The Wisconsin Badgers need a win Thursday night against the Michigan State Spartans. A win would assure them a first-round bye in the Big 10 tournament and keep them from having to play more games than necessary in an extremely talented conference. The key to Wisconsin’s success against the Spartans: forward Jared Berggren.
Wisconsin is not an offensive-minded team. Berggren accounts for a majority of the Badgers’ offensive firepower and Wisconsin normally wins when he has a good game. He is averaging twelve points a game, two blocks and seven rebounds. He’s an all-around good player, but his offense is what allows the Badgers to keep winning in tough situations.
The Badgers are a defensive-minded team and play some of the best defense in the country. Defense and out-rebounding opponents are how Wisconsin has beaten good teams all season. However, Michigan State is also a very good defensive team, so you can expect a low scoring game that finishes with a close margin of victory, which is the reason that Berggren’s offense will be so crucial to the Badgers.
Tom Izzo knows that Berggren is the key to the Badgers offense and will have him guarded closely and double-teamed all night. Wisconsin will need help from other players to knock down shots and rebound in order to take the Spartans’ defensive focus off of Berggren so he can play his game. If the Badgers can give Berggren a little help offensively, Wisconsin’s strong defense should be enough to hold back Michigan State and give them the crucial road victory.