Michigan State wins outright Big Ten championship with thriller win at Wisconsin

Michigan State closed its regular season with its 12th consecutive win, beating out Wisconsin on the road in a 68-63 thriller to claim the outright Big Ten title for 2017-18. 

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. 

But Michigan State won the final minutes of the game with Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson and big-time shotmaking from Cassius Winston

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. 

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.  

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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