This will be the second encounter this season and 131st in history between the Badgers and Michigan State. The Spartans extended their series lead to 70-60 with a 63-60 overtime triumph over Wisconsin on January 3rd. The Badgers came up just short in the first contest between these two as Ryan Evans' game-tying three-pointer was called off after officials reviewed the play.
Bo Ryan has guided his Badgers to a 19-6 overall record and an 8-4 mark in Big Ten action this season. Wisconsin won its fourth consecutive road game its last time out after it outlasted the Minnesota Golden Gophers to pick up a 68-61 overtime victory. Despite shooting an unimpressive 35.8 percent from the field, the Badgers were able to push past Minnesota by converting 21-of-25 from the charity stripe. Wisconsin's success this season has been powered by its phenomenal effort at the defensive end, as it allows an NCAA-low 50.3 ppg.
Wisconsin is led by its star point guard Jordan Taylor, who carries team- leading averages of 14.5 points and 4.2 assists per game. Taylor was phenomenal in the overtime affair with Minnesota last week, as he netted 27 points to lead the team. Ryan Evans had a solid outing versus the Golden Gophers as well, as he recorded a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Jared Berggren and Josh Gasser each chipped in nine points in the contest.
Tom Izzo's squad picked up its third straight victory in a crucial bout with the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday to remain in the race for first place in the league standings. Michigan State's 58-48 triumph was helped by a tremendous defensive effort, as Ohio State was held to a season low 26.4 percent shooting from the floor. The win improved the Spartans' record to 20-5 overall. Michigan State's 9-3 conference record has it just a half game back of Ohio State in the league standings, a win would put the two powers in a tie for first place, with MSU holding the tie-breaker. The Spartans have outscored their opponents by an average of 14.6 ppg this season.
Draymond Green has been the nucleus of the Spartans' success this season. The senior forward averages a double-double with 15 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Green had 12 points and nine rebounds in the low-scoring affair with the Buckeyes on Saturday. Keith Appling added 14 points against Ohio State, but will need to improve his point guard play as he had no assists and seven turnovers. Adreian Payne went 6-of-6 from the floor to net 15 points against the Buckeyes' solid interior defense.