Prediction: Reporters split over MSU-Wisconsin matchup
INDIANAPOLIS — State News basketball reporters Matt Sheehan and Zach Smith offer up their predictions for today’s MSU-Wisconsin game.
Buckle up kiddies, this will be a wild ride.
MSU is fresh off an easy win over Northwestern, but Wisconsin just waxed a better Minnesota team, too.
Both teams certainly have their feet under them, but I see Wisconsin barely sliding by the Spartans.
Yes, MSU looked like a well-oiled green machine last night, but let’s not neglect they were playing a Northwestern team missing its second-best player.
Also, as the magnificent Zach Smith pointed out, MSU is just 1-5 against the Big Ten’s top five teams. If they win today they will prove they can top the best, but until then I’ll go off the numbers.
The x-factor of this game will be Badger guard Ben Brust. If he isn’t hitting his long shots, MSU’s odds are better.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, Brust is fresh off a career-high 29 points, so you know he will be feeling confident today.
Adreian Payne will also have to make his presence felt today, and yesterday didn’t give any optimism of that happening.
Tom Izzo didn’t seem too concerned about his outing, and said he is confident Payne will be back to normal today.
It’s going to be a nail-biter, but I see Wisconsin fans with the longer nails by the end of the game.
Wisconsin: 68 MSU: 65
There’s always bloodshed when MSU and Wisconsin face off.
Expect more of the same when the Spartans and Badgers face off with a spot in the Big Ten Tournament final on the line.
But this isn’t you’re mom’s Wisconsin team.
In the past, they’ve been the team that slows the pace and finishes with a score in the high 40s, but this squad is in the top 100 in the country in points scored.
This year, they’re mush like MSU in that they rely on the three-pointer for most of their shots. Frank Kaminsky and Ben Brust, who scored a career-high 29 points against Minnesota, can stroke it from deep.
That means they give up a lot of rebounds. The Badgers are 252nd in the nation in rebounding, meaning Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson will have a field day.
I expect Payne to show up today after getting in some foul trouble and taking a bit of a backseat against Northwestern.
As usual, the X-factor is Branden Dawson, who didn’t play in MSU’s close 60-58 loss in Madison.
Led by their two athletic big men, the Spartans will win.
MSU: 68 Wisconsin: 62