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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State preview





WHEN: Tonight 9 P.M. ET

WHERE: Jack Breslin Center, East Lansing Michigan

TV: ESPN

      No. 10 Michigan State Spartans (22-7, 11-5) will play host to the No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers (20-9, 11-5) tonight, after their disappointing 58-57 loss on the road in Ann Arbor to the Wolverines. Each team comes in after losing their last match-up as Wisconsin lost in upset fashion to the Purdue Boilermakers, and the Spartans ride a three game skid (Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan) into Thursday night.

      Michigan State has been particularly good at home this season, 15-1 at Breslin, scoring an additional +7.4 points. They have also won 7 straight at home versus Wisconsin, and 4 in a row overall in the series. The Spartans beat the Badgers 49-47 in Madison on Jan. 22.

       Both teams come into Thursday's action a game back of first place in the Big Ten, after Indiana lost at home to the Ohio State Buckeyes. If either squad wins-out and No. 7 Michigan upsets Indiana on Sunday, they could claim a share of the B1G title.



PLAYER(S) TO WATCH FOR MSU: Adreian Payne and Keith Appling

Appling must get out of recent funk for Spartans to make turn-around.
      The reason Keith Appling is on this slide, is his inability during Michigan State's recent skid. Appling has scored in single digits in each of his last three games (Michigan State lost all three) while shooting just 5-of-23 from the floor (21.7%). He's averaged just six points, 2.7 assists and three turnovers per game during that stretch. If the Izzo-led Spartans are planning another deep March run, Appling has to get out of his current funk.

      Adreian Payne has been on another planet the past two weeks. Over his past four games, he's averaged 15.3 points and 12 rebounds while going 6-12 beyond the arc (.500%). If Payne continues his recent tear through Sunday and beyond, the Spartans will be tough to beat in the Tournament.

PLAYER TO WATCH FOR WISCONSIN: Sam Dekker

Dekker has been hot for Wisconsin
      Sam Dekker has been hot for the Badgers over his past five games. He's currently averaging 13.2 points 2.8 assists and shooting 12-20 from beyond the long line (60%). Dekker is a tough cover for Brenden Dawson, and Izzo must game plan for the Badgers running him off screens to set him up from the long line.

PREDICTION:
      With the Breslin Center set to rock, the Badgers are in for a rude awakening. Tom Izzo is notorious for having his team ready come March, and with the tournament around the corner, the Spartans will look to fine tune the entire team at home. With the win-less streak at the Breslin for the Badgers at 7 (haven't won since March 7, 2004).

Michigan State 55, Wisconsin 52

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