Upcoming Match-ups

Michigan State Laying Eight at Home to Wisconsin; Spartans 7-0 SU vs Badgers in Last Seven

Breslin Center at Michigan State University
The Breslin Center at Michigan State will play host to a crucial Big Ten battle between the Spartans and Wisconsin Badgers on Friday, Jan. 17th. Photo by Breslincenter (wikimedia commons).
  • Michigan State is laying eight points at home to Wisconsin coming off an embarrassing 71-42 loss to Purdue on the road
  • The Spartans have knocked off the Badgers seven straight times
  • Wisconsin is off to a nice start in Big Ten play, picking up road wins over Ohio State and Penn State

The Michigan State Spartans (13-4, 8-1 home) are laying six points in East Lansing to the Wisconsin Badgers (11-6, 3-2 away) on Friday, January 17th. Tipoff is set for 7:00 PM ET at the Breslin Center.

The Spartans have knocked off the Badgers seven straight times, while Wisconsin is off to a nice start in Big Ten play, picking up road wins over Ohio State and Penn State.

Wisconsin Badgers vs Michigan State Spartans Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Wisconsin TBD +8 (-113) 131 (-110)
Michigan State TBD -8 (-107) 131 (-110)

Odds taken Jan. 16th.

KenPom.com predicts the Badgers-Spartans tilt will play out to a 69-62 Michigan State victory. The Wisconsin vs Michigan State odds mostly reflect that. And while Sparty is coming off an embarrassing 71-42 loss to Purdue on the road, Tom Izzo’s guys are still a top-five play in our 2020 NCAA Tournament odds as a consensus +1000 bet to cut down the nets in Atlanta.

How will this compelling Big Ten contest play out? Does Michigan State bounce back? Or does Wisconsin continue its road warrior ways in conference play? Let’s break it down and make a pick.

Bad Taste

Not only was Michigan State’s 29-point road loss to the Boilermakers this past Sunday brutal — it was historic. It was the Spartans’ largest defeat ever as a top-10 team.

“Probably the worst beating I’ve taken as a coach,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said after the loss. Added Cassius Winston, who had 10 points and nine turnovers in the dismal outcome, “We definitely get a chance to kind of just regroup. You know, we got punched in the mouth today. You gotta rally together. Good thing we got another game coming up.”

That other game coming up happens to be against Wisconsin, and I fully expect MSU to rebound from what the storied program’s head coach called the worst beating on Friday.

History On Spartans’ Side

While the Badgers have been somewhat of a surprise early in conference play — with those road wins over the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions — finding a way to win in East Lansing has been challenging for Wisconsin. Michigan State has won 12 straight on its home court in the series, a streak that dates all the way back to the 2003-04 season.

George W. Bush was President (in his first term!) the last time Wisconsin won at the Breslin Center

Yes, George W. Bush was President (in his first term!) the last time Wisconsin won at the Breslin Center. And the Spartans own a seven-game win streak over the Badgers, regardless of location. That said, those early conference road victories by UW this season were impressive — especially against the Buckeyes, a team that still sits at No. 9 in the KenPom rankings.

Nate Reuvers had a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds for Wisconsin in that 61-57 win that was part of a four-game losing streak by OSU. Can Reuvers and company overcome history and have a similar performance on the road again? Unlikely.

Bounce Back Time

As noted above, there’s a reason why Michigan State is still one of the favorites to win it all.  Izzo’s group is a combination of veterans (Winston and Xavier Tillman) and youth (Gabe Brown and Rocket Watts) that wins in March.

The Purdue loss was an aberration. The Spartans were nearly 40 points below their average offensive output of 81.2 points per game. This is a team that has outscored its opponents by nearly 18 points per game and ranks No. 7 in KenPom’s adjusted-offensive efficiency category.

I’m fading Wisconsin in this spot and love Michigan State to right the ship in the friendly confines of the Breslin Center.

Pick: Michigan State -8 (-107)

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