Coming off a 75-64 win over #3 Marquette on Saturday, Wisconsin basketball has a quick turnaround with two brutal games this week. Up first is their Big Ten conference opener against Michigan State in East Lansing. The Spartans have not played since last Tuesday. They come in with a 4-3 record, but their losses have come to Arizona, Duke, and James Madison, all excellent teams. Can the Badgers extend their winning streak to five games? Tip time is 6 PM on Peacock. Here is a preview of tomorrow’s game.
Can Wisconsin Basketball Neutralize Tyson Walker?
If you want to beat the Spartans, you have to contain Tyson Walker. Walker is one of the best guards in the Big Ten and accounts for a ton of what Michigan State wants to do. Walker is averaging 20.5 points a game, more than twice as the next Spartans player, in 32 minutes of action.
I would expect Wisconsin basketball to have Chucky Hepburn, Max Klesmit, John Blackwell, and Kamari McGee all to take their reps on Walker. I think this gives the Badgers an advantage to have the luxury of having multiple players you can trust to defend a very good point guard.
This Game Come Down to Role Players and Bench Play
Tom Izzo always seems to have productive bench play, whether it’s scoring or doing the other little things. It’s especially different when at the Breslin Center. It’s a place the Spartans hardly lose, although Wisconsin basketball won in their last trip to East Lansing.
I like where this Wisconsin basketball bench and role players are at right now. They are playing a nice complimentary style of basketball. It’s taken more time than what we thought it would, but this style is what the Badgers need to play with the rest of the season.
This bench also knows their role. Nolan Winter and Carter Gilmore are in to rebound the ball. Connor Essegian is in to make threes. John Blackwell is in move all over the court. Kamari McGee is in to defend. They have accepted their roles and it’s rubbed off on the the starters and the rest of this team. They will be put to the test tomorrow.
ESPN only gives the Badgers a 40% chance to win tomorrow. I think that’s being a little harsh. Expect this game to be a dog fight for 40 minutes. Michigan State is a team that’s not out-worked or out-hustled. This is a better version of Virginia.
Both teams are going to have to shoot the ball well. The Spartans only shoot 27% from three as a team. Wisconsin basketball is not much better at just over 30%.
Someone from Michigan State will have to make shots other than Tyson Walker. If I’m the Badgers, I make Walker beat me and keep the role players in check. If they are able to make shots, then you live with it.
I love the confidence the Badgers are playing with right now. As they should. They jsut took down one of the best teams in the country and are starting to figure it out on the defensive side. Don’t expect a track meet like Marquette wanted to run.
Can the Badgers avoid a hangover? I think they can. It should be a lower scoring game, but I like the Wisconsin basketball and their consistency as a team. Who knows who will lead this team in scoring, but it;s a nice problem to have. Give me the Badgers to pull away in the final five minutes and get a massive road win tomorrow.
Wisconsin 68 Michigan State 63
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