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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s basketball: No. 5 Wisconsin looks to rebound against Michigan State

Jason Chan

The fifth-ranked University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team is in a position it’s only found itself in two other times this season: having to bounce back from a loss.

Tuesday night in College Park, Maryland, No. 5 UW (25-3, 13-2 Big Ten) fell to No. 14 Maryland 59-53, snapping its 10-game winning streak while putting its aspirations of clinching at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title on hold.

Wisconsin battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit in the second half to tie the game at 47 with six minutes and 43 seconds left after sophomore guard Bronson Koenig hit a three. But after that, the Badgers went just 1 of 10 to finish the game.


The Badgers struggled on offense Tuesday night overall, shooting just 29.6 percent in the first half and only 38.5 percent for the game. Wisconsin could not find its rhythm from beyond the arc either, going just 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) from three.

Maryland’s dominant backcourt duo of Melo Trimble and Dez Wells combined to score 42 of the Terrapin’s 59 points Tuesday night. Trimble and Wells scored 16 of Maryland’s final 18 points to close out the game.

Amid a multitude of travel problems, Wisconsin returned to Madison Wednesday afternoon, still with its sights set on clinching the school’s first Big Ten regular season championship since 2008.

The next chance the Badgers will have to clinch the title will come Sunday afternoon against Michigan State.

The Spartans (19-9, 10-5 Big Ten) currently sit a half game behind Maryland for second place in the Big Ten standings and two-and-a-half games behind first place Wisconsin.

Michigan State has won six of its last seven games — with three of its last four wins coming on the road — after starting conference play just 4-3. The Spartans will host Minnesota Thursday night in East Lansing before traveling to Madison for Sunday’s game.

Offensively, Michigan State averages 71.9 points per game which is good for fourth-best in the Big Ten. The Spartans have three players averaging over 12 points: Denzel Valentine (14.4), Travis Trice (13.9) and Branden Dawson (12.4). Dawson, a 6-foot-6 guard-forward, also averages a conference-high 10 rebounds per game and is the only player in the Big Ten averaging a double-double.

Michigan State will provide the Badgers with a tough test on the defensive end. The Spartans’ defense is first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.384), three-point field goal percentage (.297) and second in scoring (61.1). Michigan is also at the top of the conference in rebounding, hauling in a conference-best 38.6 rebounds with a plus 8.2 rebounding margin.

After shooting just 38.5 percent against Maryland, the Badgers have now shot below 40 percent as a team in four of their last six games dating back to the game against Northwestern on Feb. 7. Prior to that six-game stretch of poor shooting, Wisconsin shot below 40 percent as a team just once in the team’s first 21 games. That one time came in a grind-it-out 49-38 win over instate-rival Marquette more than two months ago.

With a win Sunday, the Badgers would clinch a share of the Big Ten regular season title for the 18th time in program history and the fourth under head coach Bo Ryan. If UW can win two of its final three regular season games, it will win the conference title outright.

Wisconsin and Michigan State will tip off at 3 p.m. Sunday from the Kohl Center. The game will be televised nationally on CBS.

Update: Michigan State was defeated by Minnesota 96-90 in overtime Thursday night. Valentine had 27 points and seven rebounds to lead the Spartans. Michigan State is now in fourth place in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin (25-3, 13-2 Big Ten)

Big Ten: 13-2, 1st place, 2.5 games ahead of Maryland

Last Game: Lost to Maryland on the road, 59-53

Probable Starters: G – Bronson Koenig (6-4, 7.7 ppg), G – Josh Gasser (6-4, 7.0 ppg), F – Sam Dekker (6-9, 13.1 ppg), F – Nigel Hayes (6-8, 12.1 ppg), F – Frank Kaminsky (7-0, 17.7 ppg)

Key Reserves: G – Zak Showalter, F – Duje Dukan, F – Vitto Brown

Michigan State (19-9, 10-5 Big Ten)

Big Ten: 10-5, 4th place, one game behind second-place Purdue and Maryland, three games behind Wisconsin

Last Game: Defeated by Minnesota at home in overtime, 96-90

Probable Starters: G – Denzel Valentine, G – Bryn Forbes, G – Lourawls Nairn Jr., F – Gavin Schilling, F – Branden Dawson

Key Reserves: G – Travis Trice, F – Matt Costello

Game Vitals

Who – No. 5 Wisconsin vs. Michigan State

When – Sunday, March 1, 3 p.m.

Where – Kohl Center (17,230); Madison, Wisconsin



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