Badgers returned the favor in East Lansing with a 70-62 victory on Feb. 8.

Wisconsin enters the game with a 24-6 record, and tied with Illinois for the Big Ten regular season crown, thanks to a 15-5 Big Ten finish. Before the surprise loss against Nebraska to close the regular season and split the conference title with the Illini, the Badgers had been on a five-game winning streak that included a 70-67 win over No. 8 Purdue.

Wisconsin’s point leaders include three players averaging double figures: Johnny Davis leads Wisconsin in scoring, rebounding, and assists with 20.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He is also shooting 44.6 percent from the field. Davis won Big Ten Player of the Year, but left the game against Nebraska on Sunday with an apparent ankle sprain. He is expected to play today, but it is unclear how much the injury may impact his play.

Brad Davison — who thankfully is finally playing what will surely be his last game in a Badger uniform against Michigan State, after what feels like at least 10 seasons now of being the most hated player in the Big Ten — averages 14.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Tyler Wahl rounds out the top-three scorers for Wisconsin with 11.6 points per game and adds 5.8 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 0.8 blocks per game.

Wisconsin sits near the bottom of the pile in scoring offense in the Big Ten, averaging just 71 points per game, and rank just 46th in adjusted offense. per Kenpom. However, the Badgers rank No. 4 in the league in defense, holding opponents to just 66.5 points per game. The Badgers’ adjusted defense in the Kenpom ranking is only 36th nationally, though.

Both teams sit close in scoring margin with Wisconsin No. 6 in the Big Ten at plus-4.5 points and Michigan State coming in at No. 7 at plus-3.8 points. Michigan State actually ranks ahead in offense with 72.3 points per game, good for No. 8 in the league. MSU is just behind in defense at No. 6, allowing 68.5 points per game by opponents.

Tomorrow night’s game will be the 152nd all-time meeting between the programs. The Spartans are 6-4 in the Big Ten Tournament against the Badgers with one of those losses coming in overtime in the final for the 2015 tournament.

Go Green!

Michigan State Spartans (21-11, 11-9 Big Ten) versus Wisconsin Badgers (24-6, 15-5 Big Ten)

When: Friday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. CST

Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Indiana

TV: Big Ten Network
Online Broadcast: Fox Sports Live/Fox Sports App
Announcers: Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Robbie Hummel (analyst), Andy Katz (floor)

Radio: TCF Bank Spartan Media Network
Lansing: WMMQ (94.9 FM)/WJIM (1240 AM)
Detroit: WJR (760 AM)
Affiliates: 27 affiliates listed at
Play-by-play: Will Tieman
Analyst: Matt Steigenga

Online Radio:, and TuneIn App.

Sirius/XM/Internet: Channel 84 (Sirius/XM/SiriusXM App)

DraftKings Line: Wisconsin -2, O/U 138

(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)

Go White!