Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Prediction: Will the Badgers Keep Rolling Over the Spartans?

College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his best bet for Friday's Big Ten matchup between Michigan State and Wisconsin.
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Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Prediction: Will the Badgers Keep Rolling Over the Spartans?

Neither the Michigan State Spartans nor the Wisconsin Badgers were given much of a chance to win the Big Ten Conference this year, as they were picked to finish sixth and tenth in the Preseason Media Poll. However, first place in the conference is on the line tonight, as these are two of three Big Ten teams with just one loss in conference play.

Here are our picks and predictions for the Big Ten matchup between Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Friday, January 21

Game Time: 9:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: FS1

Click Here for Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Odds

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Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Line Movement

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Prediction

The Wisconsin Badgers are still not being given a great chance to win the Big Ten regular season championship, as their +400 odds (at DraftKings) are third-best despite a 15-2 record and 6-1 record in league play. And while they do not seem to have complete respect of the pollsters sitting at No. 8 despite entering the day tied atop the conference standings, not many can argue with the Badgers’ NCAA tournament resume. 

Wisconsin leads all Division I teams with ten Quadrant 1 and 2 victories, and their five Quad 1 wins alone trail Baylor’s six. In addition, the Badgers have proven their mettle at home (wins over Ohio State and Iowa), on the road (at Purdue), and on a neutral court with their Maul Invitational championship. 

Michigan State (14-3, 5-1) is coming off their first loss in ten games, a surprising 64-62 home defeat against Northwestern, who played without their best player, Pete Nance. The Spartans turned the ball over 17 times in that game and shot a poor 6-for-21 from 3-point range (28.6%) while also getting out-rebounded 40-35. It was a humbling loss for Michigan State, who needs to turn things around in a hurry as four of their next five games (including tonight) are away from home.

Spartans head coach Tom Izzo’s postgame press conference remarks did not exactly inspire confidence heading into this matchup. He called their defensive display and effort “about as poor as I have since I’ve taken this job” and also reacted to his team’s overall performance with “Disappointed? Very. Surprised? Not really.”

The good news for Spartans backers is that if there is any coach able to motivate his team and have them quickly turn the page from a poor performance, it is Tom Izzo. However, Michigan State has not beaten any NCAA tournament-caliber team since their November 25th win against Connecticut and vastly inflated their record on inferior non-conference and bottom-dweller Big Ten opponents.

Wisconsin is the more battle-tested team and has the much more trusted backcourt duo of Player of the Year candidate Johnny Davis and Brad Davison vs. Michigan State’s duo of transfer Tyson Walker and freshman Max Christie. 

One of the most glaring discrepancies in this game is the Spartans’ 295th-ranked turnover rate (20.8%) vs. Wisconsin’s third-ranked rate (12.4%). In addition, Wisconsin will compete with the Spartans on the glass, and at some point, there has to be some positive regression coming for the Badgers from 3-point range (shooting just 31.4% as a team).

Give me the team with the better resume that is playing at home, and that takes care of the basketball over a team lacking quality wins that have been very loose with the ball against weaker competition. 

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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