On Saturday, the third day of the Big Ten Tournament will tip off in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michigan State will meet Wisconsin and Michigan will meet Ohio State. While most of the Big Ten teams know where they will be headed after Sunday, a few are looking to still make their case for post-season play.
To see the Big Ten bracket, or other conference brackets, click here.
I’ll break down each game of the Big Ten Tournament, leaving Michigan’s games to the experts. Today, I’ll cover the semifinal game, excluding the Michigan game.
#1 Michigan State (25-7) (13-5) vs. #4 Wisconsin (25-7) (11-7)
Game Time: 1:40 PM EST.
Season Series: Michigan State won (January 3rd – 63-60 OT in Madison; February 16th – 69-55 in East Lansing).
Last Ten Meetings: 5-5 Split.
Winner Plays: Michigan/Ohio State (3:30 PM EST on Sunday).
Notes: Michigan State wrapped up the conference’s top seed a week before the season ended, but limped into the tournament, losing to Indiana and Ohio State. They also lost 5-star forward Branden Dawson for the rest of the season, due to a torn ACL. 3-star forward Draymond Green (16.2 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 40.5 Three Point Shooting Percentage) and 4-star guard Keith Appling (11.5 PPG and 2.8 APG) have led the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten title. The Spartans trounced Iowa on Friday, 92-75, in the early game. After losing three straight to Iowa, Michigan State, and Michigan, Wisconsin won 11 of their last 14 games, including wins over Purdue, Indiana, and Ohio State. 3-star guard Jordan Taylor (14.6 PPG and 4.1 APG), 2-star forward Ryan Evans (10.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 43.2 Field Goal Shooting Percentage), and 4-star forward Jared Berggren (10.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 45.5 Field Goal Shooting Percentage) led the Badgers to the four seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Wisconsin beat a Verdell Jones-less Indiana team, 79-71 on Friday.
My Take: Michigan State can be beaten, no doubt. Wisconsin played the Spartans tough in Madison, but were never really in the game in East Lansing. The key for Wisconsin is finding a complement to Jordan Taylor. If the Badgers can have a one-two punch on Saturday, and turn rebounds into fast-break points, they can beat Michigan State.
The Pick: Wisconsin +4.