- Wisconsin is a 1.5-point favorite over Michigan State on Friday in a Big Ten game on Christmas Day at the Breslin Center in East Lansing
- Michigan State has not lost at home to Wisconsin since 2004
- Wisconsin is third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency
#9 Wisconsin vs #12 Michigan Odds
|Wisconsin||-116||-1.5 (-104)||Over 140.5 (-112)|
|Michigan State||-102||+1.5 (-118)||Under 140.5 (-108)|
Odds taken Dec. 24 from FanDuel.
Wisconsin enters on a four-game winning streak. The Badgers are 7-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten but 4-4 against the spread.
Michigan State had its season-opening six-game winning streak snapped Sunday, losing 79-65 at Northwestern as a 7.5-point favorite. The Spartans are 6-1 overall, 0-1 in the conference and just 2-5 ATS.
Wisconsin Wins With Defense
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard says his players’ goal is to be the best defensive team in the country.
The Badgers are right up there, ranking third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing 86.5 points per 100 possessions according to Ken Pom.com. They are 10th in opponents’ field goal percentage (36.2) and 13th in points allowed (57.5 a game).
Aleem’s been taking notes, @BadgerVB! 😤
That was no block … that was a [email protected] Power Through Moment pic.twitter.com/Xs1PpRlQbY
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 23, 2020
Wisconsin needed a strong defensive effort to overcome a frigid start Tuesday in beating Nebraska 67-53 it its Big Ten opener as a 16-point favorite.
Wisconsin missed 15 of its first 16 shots and scored just three points in the first 11 minutes yet was able to forge a 25-24 halftime lead. That bought the Badgers time until their offense heated up.
The Badgers do not have a big-time scorer as senior forward Micah Potter leads the team with an average of 13.4 points a game.
MICAH POTTER CAUGHT A BODY!😱#OnWisconsin » #Badgers pic.twitter.com/B2yJ6h8uat
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 9, 2020
However, Wisconsin, which starts five seniors, does not beat itself on that end of the floor. Its 8.5 turnovers a game is the third-best average in the country.
Senior guard Brad Davison scored a team-high 15 points against Nebraska. Senior forward Aleem Ford (13), Potter (10) and senior forward Nate Reuvers (10) also reached double figures.
Michigan State “Inept”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was candid following the loss to Northwestern calling it “one of the more inept performances of my 26 years.” The loss dropped Michigan State eight spots from #4 in the Associated Press media poll.
Northwestern was just 8-23 last season. The Wildcats had not won a game against a top-five opponent since stunning Magic Johnson and Michigan State in 1979.
The Spartans shot just 38.8% from the field while Northwestern shot 52.9%.
🚨 UPSET ALERT 🚨
Northwestern leads No. 4 Michigan State 50-34 with 17:55 to play in the second half 👀🟣⚪️
— The One & Dones (@theoneanddones) December 21, 2020
No Michigan State player scored more than 11 points with junior forward Aaron Henry taking team-high honors. Meanwhile, guard Boo Buie lit up the Spartans for 30 points as he made five of six 3-point field goal attempts.
It did not help Michigan State’s cause that junior forward Joey Hauser was hobbled by a knee injury he sustained in the first half. While Hauser logged 21 minutes, he scored just five points on two-of-seven shooting.
The transfer from Marquette leads the Spartans in scoring (12.1 a game) and rebounding (8.9).
Breslin Unkind to Badgers
The Breslin Center has been a house of horrors for Wisconsin over the years.
The Badgers have lost 12 straight games in East Lansing. Their last road win over Michigan State was in 2004.
Furthermore, Michigan State had won eight straight overall in the series until Wisconsin, as a 6.5-point underdog, upset the Spartans 64-63 last season in Madison. Reuvers led four Badgers in double figures with 15 points.
Two weeks earlier, Michigan State won 67-55 at home and covered as a 9.5-point favorite.
While history says it is unwise to pick Wisconsin in this spot, the Badgers’ defense figures to prevail against Michigan State, which has lost four in a row against the spread.
Pick: Wisconsin -1.5 (-105)