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Big Ten Tournament, Wisconsin vs. Michigan State: how to watch, game preview and open thread

The Badgers open up the postseason with a quarterfinal matchup with the Spartans.

Wisconsin v Michigan State Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

After an exciting first two days of the Big Ten Tournament, the 2-seed Wisconsin Badgers (24-6 overall, 15-5 Big Ten) finally get to take the court on Friday evening. UW will take on 7-seed Michigan State (21-11 overall, 11-9 Big Ten) who survived a late Maryland Terrapins comeback on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Spartans had a 20-point lead with 13 minutes to go in the game and then started turning the ball over like that was their actual offensive strategy. MSU had 11 turnovers in the second half and the Terps battled back to within three points, but couldn’t quite get over the hump. Freshman Max Christie led the way for Tom Izzo’s crew by scoring 16 points while backup point guard A.J. Hoggard had six assists, to only one turnover, in limited action.

Wisconsin and Michigan State are incredibly familiar with each other, not only this season in which they’ve played twice already but overall in the last decade. There will be few surprises in this one and, based on their two matchups this season, it’ll probably come down to who is shooting better from long range. It will especially be important for UW to close out on MSU’s shooters, as the Badgers are usually a poor-shooting team on offense so they’ll want to make sure the Spartans aren’t getting open looks.

The Badgers, and especially Chucky Hepburn, will need to try and clamp down on Hoggard. In their two meetings this year, Hoggard has 15 assists to only four turnovers and in the game at the Kohl Center he got to the free throw line at will.

Johnny Davis has scored 25 points in both games against Michigan State and, based on what we know about him as a competitor, will probably be looking to exceed that number on the big stage at the Big Ten Tournament. All signs point to Davis being fully healthy and ready for this game, although you’d imagine that the only way he’d miss this game is if his ankle had been removed from his body.

How to watch/listen

TV: BTN, 5:30 p.m. CT, Brandon Gaudin, Robbie Hummel, Andy Katz

Streaming: FOX Sports App; Watch FOX Sports

Radio/Satellite: WIBA 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 84; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.

DraftKings Line: Wisconsin -3
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 53%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 56%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • The Badgers have won the league tourney in 2004, 2008 and, most recently, 2015.
  • This season is the tenth year that the Badgers have been a top-two seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
  • The Badgers are 8-3 all-time as a No. 2 seed, winning the 2004 Big Ten Tournament from that position.
  • MSU is 4-2 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament as a No. 7 seed.
  • Wisconsin’s all-time BTT record is 26-20 (.565).
  • For his career, MSU head coach Tom Izzo is 114-52 (.687) in March .
  • The Badgers are 8-8 all-time in Big Ten tournament games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
  • Wisconsin is 5-5 in the Big Ten tournament under Greg Gard, making three semifinals appearances and reaching the 2017 championship game in Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin’s three tournament titles trail only Michigan State (six) and Ohio State (four). The Badgers’ seven championship game appearances trails only Ohio State’s nine trips to the finals.
  • Wisconsin has had three players earn Most Outstanding Player honors at the Big Ten tournament, including Devin Harris (2004), Marcus Landry (2008) and Frank Kaminsky (2015).
  • UW has had 13 Badgers make the All-Tournament Team. Most recently, Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ in 2017.
  • UW is 4-6 vs. Michigan State in the BTT and 67-86 overall.
  • The Badgers have won three of the last four against the Spartans, including the last two in East Lansing.
  • Friday marks the 48th meeting between Wisconsin and Michigan State since 2000, marking the Badgers’ most-played opponent in that span (Illinois is next at 43 meetings).
  • Johnny Davis has averaged 19.0 ppg in three games against MSU, scoring 25 in each of this season’s match ups.
  • In eight career games vs. Michigan State, Brad Davison is averaging 12.2 ppg, including 22 points in this season’s earlier meeting in Madison.
  • The only other player on the roster, outside of Davison and Davis, who has played in a BTT game is Tyler Wahl. In two games, he is averaging 5.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 2.0 spg.
  • Greg Gard earned Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second time in the last three seasons. He is just the second UW coach to win the award joining 4x winner Bo Ryan.
  • Davis becomes the fourth Badger to be named B1G POY, joining Frank Kaminsky (2015), Alando Tucker (2007) and Devin Harris (2004).
  • Since 2002, Wisconsin has had 11 different players earn a total of 17 first-team All-Big Ten selections – the most in the conference. Purdue and Ohio State are second with 15.
  • The Badgers won 15 Big Ten wins for just the third time in program history.
  • Wisconsin is 12-2 away from home this year, including 9-2 in true road games, leading the Big Ten in wins in both categories.

Potential Starters


  • Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 5
  • Steven Crowl, 7-foot, sophomore, forward, No. 22
  • Chucky Hepburn, 6-foot-2, freshman, guard, No. 23
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 34

Michigan State

  • Tyson Walker, 6-foot, junior, guard, No. 2
  • Max Christie, 6-foot-6, freshman, guard, No. 5
  • Joey Hauser, 6-foot-9, redshirt senior, forward, No. 10
  • Marcus Bingham, Jr., 7-foot, senior, forward, No. 34
  • Gabe Brown, 6-foot-8, senior, forward, No. 44