Opening Thoughts: The Badgers easily handled Penn State, so their next opponent are the Crying Izzos of Michigan State. This won’t be an easy task for the Badgers, but I think they have a reasonable chance of pulling this one out. A nice little statistical tidbit about the UW offense is that as of Tuesday morning, Wisconsin is in the top 91 of all D-1 teams in all but 2 statistic categories tracked by Ken Pomeroy. The other two are free throw rate (106th) and offensive rebounding (217th). They also are no longer in the bottom 100 of free throw defense.
What the Expert Nerds Say:
Jeff Sagarin ranks Wisconsin #11 and MSU #20. He makes Michigan State a 1 or 2-point favorite.
Ken Pomeroy ranks Wisconsin #4 and MSU #19. He predicts a 67-66 Badger victory in 63 possessions and gives the Badgers a 55% chance of winning.
Michigan State Probable Rotation:
*G – 6’1” JR Kalin Lucas (16.1 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.9 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 55.5% 2PT, 40% 3PT)
*G – 6’3” JR Chris Allen (10.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.3 APG, 38.1% 3PT)
*F – 6’8” SR Raymar Morgan (10.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 52.7% 2PT)
*F – 6’6” SO Draymond Green (11.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.6 SPG, 63.7% 2PT)
*F – 6’8” SO Delvon Roe (7.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 61.9% 2PT)
G – 6’4” JR Durrell Summers (11.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 50% 2PT, 90% FT)
G – 5’11” SO Korie Lucious (6.1 PPG, 4.1 APG)
5-8 Min per Game (11-14 games played)
F – 6’10” FR Garrick Sherman (2.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG)
F – 6’8” FR Derrick Nix (2.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG)
F – 6’5” SO Austin Thornton (1.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG)
F – 6’6” SR Isaiah Dahlman (2.1 PPG)
This season they have played at a pace of 71 possessions per game, similar to Gonzaga and Illinois. They play mostly man-to-man defense.
They lost Goran Suton, Travis Walton, Marquise Gray, and Idong Ibok. They return 68% of their minutes, 75% of their scoring, and 67% of their rebounding.
Kalin Lucas – Kalin Lucas is great double-threat point guard. He shoots 56% inside the arc, 40% outside the arc, and 78% from the line. He takes more than twice as many shots inside the arc than outside and takes about 4 free throws per 10 field goal attempts. He’s average at turning it over and a great assist man, all of this adding up for an offensive rating of 116.2.
Draymond Green and Delvon Roe– I grouped these two together because of their great similarities. Both take less than their fair share of shot usage (18.4 and 13.3%) and have great offensive ratings (124.0 and 113.7) due to outstanding 2-point shooting. Lastly, they are both ridiculously talented rebounders. Green grabs 10.2% on offense and 24.7% on defense. Roe grabs 14.1 on offense and 20.0 on defense. Their defensive numbers are in Butch and Krabbenhoft range and their offensive is better than Butch during his junior and senior seasons.
What Michigan State is really good at:
1. Shooting 2s. MSU is 7th in 2-point shooting percentage (56.1%).
2. Getting a hand in the face of shooters and altering shots. They give up 32.1% shooting behind the arc (103rd) and 43.9% inside (62nd).
3. Pump Faking. They are 8th in the nation at avoiding blocks, with a rate a bit less than 1 block for every 20 2-pointers they attempt.
4. Rebounding. Per usual, they are 8th in the nation at offensive rebounding, grabbing 42.1% of the opportunities, and 57th on defense, grabbing 70.6%.
5. Not sending opponents to the line. They are 70th in the nation, sending an opponent to the line 4 times for every 13 shot attempts.
What Michigan State is really bad at:
1. Forcing turnovers. They force a turnover just a hair less than one in five. That puts them at 223rd in the nation.
When MSU has the ball: MSU has scored a great 1.15 PPP in their first 14 games, while UW has given up a great 0.92 in their first 14.
When UW has the ball: MSU gave up a good 0.94 in their first 14 games, while UW has scored a great 1.18 in their first 14.
Pace: MSU has played at 71 possessions per game so far in their first 12 games compared to UW’s 61 in their first 14 games.
1. Lucas doesn’t reach 13 points. I like Hughes and Taylor to rattle him into a bad game.
2. Leuer scores more than 15. He’s been in a funk lately and I think he breaks out for a big game against the small MSU frontline.
3. Badgers hold MSU to 50% or less inside the arc. MSU is the seventh best 2-point shooting team in the country, but Wisconsin is the 32nd best defending it. I think defense wins out on this one.
My Prediction: The Badgers make Izzo cry again, squeaking out a 69-62 in 65 possessions.