Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sparty vs. Bucky

Michigan State had been struggling as of late, and had fallen out of the AP Poll's Top 25 for the first time in over four years and were barely ranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll at #24. They were taking on a Bo Ryan led Badgers team who has been inconsistent thus far, but beat then-ranked #13 Minnesota at home and had a solid win against their highway I-94 rivals, Marquette.

I figured this would be a game in the 50's that might reach the 60's, but I did not know that we would need overtime to reach that plateau.

Wisconsin started out strong on the road and led by 10 early in the game at 19-9. However, Tom Izzo had other plans in the second half.

Jordan Taylor; a player I personally got to see play at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School in the Minnesota basketball state championship in which he led his team I played for, St. Thomas Academy, had a great game and was the team leader against Michigan State in points (21), rebounds (7), and assists (3).

The badgers imploded at the end of the game committing turnovers left and right as Kalin Lucas had a chance at the end of the game to win it on a breakaway layup that was blocked at the rim by Keaton Nankivil (17 pts, 3 blks).

This forced the game into overtime where Michigan State did just enough, with good free throw shooting, to earn a three point victory. Leading the Spartans in scoring was Draymond Green who had a MONSTER game with 26 points, 9 rebounds and shot 7-9 from the free throw line. The aforementioned Kalin Lucas chipped in with 17 points and 6 assists as well.

This might just be the game that Michigan State needed to get the train back on track, and there is no one in the country that wants to play Tom Izzo and Co. in March anytime soon. After what should be a gimme at home against Northwestern, they will travel on the road to Illinois and Purdue who are ranked #16 and #8 respectively. We should know more about this team after those games to talk about yet another late run in the Tourney for Sparty.

Wisconsin plays Illinois next and has three unranked opponents in a row after that. If they go 3-1 or 4-0 during that stretch, they may have figured things out enough to be a contender for a top 4 finish and even top 3 finish in the Big Ten.

1 comment:

CJ said...

Hey Tim, nice article writing about the highly-touted, but not proven yet big-ten. Ohio State is gonna run away with it, but Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan State, Purdue, and Illinois will be fun to watch to see who can give Ohio State a run for their money. Watched to Big East Ball on Big Monday, Big Ten is not even close to the Big East in talent.

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