Wisconsin (+11) Michigan State: The quarterfinal round is the most dangerous game for any high seed in a major conference tournament, given that the lower-seeded opponent rarely looks like a legitimate threat, and is carrying the momentum from its win the previous day.
Just as important, top-seeded Michigan State is playing a game, with the stakes not much more significant than any other time this season, while ninth-seeded Wisconsin is playing to save its season, and enter with more desperation than the Spartans can possibly summon.
While Michigan State may be the favorite to win the national championship — for so many reasons, including two soon-to-be lottery picks (Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr.), one of the nation’s top-ranked defenses, one of best perimeter-shooting units, and one of the deepest benches — the Spartans have become too comfortable with flipping a switch during games, and recently have struggled to put together complete games, knowing their talent will carry them to a win.
In Michigan State’s past nine wins of its 12-game win streak, the Spartans have won six games by six points or fewer, including a three-point win over 12th-seeded Iowa, and a five-point victory last weekend over Wisconsin, in which the Badgers shot just 36 percent from the field, and still had a chance to win in the final minutes.
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