The brand of basketball coming out of the Big 10 these days is no thing of beauty, but the Michigan State Spartans have taken the defense-first approach to new levels ths season.
The Spartans broke open a close game in the final minutes, dispatching Wisconsin, 61-50 on Sunday afternoon in East Lansing.
Wisconsin shot a pathetic 31% for the game, but hit 7 of 21 3-pointers while Michigan St. missed on 7 of 9 attempts from beyond the arc. The Spartans' first long-range hit was timely, a Chris Allen 24-footer which gave the them a 52-47 lead with 2:40 left to play, followed by a Kalin Lucas trey at 1:57 which kept Michigan State safely ahead down the stretch.
Lucas led the way with 17 points, followed by Goran Suton with 16.
Michigan State's win ended a five-game Badger winning streak, which commenced after they had lost six in a row. Wisconsin (8-7, 17-10) hasn't beaten a ranked foe outside their conference, which puts their invitation to the field of 65 on very shaky ground.
The Spartans improved their Big 10 lead to a full game over 10-4 Purdue, as they improved to 11-3 and 21-5 overall.
While Michigan St., Purdue and Illinois all seems sure to go to the NCAA tourney, Ohio St., Penn St., Wisconsin and Minnesota are all vying for he 4th and maybe 5th invite for the Big 10.