No. 13 Michigan Wolverines (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten) host No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (12-4, 1-2 Big Ten) in a battle of Big Ten bragging rights on Sunday.
Both teams have quality teams this season and both will be looking to make serious noise come tournament time.
Here is everything you need to know to get yourself ready for a classic Big Ten brawl.
Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI
When: Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM ET
Live Stream: FirstRowSports.tv
Betting Line: No line available
Michigan forward John Horford is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Wisconsin guard Dan Fahey is questionable with a shoulder injury.
Both injuries are according to usatoday.com.
What’s At Stake?
Wisconsin is coming off two-straight losses, so a third would put them well behind the eight ball in arguably the toughest conference in the country. It would give them their third Big 10 loss of the season, three more losses than the leader Michigan State.
The Badgers need to stop the bleeding, and defeating an opponent like Michigan on the road would be great for their resume.
Expect their best effort.
Michigan is coming off a loss to No. 12 Indiana. A victory would put them at 3-1 in the conference and 13-3 overall.
The Wolverines have to be able to take care of home court advantage in the rugged Big Ten. Every team in the league is above .500 and there are only two teams that don’t have double-digit wins.
What They’re Saying
Detroit Free Press says that the game will be a maize out.
“Sunday's Michigan basketball game against Wisconsin will be a "maize out" at the Crisler Center. There also will be a halftime ceremony featuring former stars Cazzie and Campy Russell, Rudy Tomjanovich, Phil Hubbard and Daniel Horton.”
Wisconsin Player to Watch: Jordan Taylor
Jordan Taylor makes this Badgers team go. He has struggled at times this season with scoring consistency. This isn’t anything new for him because his career-high shooting percentage is only 43 percent.
But, this year has seen a dramatic decrease in his statistics. Last year he averaged 18 points, 43 percent shooting from the floor and 43 percent shooting beyond the arc. This season he has scored 13.7 points, 40 percent shooting from the floor and 34 percent beyond the arc.
It’s time for him to be the senior leader that he is and make this losing streak stop.
Michigan Player to Watch: Trey Burke
Trey Burke has been sensational in his freshman season in Ann Arbor. He is second on the team in scoring (13.7) and leads the team in assists (5.2). He has been a great addition to a talented Wolverine bunch.
He shot 26.7 percent from the floor in their last game against Indiana for 10 points. He played out of control against the Hoosiers all game long.
Burke will be ready to redeem himself.
Key Matchup: Taylor vs. Burke
While this game will ultimately come down to role players, Taylor vs. Burke will be a battle of experience and inexperience that could very well determine the outcome late in the game.
Who do you have winning the game?
How will Burke handle his poor outing vs. Indiana? Will Taylor stop the bleeding for the Badgers?
Luckily for Burke, he has many other guard-oriented weapons that can save him if he struggles.
Prediction: Michigan 66, Wisconsin 61
I like Michigan a lot this season and it starts with their role players.
Hardaway Jr. and Burke give you the star power, but Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Jordan Morgan and Evan Smotrycz give you additional pieces that make the Wolverines a contender in the Big 10.
Their studs will score their share of points, but keep an eye on the little things that go unnoticed like taking charges, diving for loose balls and being leaders on the court and in the huddle.