#13 Michigan vs #18 Wisconsin: Preview and Prediction

January 8th, 2012

No. 18 WISCONSIN (12-4, 1-2 Big Ten)


No. 13 MICHIGAN (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten)


Time/TV: 1:30 p.m./CBS


Location: Crisler Arena


RPI Rankings:

Wisconsin 60

Michigan 35


Line: Michigan -1.5









Wisconsin Players to Watch: PG Jordan Taylor, 6-1 Sr. (13.7 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.1 rpg); G/F Ryan Evans, 6-6 Jr. (10.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 apg); F/C Jared Berggren, 6-10 Jr. (11.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 35.6% 3s). Taylor’s scoring average is down 4.4 point per game from a year ago, despite a 28-point performance in the Badgers’ overtime loss to Michigan State on Tuesday.


Michigan Players to Watch: G Tim Hardaway Jr., 6-6 So. (15.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.7 apg); PG Trey Burke, 5-11 Fr. (13.7 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.5 rpg); F Jordan Morgan, 6-8 So. (7.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 68% FG). The Wolverines are thin under the basket, but Morgan has given Michigan a steady presence inside. The Detroit native had 12 points and nine boards in Wednesday’s loss to Indiana.


Storyline: Michigan played well but dropped a 73-71 decision at Indiana on Wednesday, ending the Wolverines’ 7-game winning streak. Wisconsin has lost two straight – both at home. The Badgers haven’t lost three consecutive games since 2008-09.


Keys to Victory: Wisconsin has to find a way to score more points. Taylor is shooting 40 percent from the field, and Evans and Berggren have shown glimpses but have been inconsistent. The Badgers are shooting only 44.3 percent as a team. When Michigan is shooting well, which it usually is, it is tough to beat. The Wolverines are shooting 36.9 percent from the 3-point line, despite Hardaway’s struggles from behind the arc, and they’re even better at home.


The Bottom Line: The Badgers have dominated the series of late, but they don’t have enough firepower to compete with an underrated Michigan team.


The Pick: Michigan 69, Wisconsin 58.