The #14 Wisconisn Badgers travel to East Lansing tomorrow night for a clash with #17 Michigan State. The Spartans defeated the Badgers just a few weeks ago in Madison 86-74. Wisconsin is coming of a 51-49 win against Penn State Saturday. Here are what the Badgers need to do to avenge an earlier loss at the hands of Michigan State tomorrow.
Davis and Davison Need To Respond
The Badger duo of Johnny Davis and Brad Davison have not been good these last two games. While Davis did have 22 points last Wednesday against Illinois, he was not great from the field and got a lot of of points at the free throw line. Wisconsin will go far as Brad Davison and Johnny Davis take them.
Is the NBA hype, Big Ten and national player of the year talk maybe getting to Johnny Davis. It could. He could also be tired too. He does average 35 minutes a game. That takes a toll on any good player at this time of the year. It could also be a shooting slump that all players will go through. The sooner he gets out of this slump, I think it will benefit both him and Davison. Because of this, the Badgers need their two best players tomorrow night.
This Will Come Down To Role Players
A big reason why the Spartans went into Madison and beat the Badgers was because of bench play. Michigan State’s bench scored 43 points, led by junior Malik Hall’s 14 off the bench. Wisconsin was without Tyler Wahl, arguably their third best player, and it showed. Sophomore Ben Carlson got the start and recorded only six points.
Michigan State has a deep bench and have ten players that could start at most Division 1 schools. There isn’t a drop off regardless who is in. The Badgers bench doesn’t score a lot and doesn’t log a ton if minutes either. If they go nine or ten deep, the need points and production from their bench.
Rebound, Rebound, Rebound
Besides Michigan State’s 43 bench points, the stat that stuck out to me was Wisconsin lost the rebound battle 39-20. Yes, you are reading that right. The Spartans took the Badgers to the woodshed on the glass. As a result, the Badgers had no answer. It doesn’t help the Badgers only shot 42% from the field while Michigan State shot almost 53%.
The Badgers have the bodies to get on the glass in this game. Ben Carlson is playing a lot better and been really good on the glass. The points haven’t been there, but he has shown he can go against big mane in this conference and get you four or five rebounds a night. Chris Vogt can also do this off the bench. However, foul trouble usually plagues him and starter Steven Crowl, resulting in the Badgers having to sit their two tallest players.
The Badgers went into Mackey Arena, one of the best atmospheres in college basketball, and took down arguably the best team in the country. The Breslin Center will be just as electric. While Michigan State isn’t as good as Purdue, they can’t afford to get off to a slow start. They can’t afford to shoot poorly from the field either, something they haven’t done well all year in. However, credit the Badgers as they won’t be phased in this road environment.
Having Tyler Wahl for this matchup should make the Badgers more competitive as well. However, Michigan State is just a bad matchup for Wisconsin. The guard combo of Max Christie and Tyson Walker are on of the best in the Big Ten. At forward, Marcus Bingham Jr, Gabe Brown, and Joey Hauser are all veterans and win their 50/50 matchups more often than not. Michigan State was coming off a loss before the first matchup with Wisconsin. They came in and punched the Badgers in the mouth and kept the foot on the gas. The Spartans now are coming off a 21 point loss to Rutgers. They’ll be angry and ready to go.
I don’t the shooting being much better tomorrow night. As we approach this time of year, Tom Izzo always seems to have his teams playing their best ball of the year.
Michigan State 74 Wisconsin 66
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