Who: No. 7 Michigan Wolverines (21-2, 10-2) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (17-6, 9-3)
Where: Crisler Center (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
When: Saturday, Feb. 9, noon ET
Point spread: Michigan -6
List: Detroit: WWJ-950 AM; Ann Arbor: WTKA-1050 AM; anywhere: MGoBlue.com
Tickets: Sold out
Follow: Andrew Kahn
Three weeks ago, Michigan went to Wisconsin undefeated and left with just his second loss in 33 games. The final score ̵
Speaking to reporters on Friday, John Beilein emphasized the importance of valuing every possession against Wisconsin. Michigan was a bit sloppy on both ends in the first meeting and paid for it.
The Wolverines are not just let it happen again. "It's a game we've really been looking forward to," Brandon Johns Jr. says. said. "We have to finish business this Saturday."
The upset of Michigan kicked a six-game win streak for the Badgers, who enter the rematch as well as any team in the country in Beilein's eyes. Wisconsin is coming off at 56-51 win at Minnesota on Wednesday. Happ led Wisconsin with 15 points in that one.
One school of thought when the opposing basketball team has a big-time scorer is to pay extra to him and make the other guys beat you. Beilein does not subscribe to that theory, at least when that player is a 2-point shooter and the other guys are shooting.
Michigan did not double-team Happ very often in the first matchup but the Wolverines were burned by 3s a couple of times when they did. So even though Happ, at 18.3 points per game, has five more than any other Badger, don't expect to stop trying to stop him.
The 26 points Happ got on 22 shots last time? The eight assists he got that afternoon
Keep an eye on the 6-foot-10 Happ at the other end of the floor as well. He often guarded Ignas Brazdeikis in the first matchup. It was the only time all season Michigan's leading scorer failed to score.
"When you do have an open shot, you can't pass it up."
Most everything Michigan does well – – protect the ball and be patient on offense; force difficult shots without fouling and clean up the glass on defense – Wisconsin does too. These programs are very similar, and you have to go back six meetings to find out where the team has lost the battle battle.
Kobe King hit two important 3s and never made it – not capitalizing on fast-break opportunities didn't help.
Depending on how Saturday goes, Michigan can be the first Big Ten team to 11 wins or create an even bigger logjam at the top of the standings
Here's Beilein on the subject: "They're competing for the (Big Ten) championship, we are (too), and this game is going to be important in terms of who's eventually going to be the champion between those teams at that top. "
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