Michigan State wins outright Big Ten championship with thriller win at Wisconsin
The Spartans finished the regular season with 12 consecutive wins
The Spartans will head into an earlier-than-usual Big Ten tournament with the No. 1 seed. This is Tom Izzo's eighth regular season championship and the first outright win since 2009, a season that finished in a Final Four run. With a double-bye and the No. 1 seed, Michigan State will make its debut in Madison Square Garden on Friday afternoon, March 2 in the quarterfinals.
The Badgers put up a fight and kept both Ohio State and Purdue in the mix for a share of first place thanks to a breakout game from freshman Brad Davison. Battling through the pain of a shoulder injury, Davison lit up the Spartans for a career-high 30 points. Davison, the first Wisconsin freshman to record a 30 point game since Sam Okey in 1996, had it going with a step-back jumper in the second half as the Badgers climbed back into the game and, for a moment, held the lead.
Brad Davison is a gamer.— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 25, 2018
A career-high 30 points for @braddavi34 today vs. #2 Michigan State. Davison is the first #Badgers freshman with a 30pt game since Sam Okey (30) vs. Milwaukee in 1996. #OnWisconsinpic.twitter.com/mixUO5D9C7
Winston led Michigan with 20 points on 6 for 6 shooting from three, stepping up in a game where Jackson and Bridges combined to shoot 24 percent from the field (Jackson 3 for 10, Bridges 3 for 15). Jackson still had a huge impact on the game with 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks, including this one with less than two minutes remaining on what was then a four-point game.
Good luck trying to score against Jaren Jackson Jr. pic.twitter.com/AgdUGlEmZD— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) February 25, 2018
While there's plenty left on the line in the Big Ten tournament, which starts Wednesday, a look ahead to the NCAA Tournament picture has Michigan State on the 2-line. While the Spartans probably need some teams to lose to get a 1-seed, what we will likely see is this team being among the most popular picks to make it to the Final Four and cut down the nets in San Antonio. A strength of schedule issue could prevent them from being a one-seed, but in terms of talent there aren't four teams better suited to make a deep run in March.
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