MADISON, Wis. - As far as Wisconsin basketball rivalries go, the annual match-ups with Michigan State ranks near the top. On Sunday, UW and MSU will convene for the 125th time when the Badgers head to the Breslin Center riding a current five-game winning streak.
Before the rivalry is renewed, BadgerBlitz.com takes a stroll down memory lane and revisits every game over the past three seasons. The following are quick recaps of each game since the 2005-06 year.
No. 7 Michigan State at No. 24 Wisconsin
Jan. 8, 2006
Final score: 82-63 Wisconsin
UW top performer(s): Kammron Taylor- 27 pts, Alando Tucker- 17 pts
MSU top performer(s): Shannon Brown- 31 pts, Drew Neitzel- 14 pts
Quick recap: UW had started league play with an easy 66-52 win over Iowa three days earlier and continued to ride that momentum into its meeting with the Spartans. Behind a hot shooting Taylor, who tied his career high with 27 points, and Tucker, the Badgers opened up a ten-point halftime lead and never let it slip. Even with Shannon Brown's 31-point performance, the Spartans were unable to get into a flow and lost for the seventh time in its past eight meetings with the Badgers.
No. 25 Wisconsin at No. 23 Michigan State
March 2, 2006
Final score: 74-65 Michigan State
UW top performer(s): Alando Tucker- 23 pts
MSU top performer(s): Paul Davis- 27 pts, Maurice Ager- 19pts, Shannon Brown- 18 pts
Quick recap: This was not the same UW team that had dismantled the Spartans nearly three months prior. After losing both Marcus Landry and Greg Stiemsma due to off-court issues, the Badgers were limping into March.
While playing at the Breslin Center is never an easy task, Paul Davis made it more troublesome by dominating the paint to the tune of 27 points. The Badgers jumped out to a quick 23-13 lead midway through the opening 20 minutes, but was unable to sustain the momentum as MSU stormed back to earn the nine point win.
No. 1 Wisconsin at Michigan State
Feb. 20, 2007
Final score: 64-55 Michigan State
UW top performer(s): Marcus Landry- 18 pts, Alando Tucker- 16 pts
MSU top performer(s): Drew Neitzel- 28 pts, Travis Walton- 13 pts, Raymar Morgan- 12 pts
Quick recap: Wisconsin went into the locker room with a one-point lead after reaching A.P. No. 1 status for the first time in school history, but Drew Neitzel simply had other plans for the Spartans in the second half. The junior guard finished with 28 points, including several clutch shots from distance with less than five minutes to play. With UW locked in a tight battle with Ohio State for a shot at the league title, the loss was all the more devastating.
Michigan State at No. 5 Wisconsin
March 3, 2007
Final score: 52-50 Wisconsin
UW top performer(s): Alando Tucker- 26 pts
MSU top performer(s): Drew Neitzel- 22 pts, Goran Suton- 16 pts
Quick recap: After suffering back-to-back losses for the first time all season against MSU and Ohio State, the Badgers returned home for an emotional senior day tilt against the Spartans. While Kammron Taylor only managed to chip in eight points, he was the Badgers savior. The senior hit a three-point shot with time running out to seal the win. Taylor only hit 2-of-9 shots during the contest, but he hit the biggest one when it mattered most.
Michigan State vs. No. 4 Wisconsin
March 9, 2007 (Big Ten tournament)
Final score: 70-57 Wisconsin
UW top performer(s): Alando Tucker- 21 pts, Kammron Taylor- 11 pts
MSU top performer(s): Goran Suton- 14 pts, Raymar Morgan- 11pts, Drew Neitzel- 10 pts
Quick recap: Facing the same team for the third time in just a matter of days, Wisconsin saved its best performance for the last meeting of the year. Even though national player of the year candidate Alando Tucker was held to just three first half points, UW still maintained a 15-point lead at the break. In the second half, when the Spartans made a run that cut the lead to five, it was Tucker who took over and got his team in the conference semi-finals with 18 second half points.
No. 20 Michigan State at No. 5 Wisconsin
Feb. 28, 2008
Final score: 57-42 Wisconsin
UW top performer(s): Brian Butch- 16 pts, Trevon Hughes- 13 pts
MSU top performer(s): Goran Suton- 14 pts, Kalin Lucas- 10 pts
Quick recap: Brian Butch hit a career-high four three-pointers and the Badgers only committed one turnover in its only meeting with MSU of the season. But in this one, it was the UW defense that stifled sharpshooter Drew Neitzel to 1-of-10 shooting from the field. The win gave the Badgers its 14th conference win, setting a new school record at the time, en route to its third conference crown in the past seven years.
No. 19 Michigan State vs. No. 6 Wisconsin
March 15, 2008
Final score: 65-63 Wisconsin
UW top performer(s): Brian Butch- 19 pts, Marcus Landry- 18 pts, Joe Krabbenhoft- 11 pts
MSU top performer(s): Drew Neitzel- 26 pts, Kalin Lucas- 18 pts
Quick recap: It was almost the perfect finish to a basketball game for a team that had won several games due to its defense. Michael Flowers intercepted a pass at mid-court with less than a minute to play and drove for a lay-up that gave UW a 65-63 lead, a score that would become final.
After trailing by 12 points in the second half, it was UW's defense and knack for drawing the fouls that allowed the Badgers back into the game. In fact, the Spartans were whistled 30 times and saw four players foul out in the second half. The win gave Wisconsin a chance to claim regular season and conference tournament titles as it sent them to the championship game against Illinois.
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