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Wisconsin Basketball: 3 Keys to a Badgers Victory vs. Michigan State

Here’s how the Wisconsin basketball program can take down Michigan State on Friday night.



Wisconsin Badgers basketball
Jan 23, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Elijah Hawkins (0) works towards the basket as Wisconsin Badgers guard Chucky Hepburn (23) defends during the first half at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

After a 61-59  win against Minnesota Tuesday night, Wisconsin basketball returns home tonight for a re-match with Michigan State, who the Badgers defeated 70-57 in East Lansing on December 5. Michigan State has not played since last Sunday so they will be fresh coming into this game.

Can the Badgers get a good conference win and protect their home court? Tip time is 7:30 PM on FS1. Here are the keys to victory tonight.

Wisconsin Basketball Must Have Good Free Throws and Rebounding

In the first game between these teams, Wisconsin basketball dominated rebounding and free throws. The Badger out-rebounded the Spartans 36-22 including 11-5 on the offensive glass. They also shot twice as many free throws and made them all.

If Wisconsin can get to the line, I trust they can seal this game there. I would be surprised to see a double digit win. Michigan State is playing better as of late. I believe they are a top four team in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin Basketball Has to Contain Tyson Walker

Everything the Spartans do is around senior guard Tyson Walker. He is one of top scorers in the Big Ten at 19.7 points a game. Most games, he is shooting 10-20 times a game. Tom Izzo trusts him with the ball in his hands late in games and shot clocks. Walker has shot the ball 99 times more than the next player.

Walker was 9-20 form the field in the first meeting. Wisconsin basketball did a great job taking away the supporting cast. I think this is the approach the Badgers should take. Walker is not one of faster guards Chucky Hepburn has faced recently. I think Hepburn can hold his own.

The Badgers Need to Have The Better Role Players

Wisconsin basketball doesn’t have one particular scorer. I think that is a big advantage for them every night. Max Klesmit has been a stud the last two weeks, but he was not the go-to man Tuesday night. That was AJ Storr. The Badgers can change that up every single game.

Whoever is the go-to player tonight, the supporting cast needs to help and hold their own. Michigan State will be relying on Jaden Akins, A.J. Hoggard, Malik Hall, and Tre Holloman to support Tyson Walker. I think if the Badgers limit this group, it will be hard for Walker to do it all himself.

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Dylan began as a staff writer for Badger Notes in August 2023. He has written about Wisconsin Badger Football and Men's Basketball since May 2020. Dylan's work has been featured on Yard Barker, NewsBreak, and Bleacher Reports