This weekend the Badgers head East to Michigan to face off against the Spartans on Saturday and the Wolverines on Sunday.
Coming off of a weekend that saw Wisconsin take down No. 19 Northwestern, in one of the biggest wins in program history, and then fall to No. 28 Illinois in a disappointing showing, the Badgers sit in second place in the Big Ten.
Michigan State has had a rough season thus far. The Spartans have yet to win a conference match and are just ahead of last place Nebraska in the Big Ten rankings.
In UW’s last match against Illinois, the Badgers lost their doubles point for the first time all season. This ended their streak of 15 consecutive matches in which they won two out of three doubles matches. This match could serve as the perfect remedy for the doubles rotation.
The elite Wisconsin squad is facing off against a less-than-stellar Michigan State doubles lineup. So far, in five matches against conference opponents, the Spartans are a combined 1-11 in doubles matches.
The Spartans have been just as bad in singles this season. In the Big Ten, they have only won four singles matches out of a possible 30. Compared to the Badgers’ 18-10 singles record, this matchup looks to be a prime opportunity for the UW men to get back on track.
For Michigan State, this is a chance for redemption. Knocking off the surging Badgers for the first time since 2014 would be a great jumpstart in what has otherwise been a truly dismal season.
The real test for Wisconsin will be Sunday’s matchup in Ann Arbor against No. 15 Michigan. Big Blue is 4-1 in conference play this season with their only loss coming against No. 3 Ohio State.
It’s difficult to find a flaw in the Michigan lineup. They are as well rounded as any team in the country, with a fearsome singles lineup that has gone 32-6 in the Big Ten. Top singles player Jathan Malik (9-3 at first singles) will be a difficult matchup for either Lamar Remy or Josef Dodridge, both of whom are coming off tough losses against Illinois.
Doubles will be just as much of a challenge for the Badgers. Michigan’s unit is dynamite—particularly at the third spot where their combined record is 9-2 on the season.
Saturday at 11:00 a.m. the Badgers and Spartans will meet in East Lansing. Withstanding a huge upset, this should be another ‘W’ for the dark horse Big Ten contenders.
The Badgers will be back at it 24 hours later at 11:00 a.m. in Ann Arbor, hoping to cement their position as one of the top teams in the Big Ten.