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Wisconsin at Michigan State

February 20, 2007

College Basketball - Wisconsin Badgers (-1, 120) at Michigan State Spartans 7:00 PM

Alando Tucker of WisconsinFor the first time in its history, Wisconsin is the number one basketball team in the country in the AP poll, no small feat when you consider the Badgers have more NCAA boxing championships than Final Four appearances. For all the hard work that has paid off to get to this point, they have their absolute toughest week of the season from a scheduling perspective, starting tonight vs. Michigan State at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

The final two road games of the regular season are what lay ahead, with physical Michigan State and the team that is ranked number one in the Coaches poll, Ohio State later this week. Bo Ryan knows his team can't worry about a trip to Columbus, since an unfocused one in East Lansing could produce horrible results.

Wisconsin is riding the shoulders of leading scorer Alando Tucker. The senior has gotten lost in the middle of the season for player of the year talk with Kevin Durant on television frequently. Tucker can reenergize his campaign this week, just by matching recent outputs. Tucker was gone seven straight games of scoring 20 or more points, the longest in school history since sharp shooter Clarence Sherrod in 1971. Additionally, Tucker is averaging 24.3 points a game on the road, which is almost six points more then he puts up at the Kohl Center. "If there is a player who was ever responsible for his team being ranked No. 1, it's Alando Tucker," Ryan said. "If there is an MVP, it's him."

Michigan State would like nothing better then to spoil the Badgers newfound ranking. The Spartans only home loss (17-1, 9-4 ATS) came to another number one team earlier this year against Ohio State. After losing four straight, Michigan State has won the first two of a four game homestand. The Spartans can match-up with the Badgers at a number of positions and can certainly rebound with them as +8 margin shows. The question for Tom Izzo is who can guard Tucker. The Spartans are 1.5-point underdogs at sportsbook.com and are 20-40 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 since 1997.

By no means is this one an easy one for Wisconsin, since Michigan State is 10-2 ATS in home games off a win by 10 points or more over a Big Ten rival and the Badgers are just 4-13 ATS in road games after playing 5 consecutive games as favorite.

Discuss tonight's college basketball betting card in the SCI sports betting forum.


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