Big Ten Battle in Madison: Michigan St at Wisconsin

Michigan St Spartans at Wisconsin Badgers, Kohl Center, Madison, WI
Sunday February 6, 2011, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Wisconsin -9
Current Line: Wisconsin -9
Opening Total: 124 1/2
Current Total: 124
Money Line: Wisconsin -500 / Michigan St +400

Kalin Lucas and the Michigan St Spartans are reeling, having lost 4 out their last 5 games. They travel to Wisconsin as 9 point underdogs.

Sunday is a  huge sports day in the Badger State. First, Wisconsin hosts Michigan St in an important Big Ten match-up and then the Packers play the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV in Dallas. Michigan St was ranked in the top 5 in the pre-season poll and the expectations were sky high for a team that returned most of its rotation from back-to-back Final Four appearances. However, the wheels came off the Spartan train, and Michigan St has careened off the track. They will be lucky to even make the NCAA tournament this year with a 13-9 overall record and 5-5 record in the Big Ten. Wisconsin is ranked #18 in the country with a 16-5 record overall and 6-3 in conference. Michigan St has losses  to Connecticut, Duke, Syracuse, Texas, Penn St, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan, and Iowa. Only an 84-83 overtime victory at home over Indiana is keeping the Spartans from a 5 game losing streak. Michigan St did beat Wisconsin 64-61 in overtime January 11 in East Lansing. The Spartans also have wins over South Carolina, Washington, Minnesota, and Norhtwestern twice. The Spartans were destroyed at last place Iowa 72-52 Wednesday night. Wisconsin has additional losses to UNLV, Notre Dame, Illinois, and Penn St. The Badgers have wins over Boston College, NC State, Marquette, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, and Purdue. The Badgers beat Purdue Tuesday night in Madison 66-59. Michigan St leads the overall series 69-59, but Wisconsin is 42-22 in Madison. The home team has won 11 games in a row in the series. Michigan St has won 3 out of the last 4, but the two teams are 2-2 ATS. The of the last 4 games have gone under the total. Michigan St is 6-14 ATS in all games this year, including 2-8 ATS in conference, and 4-12 ATS versus teams with winning records. Wisconsin is 16-7 ATS in all home games in the last 2 seasons.

Michigan St has dismissed guard Korrie Lucious for violating team rules. Lucious led the team in assists with 4.1 a game and scored 6.5 points a game. Michigan St is led by senior guard Kalin Lucas who averages 15.6 points to lead the team, 2.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Senior guard Durrell Summers  is averaging 13.7 points, and 4.4 rebounds a game. Junior forward Draymond Green is averaging 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds to lead the team, 4 assists to lead the team, 1.8 steals to also lead the team, and 1.2 blocks a game. Delvon Roe averages 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game to lead the team.   Michigan St is outscoring opponents 72-68 this season. The Spartans are shooting 43.7% from the field and  36.5% from 3-point range. Spartan opponents are shooting 42.4% from the field. Michigan St is shooting 68.1% from the free throw line. The Spartans average 37.8 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +3.7. MSU averages 15.9 assists and 14.1 turnovers a game. Michigan St forces 13.5 turnovers a game on defense. The Spartans average 7.3 steals and 5 blocks a game.

Wisconsin has no significant injuries right now. Senior Forward Jon Leuer leads the team. Leuer is averaging 19.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Leuer is shooting 44.8% from 3-point range and 84.57 from the free throw line. Guard Jordan Taylor averages 17.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists to lead the team, and 0.9 steals a game to lead the team. Forward Keaton Nankivil averages 9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks a game to lead the team. All three of the top scorers shoot more than 40% from 3-point range. Wisconsin is outscoring opponents 69-56 on the season. The Badgers shoot 44.6% from the field and 37.4% from 3-point range. Badger opponents are shooting 40.6% from the field. The Badgers make 81.8% of their free throws. Wisconsin averages 32.8 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +3.8. Wisconsin averages 14 assists and 7.8 turnovers a game. The Badgers force 10.7 turnovers a game on defense. The Badgers average 4 steals and 3.8 blocks a game.

These two teams have gone in opposite directions since they met in East Lansing less than a month ago. Wisconsin has won 4 out of 5 since the game, and Michigan St has gone 2-4 since then. The team is reeling after losing their floor leader Lucious. Spartan Coach Izzo was livid after Michigan St’s blowout loss at lowly Iowa because it appeared the team didn’t give much of an effort. He promised changes on both offense and defense. The Spartans’ biggest problem has been a lack of defensive intensity usually the hallmark of Tom Izzo’s teams. Michigan St certainly has the talent to turn it around but Wisconsin is a tough place to play. The Badgers have won 33 out the last 34 games played at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin should roll in this game.

Our college basketball handicappers are off to a great start in 2011. Don’t miss out on any more winners this season.

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