Wisconsin (10-12, 3-6 Big Ten) lost 76-61 to No. 6 Michigan State (19-3, 7-2 Big Ten) Friday night in East Lansing.

In what at first looked to be a blowout with the score 37-21 at halftime, Wisconsin battled back to bring the team within six points midway through the second half.

Despite the loss, this game was one of the more promising performances the Badgers have had all season. Happ and Iverson, neither of whom have been great this year from the line, went a combined 14-16 on free throws.  This, paired with winning the turnover battle — albeit not too impressively at 13-11 — gave the Badgers a real shot to compete in this game.

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Unfortunately, Michigan State’s shots were falling relatively consistently whereas Wisconsin had difficulties with jumpers throughout the game.  The Spartans shot 50 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three, while the Badgers only hit 36.2 percent and 20.8 percent respectively.

This game was a positive sign of the Badgers going back to the fundamentals. Limiting turnovers and hitting free throws were staples in the Bo Ryan and Greg Gard teams.  But this game also showed weaknesses in the Badgers defense and shot efficiency that have not been typical of past Wisconsin lineups.

The player who wasn’t on the court — D’Mitrik Trice — had the biggest impact on this game.  With Trice’s return date still up in the air, the team’s lack of depth at the guard position is showing as prominently as ever.

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Though he has struggled in the past, Davison was able to limit his mistakes in this game with only two turnovers to his four assists.  However, the increase in his passing efficiency came with a decrease in his shooting efficiency as Davison went just 3-12 on the day and 0-6 from beyond the arc.  When the backcourt goes cold shooting, the Badgers’ options are limited to Brevin Pritzl, the only other true guard on the team.

Time will tell if this performance is the start of a late-season renaissance or merely a one-off outing.