Saturday, March 10, 2012

Previewing Wisconsin in Big Ten semis

INDIANAPOLIS — Sooooooo.... Rob Wilson? Sure.

Averaging 3.1 points per game, Wilson went off for 30 on Friday, sending Indiana and much of its army of fans home earlier than anyone expected. So MSU and Wisconsin will meet for the third time this season (1:40 p.m., CBS). It's the first time ever that the top four seeds reached the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

For MSU, the Spartans had little trouble with Iowa in the quarterfinals, but the Badgers are a different team. They can rebound and play defense.

Jordan Taylor kept the Badgers in the first game with 28 points, but the Spartans escaped Madison with their first win since 2001 by a 63-60 score in overtime. Taylor was held to just 13 in East Lansing, as MSU cruised to a 69-55 win. In both games, Draymond Green and Keith Appling had solid games for MSU. The Spartans will be without Dawson, who would a good matchup with Wisconsin's Ryan Evans, but MSU didn't have Trice for the win in East Lansing.

If MSU can get a solid performance out of Derrick Nix/Adreian Payne and Rob Wilson doesn't have another aberration, I'm picking MSU to win this one. Tom Izzo won the first two BTT meetings against Wisconsin (including 2000, when he beat the Badgers four times), but Bo Ryan has won all three tournament meetings between these teams, including some heartbreakers for MSU in 2004 and 2008.

MSU sports memories against Wisconsin in Indy are not good recently, but I think that changes Saturday.

Prediction: MSU 65, Wisconsin 57

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