The things which strike me as most significant heading into a big contest for both teams.
– Can’t put the Badgers on the line. They’ve been pretty consistent over the course of the whole season…averaging right about 22 FTA per game in both league play and overall. They’re not a team which drives the ball relentlessly or possesses Purdue style behemoths who draw contact regularly. Yet, in the game at Madison, UW shot an insane amount of free throws (36).
– Push the pace when available. As always against UW, this is easier said than done. A big part of Wisconsin’s turnaround IMO is due to a renewed emphasis on running their Swing offense efficiently and thus controling tempo. This is unlikely to be a high possession game no matter what, but it’s to MSU’s advantage to push whenever possible. That means MSU has to control their defensive boards.
-MSU has to deal with Nigel Hayes. He’s a tough matchup under any circumstances but with Kenny Goins out, the challenge is even stiffer because Marvin Clark now needs to step into a larger role than he’s occupied all season. Is he ready for extended minutes? One way I’d like to see MSU go at this matchup is to use DD in the post early versus Hayes. Hayes is a smart player and not a guy normally given to a ton of mistakes but there’s a chance you could get him in some foul trouble if DD is able to get some post chances against him.