I thought Michigan State would put up a fight. I was wrong.
This was not a close game by any means. Wisconsin took control of the game early on, taking a 43-25 lead into the half and closing out the Spartans from there. Michigan State got off to a rough start and was unable to salvage anything from this game.
After the jump: Box Score Analysis.
Wisconsin is one of the best free throw-shooting teams in the nation. And they lived up to that today; Michigan State put Wisconsin at the free throw line 26 times and the Badgers made 25 of them. That's incredible. In addition to their great free throw shooting, the Badgers shot the lights out. Bo Ryan's squad was 59% from the floor (23 of 39 from the floor) and managed an impressive 64% on shots from beyond the arc (11 of 17).
MSU countered by attempting 14 three's and hitting only 3 of them. The Spartans went to the line 16 times and made 13 of their foul shots. MSU's 43% shooting wasn't bad, but it wasn't enough to get the job done.
Jordan Taylor led the way for Wisconsin with 30 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Taylor was 9 of 10 from the free throw line, and added 6 assists to power the Badgers to a blowout win. Jon Leuer added 20 points with 6 rebounds and a steal, but he also had 4 turnovers.
Keaton Nankivil attempted 3 shots from beyond the arc, and he made all 3 of them, as he finished with 11 points. Tim Jarmusz went to the line 6 times and made all 6 of his free throws, along with a 3, finishing with 9 points.
For Michigan State, Kalin Lucas was the leading scorer with 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting, but it wasn't nearly enough. Durrell Summers and Draymond Green combined for 22 shot attempts and made just 7 of them. Neither Summers nor Green were able to hit a 3; Summers going 0-2 and Green going 0-4. MSU definitely forced things on offense, and it simply didn't work out against Wisconsin's defense.
In each of Michigan State's previous four losses, the opponent has managed to shoot 50% or better from the floor. Michigan shot exactly 50%. Illinois 53%. Purdue 58%. Iowa 57%. Wisconsin trumped all of those teams, making 59% of their shots. For whatever reason, Michigan State is simply getting caught flat-footed on defense. Repeatedly. Illinois and Purdue? Those are good teams in the conference. But allowing 57% shooting to Iowa? That's a big, big indication that something is seriously wrong with Tom Izzo's Spartans.
Wisconsin is now 17-5 overall and 7-3 in the Big Ten. Michigan State? 13-10, 5-6 in the Big Ten.
NEXT THREE GAMES:
@ Iowa (2/9/11), vs. #1 Ohio State (2/12/11), @ #11 Purdue (2/16/11)
vs. Penn State (2/10/11), @ #1 Ohio State (2/15/11), vs. Illinois (2/19/11)