Michigan St Spartans vs. Wisconsin Badgers Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 5th 2023

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Knocking off a top-five team, as well as an in-state rival, gave No. 23 Wisconsin a huge boost going into its Big Ten opener.

The Badgers upset No. 3 Marquette 75-64 on Saturday for their fifth straight victory. Now they will play Michigan State on Tuesday at East Lansing, Mich.

Max Klesmit sparked the win over Marquette by scoring all of his 21 points in the first half. Wisconsin led by 13 at the break and never trailed.

The Badgers rode the victory into the latest Top 25 poll.

“I think now they believe,” Badgers coach Greg Gard said of his team.

“They believe in what our coaches have been talking about, kind of the vision of what we made out way back in the summer for what we thought this team could be and how good they can be. And you’ve still got to go do it. You’ve got to go earn it and you’ve got to finish games.”

The Badgers (6-2) held a 38-23 rebounding advantage and outscored the Eagles 24-11 at the free-throw line. Marquette made a run early in the second half, cutting Wisconsin’s lead to one point, but the Badgers defense clamped down.

“When adversity comes, you’ve got to go back and attack it,” Gard said. “We didn’t get that deer-in-the-headlight look. I think we responded.”

The Badgers have four players averaging double figures, led by AJ Storr’s 13.3 points per game. The Spartans are led by Tyson Walker (20.5).

Michigan State (4-3) has played only one game since Thanksgiving, an 86-55 romp over winless Georgia Southern on Tuesday.

The Spartans now play two Big Ten games before closing out the month with nonconference matchups.

“It definitely ramps up,” Walker said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Big Ten play, it’s way different than everything else. The (officiating) style is different, the physicality is different. And possessions matter, as we already learned that.

“But they really do matter, because these games matter even more for what we’re trying to do.”

The Spartans won the lone meeting with the Badgers last season 69-65.

“In the Big Ten, we play some teams that are really physical. We know every night is going to be physical,” said Michigan State’s A.J. Hoggard, who had 10 points and eight assists against Wisconsin last season.

“The scouting is unbelievable across the whole league. We’ve been playing against the same coaches for a long time. A lot of teams are the same, so they know us and we know them. You kind of got to find out ways to will wins.”

Michigan State came into the preseason ranked in the top 10 but dropped out of the poll after losses to James Madison, Duke and Arizona.

The Spartans have been surprisingly poor from 3-point range (26.9 percent) despite having most of their perimeter players back from last season. They’ve also struggled to control the boards.

Coach Tom Izzo plans to cut down his rotation.

“The biggest thing is now that the playing group is going to shrink,” he said.

The status of forward Malik Hall (9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds) for Tuesday’s game is uncertain. He’s been dealing with flu-like symptoms in recent days, according to Izzo.

– Field Level Media

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