Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#861 Wisconsin 131 vs.
#862 Michigan State -9
Friday, January 17, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#861 University of Wisconsin-Madison
#862 Michigan State University
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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: January 17, 2020, Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI, 7:00 PM ET

The surging Wisconsin Badgers will be looking to claim their third consecutive top-25 opponent in Friday’s run-in with the No. 15-ranked Michigan State Spartans. An eight-game win streak came to a crushing end for the Spartans after getting blown out of the building on the road in a 71-42 loss to Purdue. They’ll try to bounce back at home against the Badgers, who are coming off back-to-back wins over Penn State and Maryland.

Meet Mr. Clutch for the Badgers

Wisconsin guard Brad Davison earned the nickname Mr. Clutch after his stellar two-way effort helped the team overcome Maryland late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game. His hustle on defense created a turnover with 12.4 seconds left on the clock. He then went on to catch an inbounds pass and knock down a corner 3-pointer to ice the game for the Badgers.

Wisconsin hopes to avoid another dramatic ending in Friday’s meeting with the Spartans. The Badgers have the 12th-ranked scoring defense with teams averaging 59.8 points per game against them. They managed to keep Penn State under 50 points before holding Maryland to 54 points and a 40.4 field goal shooting percentage. That defensive dominance must come into play if they have any chance of knocking off the Spartans’ 14th-ranked offense.

They certainly can’t score with Michigan State with their offense averaging a 43.5 shooting percentage. Don’t expect to see the same sluggish offensive team that got jammed up by Purdue on their home floor. The Spartans will be prepared to put up a fight on both ends this time out.

Michigan State gets hammered on the road

Michigan State found out what it feels like to be the nail in last Sunday’s 71-42 road loss to Purdue. They took the full force of the hammer in a game where their leading scorer, Cassius Winston, was held to a team-high 10 points. It’s the sort of game that either makes or breaks a team.

The Spartans hope it isn’t the latter when hosting the visiting Badgers on Friday. They can find solace in the fact that they played as bad as they could possibly play on offense. Wisconsin will present another tough defensive test, but the Spartans are clearly capable of handling it with an offense averaging a 48.8 field goal shooting percentage at home.

The challenge for Michigan State will be an improved defensive effort. If guys are going to struggle shooting, they have to start locking down on defense to give themselves a chance to compete. They have the 32nd-ranked defense in the league, which is clear proof they underperformed on that end of the floor against Purdue as well.

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You can rest assured Winston and Xavier Tillman won’t turn in dud performances in consecutive games. They’ll come out with a vengeance looking to make an example out of Wisconsin. Granted, it won’t come easy by any stretch. The Badgers shut down Penn State’s 31st-ranked scoring defense on the road. So it would be a mistake to assume they have no shot at making things interesting. They obviously wouldn’t survive an offensive shootout with Nate Reuvers as their only reliable weapon.

The Spartans are averaging 86.6 points when playing at home this season. Wisconsin will have a difficult time matching that high-powered offensive output with their team shooting 39.6 percent from the floor.

Michigan State looked like they were afraid of their own shadow on the road against Purdue, and they shot the ball worse than they have all season. Being back at home against a team solely dependent on a flawless defensive effort is a great bet to take. I’m laying the points and rolling with the Spartans on Friday.

Prediction: Michigan State Spartans (-8)

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The location hasn’t mattered for the Badgers for the vast majority of the season. They have shown up in nearly every game and presented a defensive problem for their opponent. Both of their impressive defensive showings against Penn State and Ohio State were on the road. So it would be a mistake to assume they’ll merely wilt to the challenge of playing at the Breslin Center.

They are only allowing 60.1 points per game on the road this season. The Spartans are built to flex their defensive muscles as well. They are holding opposing teams to an average 59.8 points on their home floor. That’s savvy enough to hold their ground when it really matters. Give me the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (131)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.