After a tough road loss against Illinois, Wisconsin (2-10 Big Ten, 11-13 overall) heads back home Thursday to take on Michigan State (7-5 Big Ten, 17-6 overall).
The Badgers enter this game riding a three-game losing streak after falling to Illinois 68-78 Sunday. Senior forward Marsha Howard led the team Badgers with 19 points and 7 rebounds, followed closely by freshman forward Imani Lewis who had 16 points and 7 rebounds. Wisconsin battled hard with Illinois and had success in the paint putting up 36 points, but the Illini bench came in strong with 22 points to counter the Badgers paint scoring.
Michigan State heads into this matchup hot, after a home victory over Indiana 77-61. The Spartans were led by redshirt junior guard Shay Colley who put up an astounding 32 points.
Michigan State was hot from the three-point line against the Hoosiers, shooting 47 percent. But Michigan State beat Indiana on nearly every other area of the floor as well, including rebounding, bench points and points off turnovers.
However that wasn’t a fluke game for the Spartans, who are a solid team with a number of players who can take over a game and serve as a threat, with four of their five starters averaging more than 10 points a game.
During its win over Purdue, Michigan State was led again by Colley who racked up 20 points, but sophomore forward Sidney Cooks also dropped 20 in the win. When Michigan State took on Iowa, freshman guard Nia Clouden took control of the game and though the Spartans loss, she finished with 20 points.
That being said, Michigan State’s biggest advantage is their balance as a team. The spread out scoring makes it hard for defenses to key in on just one player, making each game against Sparty a “pick your poison.”
As for Wisconsin, they have predominantly been lead by Howard and Lewis in scoring night in and night out, with sophomore guard Niya Beverley and redshirt senior guard Kelly Karlis contributing double-figures here and there.
So, the Badgers need to key in on the offense and defense from behind the arc to beat Michigan State. Not only will Wisconsin need to apply pressure to the perimeter to limit Michigan State’s prolific three-point offense, but Wisconsin also needs to work on putting more shots up itself if it hopes to compete against the Spartans.
Tipoff is Thursday 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.