The NBA has been a Christmas Day staple for many years, but this year, hoops fans also will be treated to some Big Ten action with a battle of ranked teams —Michigan State and Wisconsin — leading things off.
The 12th-ranked Spartans are coming off a 14-point loss to Northwestern, but still rank second in the country in assists both per game and per possession, with six players averaging at least 2.3 assists per game.
The No. 9 Badgers also have had solid flow on offense, ranking 26th in the country in points on a per-possession basis while rating 10th in team 3-point shooting percentage. And Wisconsin is committing the third-fewest turnovers per game of any team in the country, with 8.5.
Michigan State has been impressive on the glass this season, ranking 19th among Division I teams in rebound rate while both teams rank in the top 25 in defensive rebound percentage, preventing opponents from getting second chances.
Wisconsin has played only one road game this season and that was a 67-65 loss to Marquette. Being tasked with winning in East Lansing for the first time since 2004 will be too much for the Badgers against a Michigan State team that has four players averaging more than 10 points per game, topped by forward Joey Hauser’s 12.1.
The play: Michigan State on the moneyline, +115.