College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State (Tuesday, February 8)
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Gabe Brown (Michigan State)
- Wisconsin looks to get revenge on Michigan State as it travels to East Lansing to take on the Spartans.
- The No. 14 Badgers are coming off of a nail-bitting win over Penn State while the No. 17 Spartans were crushed by Rutgers on the road.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down this Big Ten affair and offers up his top pick.
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Odds
-120o / -102u
|Michigan State Odds|
-120o / -102u
Michigan State faced a wake-up call on Saturday at the RAC, when the Spartans lost by 21 on the road at Rutgers. The Spartans also were quite fortunate to avoid an upset at Maryland last week.
However, they’ll now return home to host Wisconsin Tuesday night in one of the marquee matchups of a loaded slate.
Wisconsin struggled at home against Penn State Saturday night despite the Nittany Lions missing 19 of their first 20 shots and not getting to Madison until two hours before tip-off.
The Badgers survived and escaped with a two-point home victory, but both Brad Davison and Johnny Davis struggled offensively.
Now, the Badgers get a chance for revenge on the road after Michigan State ran them out of the Kohl Center on Jan. 21.
The Spartans’ offense is one of the leading regression candidates in the entire country, and that win in January was driven by red hot 3-point shooting and a ton of free throws.
Given expected Wisconsin adjustments, this game should be played much tighter than the last, and points may be difficult to come by.
Wisconsin’s offense is almost entirely run in the half-court, as is tradition for the program. The Badgers are 343rd in offensive transition frequency and when Michigan State does turn the ball over, I’d expect the Badgers to still slow the game down and not try to run with Sparty.
The Badgers run their offense inside-out, and that doesn’t really exploit the weakness of the Spartans’ perimeter defense.
No one has made any shots against the Spartans, and there’s regression coming for the defense from the perimeter. But I’m not convinced the Badgers’ lacking jump shooting will exploit this.
Instead, they’ll work the midrange with Davison and Davis and try to feed Tyler Wahl in the post. That’s the strength of the Spartans’ defense.
While Rutgers guard Paul Mulcahy diced them up for 12 assists on Saturday, I’d expect a better defensive effort at home from MSU.
The Spartans rank well above average guarding the post, the mid-range and against ball screens.
The Badgers’ offense has been the worst in the Big Ten from beyond the arc. None of the key Wisconsin players project out as elite jump-shooters, so I don’t think that’s a positive regression indicator.
Michigan State lost by 21 at Rutgers despite shooting 45.8% from beyond the 3-point arc on Saturday. The Spartans didn’t even get any of the shooting regression that’s expected for them, but the offense looked very pedestrian in the half-court otherwise.
The Spartans rely on getting out in transition to generate offense, and do so at the 20th-highest frequency in the entire country.
Wisconsin totally lost control of the tempo when the two teams played the first time, and put MSU on the line way too much. However, the Badgers are still outside the top 200 in average possession length at both ends of the floor.
That means Michigan State will need to execute better in the half-court than it has been. The offense ranks just 183rd in offensive ShotQuality in the half-court, and has very mediocre numbers both in the post-up and in the mid-range.
The Spartans also run a lot of ball screens to generate offense, an area that Wisconsin has guarded really well all season. The Badgers have the post size to matchup with Marcus Bingham Jr., and are top-80 defensively guarding the pick-and-roll and ball screens.
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Betting Pick
Wisconsin is one of the better teams in the country at forcing teams to play at its pace. The Badgers don’t allow teams to get out in transition and there are a lot of red flags for this Michigan State half-court offense.
The Spartans won’t sustain their 40.2% 3-point shooting rate in conference play either, which is by far the best in the entire Big Ten.
For two defenses that don’t really foul much, that should limit free points from the free throw line too, even though that didn’t happen in the first meeting when MSU shot 28 free throws.
Both teams are a bit overrated with their national rankings, thanks to close wins and red-hot Michigan State shooting.
Wisconsin won’t turn it over much at all given its elite ball protection on offense. That will limit scoring opportunities at both ends. Some familiarity from the first matchup seems to be inflating this total higher than I’d make it, so I’m looking to play the under in the rematch.
I’d go as low as 137 with the under in this matchup.