Wisconsin Badgers vs. Michigan State Spartans
Tip-off: Thursday, March 7, 2013 – 9:00 PM ET
Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, MI
The Michigan State Spartans and the Wisconsin Badgers are still able to claim shares of the Big Ten title, however YouWager experts are convinced these teams have made it much harder on themselves after recent let downs.
The No. 10 Michigan State, losers of three straight, and the 22nd-ranked Wisconsin team, who is coming off an upset loss, will meet tonight in East Lansing with the winner still alive for part of the conference crown.
The Spartans have won seven straight at home over the Badgers and four in a row overall in the series, including a 49-47 win in Madison on Jan. 22. Each team needs to win its final two games and also hope for No. 7 Michigan Wolverines to beat second-ranked Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday in Ann Arbor to claim a piece of the conference championship.
The Spartans were tied for the Big Ten lead before suffering three consecutive losses to ranked rivals by a combined 13 points. The slide has been together with a personal slump for leading scorer Keith Appling, who was averaging 14.1 points prior to the losing streak.
Appling has scored in single digits in each of the last three games while going 5 of 23 from the field (21.7 percent).
The Spartans’ 3-point shooting, which is at 25.0 percent over the last three games, could particularly use a spark from Appling, who is 0 for 9 during the same stretch.
While Michigan State has been dropping close games, the Badgers had won three straight by a total of 81 points and seemed to be cruising to a fourth on Sunday with a 13-point first-half lead at home over the Purdue Biolermakers.
However, Wisconsin went cold from 3-point range, missing their last 18 tries, and wound up giving away a 39-27 rebounding edge in what finished as a 69-56 defeat. They will be tested on the boards again by Michigan State, who ranks 12th in the nation in rebounding differential at plus-7.2. The Badgers are at plus-4.8, but battled the Spartans to a 35-all rebounding tie in the first meeting.
According to the college basketball odds, Wisconsin hasn’t won in East Lansing since a 68-64 overtime win on March 2, 2004.