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Hoops Preview: Spartans go on road to take on the Badgers

Welcome to the hard part of the schedule

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 11 Big Ten Tournament - Michigan State v Wisconsin Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Monday TOCers! Hope you enjoyed your weekend. Anyone do anything fun on Saturday, say around 2:30 PM eastern?

So we are more than a week into January and have played four games from our conference schedule. We currently sit at 3-1, a half game out of first place Purdue. But after 5 straight games at the Breslin, MSU gets on the road for 2 games. This week officially gets us into the hardest part of the conference slate. We play 7 games in the next 20 days, 4 on the road, and two against Purdue. It all starts tomorrow night in Madison, Wisconsin, as we take on the 18th seeded Badgers.

During the past 25 years of MSU being a perennial contender and the marquee program in the Big Ten, Wisconsin has regularly been one of our toughest rivals. This year looks like it will be no different. The Badgers are currently 11-3 overall and are tied with MSU in conference games. Other than Purdue, they are the only B1G team in this week’s Top-25. They did not have nearly as difficult a schedule of non-conference competition, with only one ranked team appearing, a 1-point loss to Kansas. They beat Maryland earlier, who were ranked at the time.

Let’s look at a few stats to see if the Badgers are truly worthy of this ranking, or if we will be cheering “overrated” from the comfort of our living rooms.

  • #12 in B1G in PPG @ 68.5 (MSU is @ 70.4, #10)
  • #4 in B1G in PPG Against @ 62.4 (MSU is @ 64.9, #7)
  • #13 in FG% @ 43.2 (MSU is @ 44.2, #10)
  • Last in both rebounds and blocks

So basically, Wisconsin isn’t really doing anything well other than slowing down the game. They currently sit bottom-50 in the nation in possessions/game. It will be up to MSU to try to speed the game up (something we like doing) to make Wisconsin uncomfortable. And hopefully this is a game that allows Mady and Joey to dominate the glass, and for Mady to get a few more rejections in the box score.

Individually, no dominant scorer exists on the Badger roster. They have 4 players averaging between 10 and 13 points per game. Tyler Wahl leads the way. Other than the 7-footer Steven Crowl, this team does not have anyone over 6’7” in a considerable role. Chucky Hepburn can get hot from downtown; he is currently shooting 50% on his 3-point attempts.

(Edit: Tyler Wahl missed Wisconsin’s last game with an injury and as of Tuesday morning, it is looking unlikely that he will play against Michigan State)

Overall, not a lot that scares me about this team. Of course, we know going on the road in this conference is never easy. But if Izzo gets this team ready and they play to their potential, I think we should come out of Madison with a victory. Let’s see what you think. I put a few poll questions in here for you.

Poll

Will MSU Beat Wisconsin?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Yes
    (125 votes)
  • 16%
    No
    (25 votes)
150 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who Will Be The Leading Scorer For MSU?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    AJ Hoggard
    (14 votes)
  • 32%
    Tyson Walker
    (48 votes)
  • 4%
    Jaden Akins
    (6 votes)
  • 14%
    Malik Hall
    (22 votes)
  • 37%
    Joey Hauser
    (55 votes)
  • 1%
    Mady Sissoko
    (2 votes)
147 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Steven Izzo Score A Point In This Game?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Yes - A FG
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    Yes - A FT
    (9 votes)
  • 90%
    No
    (131 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now