WHO: No. 9 Michigan State (20-3, 9-1) vs. Wisconsin (18-5, 5-5)
WHAT: Big Ten matchup
WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 9, 1 p.m. (CBS)
WHERE: Madison, Wisc. (Kohl Center)
FUN FACT: DOMINANCE
Michigan State has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two Big Ten foe.
MATCHUP TO WATCH FOR: ADREIAN PAYNE VS. FRANK KAMINSKY
MSU senior Adreian Payne returned from his nagging foot injury in the Spartans’ victory over Penn State on Thursday, and while it was evident that he wasn’t quite yet back to the Payne that was dominating defenses prior to his departure, it was clear that his presence was missed. Not only does Payne give the Spartans another big man that can stretch the floor, but he is the lone back-to-the-basket force for MSU basketball. During practice earlier this week, Payne said that he was in better shape than he thought he would be in during the Penn State game, but his wind was not yet where it needed to be.
Frank Kaminsky is a guy that could exploit Payne’s conditioning issues because he has the ability — like Payne — to stretch the floor, and be a disruption inside. He’s shooting 41 percent from 3-point land this year, and his 53 percent shooting percentage ranks second on the team among guys who play more than 15 minutes.
Payne’s status as a starter will be a game-time decision, but regardless, he and Kaminsky will be matched up for a good portion of Sunday’s game.
X-FACTOR: MSU’S KENNY KAMINSKI
MSU redshirt freshman Kenny Kaminski is coming of a career performance against Penn State in which he scored a career-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting — five of six from 3-point land. Kaminski’s ability to shoot the long ball is huge for a Michigan State bench that, at times, lacks scoring power. Kaminski is good at finding holes in the defense and getting an open shot, and if he gets going early, it not only seems to get him going, but it provides energy that seems to be dispersed throughout the MSU squad.
With senior point guard Keith Appling being questionable, a guy who bring energy to the Spartans in his own right, it will be more than helpful if Kaminski can provide an extra spark and help make up — along with junior point guard Travis Trice and freshman Alvin Ellis III — for the 15 points per game that Appling provides.
PREDICTION: MSU 68, WISCONSIN 62