Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spartans and WON, sweep rivals back to Madison

Appling rips off 20 against Taylor (11) (Photo by: MSU Spartans Facebook)
This season just keeps on getting better and better.

Michigan State outworked Wisconsin for a 69-55 win giving them the regular season sweep. Their first since they beat the Badgers 4 times in 2000. "That win says a lot," Draymond Green said. "Wisconsin's not an easy team to play. It's not the most talented team Bo Ryan has had, but it's still a very good one." The game did not have the same drama as the two football games or previous match up in Madison as the Spartans were in control for much of the game. 

The win represents the 6th win over a ranked opponent. The most in college basketball this season. Not Kentucky, not Syracuse and not Duke or UNC but Michigan State holds the most wins over top 25 teams. Feels like the Spartans have hit a nice gear and are just rolling opponents. This team looked even better tonight then they did against the Buckeyes and that's a hard performance to match. After a slow start that had MSU down 8-12, the Spartans went on a 14-0 run that included many transition scoring opportunities. The 12 point lead at half was increased to 20 in the 2nd half. The Badgers did fight back late in the game, but the deficit was too large to overcome.

The home crowd roared after every defensive stop and hard drive to basket. "The crowd was awesome," Izzo said. "I told our players at halftime, 'You're bringing this crowd back like old times." The Spartans (21-5) are now 16-0 at home. MSU is tied atop the B1G with Ohio State at 10-3.

Did we get a taste of what the Final Four run will look like? Draymond Green and Keith Appling going off for 20 points each makes this Spartan team unbeatable. Green along with his 20 points grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 5 assists. Appling seems to have gotten something back, great things can only happen if he hits grove again. A big part of the win like last game was the dominant play of one of the Spartan BIGS. Derrick Nix was the bench for Tom Izzo. Nix scored 12 of the total 14 bench points. The Badgers could only muster 7 total.

The Spartans offense and defense has been lights out in this now 4 game winning streak. Tonight they shot 52% from the field and stifled the Badgers offense to 34%. Badger star PG Jordan Taylor was held to 3 of 13 shooting. Interestingly enough the Badgers did out rebound the Spartans 33-27. However, the aggressive plays to the basket on offense lead to a plethora of game breaking 'and ones.'

Izzo has got this group focused. They are playing like a very veteran group, far from the team that started out this year. At this point no team in the B1G can match up with the Spartans. This Sunday at Purdue expect another tough effort from the Boilers, but Izzo is on a mission and Draymond Green is on a mission. Expecting a victory every time out is the only way.

Speaking of Green. He is the B1G Player of the Year! It's over, no debate! No one is playing better or means more to their team. Pencil him in for All-American as well.  

All Day-Day Long   (Photo by: MSU Spartans Facebook)

Big Ten Conference Standings

#6 Ohio State10-322-4
#8 Michigan State10-321-5
#19 Michigan9-419-7
#17 Wisconsin8-519-7
#20 Indiana8-620-6
Penn State4-1012-15

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