Michigan State survived an upset bid by Wisconsin on Friday for the second time in a week to advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Spartans pulled out the win, 63-60, and will play either Michigan or Nebraska at 2 p.m. ET Saturday.
The Spartans got 20 points from Miles Bridges and 17 from Cassius Winston to outlast the Badgers in a game that was even closer than the 68-63 matchup they played on Sunday. Ethan Happ led all scorers with 22 points and carried a Wisconsin offense that actually shot better from the field (46 to 43 percent) and on threes (35 to 31).
Wisconsin wasn’t supposed to be able to hang with Michigan State. I sure didn’t think the Badgers had what it took to repeat their quality performance on Sunday:
Michigan State is way better than Wisconsin, and I think the game on Sunday was a fluke. Their season turnover percentage of 17 ranks 68th in the country, but they only turned the ball over on 6 percent of possessions against Michigan State. That certainly qualifies as fluky. That game also featured a 30-point outburst by Davison. That was only the second time this season he’d scored 20 or more points. Unless Wisconsin plays as fundamentally well as it did on Sunday and combines that with an outburst from Davison, I don’t think the Badgers have much of a chance against Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., Cassius Winston and Michigan State.
But the Spartans were able to just barely keep a lid on the Badgers, as Brad Davison’s 2-pointer was Wisconsin’s only basket in the final two minutes. Matt McQuaid’s 3 with 1:36 left was Michigan State’s final basket, but Brad Davison’s long three at the buzzer caught nothing, and the Spartans are moving on.