When No. 7 Michigan State hosted No. 15 Wisconsin last night, the announcers seemed to spend the whole game yelling "And one!"
At one point, Michigan State had four straight possessions that resulted in and-ones. By dominating Wisconsin throughout on their way to a 69-55 win, Michigan State demonstrated that they are just plain good right now.
This win was not only impressive because it was the largest margin of victory against Wisconsin since Michigan State's championship season in 2000, but also because it came right after the victory at then-No. 3 Ohio State, which snapped their 39-game home win streak.
The Spartans have now recorded back-to-back huge statement wins.
The Spartans improved to 16-0 at home, where the Izzone is rocking like old times. The victory is also their sixth against ranked opponents this season, the most by any team in the NCAA.
This team has head coach Tom Izzo giddy, which is rare. These Spartans are playing some of the best defense in the country, and they are crashing the boards—vintage Izzo.
Sophomore guard Keith Appling scored 20 points against Wisconsin, which he hadn't done since December. Izzo called Appling a "one-man fast break."
The Spartans had 15 fast-break points in one half against Wisconsin. Most teams would be thrilled to get 15 fast-break points against the Badgers in two complete games.
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Appling also continued his stellar defense this season. While Appling was guarding Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin's star point guard only had two points.
Senior Draymond Green was just Draymond Green, which translates to Big Ten Player of the Year status. Green, who leads the Big Ten in double-doubles, had yet another with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Michigan State fans' favorite player to pick on, senior Austin Thornton really stepped his game up against Wisconsin. He scored six quick points on 3 of 3 shooting and collected five rebounds.
Thornton has come a long way from when every Spartan fan cringed when he touched the ball. He is becoming a leader on and off the court.
Junior center Derrick Nix was effective when he got the ball down in the post. He shot 5 for 7 and scored 12 points, after starting center Adreian Payne was ineffective.
This is a fun Spartan team to watch, and the players have surpassed everyone's expectations this year. I look forward to seeing what they do in March—Izzo's best month.