Michigan State Spartans vs. Wisconsin Badgers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Michigan State Spartans (19-3 SU, 8-13 ATS) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (16-5 SU, 11-8 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, February 2, 2010, Kohl Center, Madison, Wisc. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Michigan State +2/Wisconsin -2
Over/Under: 123

Michigan State is undefeated at 9-0 in Big Ten play. The Wisconsin Badgers are undefeated at 12-0 at home this season. Something has to give on Tuesday night when the Spartans visit the Badgers.

MSU is dominating the Big Ten this season but this could be the game they go down for the first time in. The Badgers are terrific at home and there will of course be a raucous environment at the Kohl Center.

Michigan State has barely survived in its last two road games, winning by a point at Minnesota and at Michigan. In their only game since those two consecutive one-point road wins, the Spartans won at home on Saturday over Northwestern, 79-70. Durrell Summers stepped up big time with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Kalin Lucas also played great with 23 points, four assists and no turnovers. The two of them combined to shoot 15-for-24 from the field. Delvon Roe shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field for 13 points. The Spartans shot 52 percent from the field, but only 3-for-15 on 3-pointers. They out-rebounded Northwestern by 11 and only committed nine turnovers. They did allow Northwestern to shoot 11-of-27 from 3-point range.

Wisconsin had been one of the more surprisingly good teams this season. The Badgers have been ranked in the Top 25 for most of the season and are currently 6-3 in the Big Ten, tied with three other teams for second place behind Michigan State. Even after losing Jon Leuer, one of their best players, to an injury, the Badgers have still been pretty solid lately, winning four of their last six games.

In their last game, Wisconsin nearly pulled off its second win of the season over Purdue but ultimately lost by three points, 60-57, on the road. With Leuer out, Keaton Nankivil stepped up with perhaps the best game of his career, scoring 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and 7-for-8 from 3-point range. Jordan Taylor had 13 points and five assists. The Badgers shot 40 percent from the field and 9-for-23 on 3-pointers and were out-rebounded by 14, but still somehow managed to only lose by three points. Despite Purdue shooting 49 percent from the field, the Badgers only allowed Purdue to attempt five 3-pointers in the whole game (they made two of them).

When these teams met in East Lansing on January 6, the Spartans prevailed with a 54-47 victory. Wisconsin competed well in that game but Leuer carried the team with 21 points. Without him, other players will have to step up offensively. Jason Bohannon was the next leading scorer for the Badgers with 10 points. They shot 33 percent from the field and 5-for-23 on 3-pointers. They also did a great job preventing 3-point attempts in that game, as the Spartans were just 2-for-4. The Spartans held a 38-23 rebounding advantage and Chris Allen led them with 16 points. Lucas had an off-night with 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting.

Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the country at protecting the ball, as the Badgers are turning the ball over 9.4 times per game for the season and 8.2 times per game in conference play. Their rebounding has been weak, as they have a -2 margin in conference play. Their 3-point shooting has also been a bit weak in conference play at 31 percent. The Spartans are out-rebounding opponents by more than eight boards per game in conference play and are holding opponents to 30 percent on 3-pointers for the season and in Big Ten play. Like Wisconsin, the Spartans are also shooting around 31 percent on 3-pointers in conference play.

Michigan State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games. Wisconsin is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 home games. The home team is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings between these teams and the favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five. Michigan State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games against Wisconsin. The total has gone under in six of the last eight meetings between these teams.

Ryno’s Pick: The Spartans came very close to losing a Big Ten came in their last two road games, but they emerged with one-point wins in both. This game will be tougher than Minnesota and Michigan. The Badgers could use this win to remain in second place in the Big Ten, but the game isn’t really a necessity for either team. Wisconsin has won every home game this season by at least six points. The Badgers aren’t the same team without Leuer, but they should be pumped up enough to play well and get this victory. Take Wisconsin -2.