The Big Ten Basketball season continues tonight as the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans travel to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Wisconsin favored by 6 points.
Wisconsin would no doubt be ranked had they been able to hang on and beat Iowa on Sunday. Yet, the Badgers were torched by the Hawkeyes just a few days after going into Bloomington and knocking off No. 2 Indiana. But, if we look at Michigan State, who just beat Ohio State at home on Saturday, we notice they're a pretty good underdog in this game tonight. Six points isn't a whole lot, but it certainly looks like it when the dog is ranked 13th in the nation.
A win tonight by Tom Izzo's club would be their fourth straight over Wisconsin. But in order to win they'll have to stop the Badgers from winning their eighth streak game at home. Coach Bo Ryan's team has outscored opponents by an average of 24.4 points during its run at home. Last year in Madison the Spartans won for the first time in eight attempts, picking up a 63-60 win.
Keith Appling has been playing well lately and needs to step up and lead this team on the road. I've been critical of Appling's play but he has responded well. He scored six points in the last minute over Ohio State to help lead the Spartans to a win at home over Ohio State.
There's going to be some solid play inside tonight as Sparty runs out Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne inside. Wisconsin will counter with Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans. Evans is probably going to be a matchup problem for the Spartans because I don't see anyway that either Nix or Payne can guard him around the perimeter. Obviously Izzo and his staff have discussed this and will have a plan, but Evans to me is the big factor in tonight's game.
Wisconsin has won 12 of the last 15 home matchups against Top 25 opponents. The Badgers average 70.3 points per game, which is actually higher than Michigan State's 70.2 points per game. The Badgers don't come off as a team that can fill up the state sheet, but look for them to have a good shooting night tonight.
Free Pick: Wisconsin 70, Michigan State 62
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