March 18, 2018

Michigan State Basketball: 5 takeaways from quarterfinal win over Wisconsin

03 March 2018, 10:38 | Christie Tate

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No. 2 Michigan State wins 13th in row beats Wisconsin 63-60

There were moments of heartbreak along the way, to be sure, but the good memories outweighed the bad.

MI went 4-for-5 on the power-play Friday night, starting a flawless 4-for-4. No one with a realistic chance at the tournament has ever gone through quite as much.

"It stings", Wisconsin freshman guard Brad Davison said.

"That's not where I want to be", he said. Wisconsin ended up almost dribbling out the clock before Brad Davison hoisted an off balance 3-point attempt as time expired.

"They can hurt in you in so many ways", said Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard. "We hadn't played. We were just out there as spectators".

That run helped Wisconsin erase a 10 point Spartan lead. MI forward Moritz Wagner, who had just two points in a 20-point loss to the Huskers in January, scored his team's first eight points and finished with 20 along with 13 rebounds.

The scouting report on the Spartans should be fresh on the Badgers' mind considering it will be the second meeting between the teams in a span of six days. The two teams first met in January 1923, as MI beat the Badgers, 2-1, in a double-overtime victory. The Johnnies were 6-1 with him in the lineup. "We were right there".

Miles Bridges wrapped up the Spartans' 12th straight win with two foul shots. However, despite Michigan State's 13-game win streak their struggles against Wisconsin in the quarterfinals show that they can be vulnerable.

It was just less than a week ago when Wisconsin went toe-to-toe with Michigan State.

"I just think we're a little mentally worn down from all the things they've been through", Izzo said.

"I think it just gives you a lot of experience in the tournament".

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Michigan State on the other hand is a dead lock.

In the first half, the Badgers gave the Spartans just about all they could handle, trailing by just four, 32-28 at the break. Wisconsin's defensive rebounding percentage after halftime was an abysmal 35.0 percent. "Just to be able to get another shot at them is the ideal way for us to continue rolling". The Wolverines went 5-for-5 from the free throw line in the opening half.

The Wisconsin Badgers by all intents and purposes had a down year by their own standards, finishing the year with a 7-11 Big Ten record as part of a 14-17 overall record.

In the huddle during a timeout, Gard called a play to get Wisconsin redshirt freshman forward Aleem Ford, who made three 3-pointers in the second half, open beyond the arc. Then Davison missed a 3 and Happ snared the rebound. The fifth-seeded Wolverines will face No. 4 seed Nebraska in Friday's quarters. But Davison's desperation 3-point try with the clock running out fell well short. "They hadn't really been switching anything".

Bridges said it wasn't hard for him to stay focused on the game "because of my teammates and the great job the compliance office did helping me out".

And Miles declared, "I think we're an NCAA Tournament team now". In fact, he might have been even better.

Both teams recorded eight shots on goal in the second period, but OSU heavily outshot MSU in the third, 21-7, to finish with a 40-20 edge in shots on goal.

Rutgers had a nice upset win over Minnesota last night and is now listed as an 8-point underdog against Indiana.

By the numbers: Nebraska is now 3-7 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament.

Happ, who finished with a game-high 22 points against the Spartans, believes he's a second-round pick right now in the eyes of National Basketball Association personnel.

"Our message is simple: The team that can recover and forget this game as quick as you can has the best chance of winning tomorrow", Granato said. "And those 3s that he hit ... that takes - that's seniors who do things like that". He talked about how his team understood it needed to stack wins through February because its schedule included so many at home and so few elite opponents.

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