All you need to know about Michigan State's 69-55 victory vs. Wisconsin is this: MSU shot 30-for-59 from the field, becoming the first team all season to top the 50 percent mark against the Badgers.
In a limited-possession game, the Spartans had major offensive spurts fueled by fastbreak baskets. A 15-0 difference in fastbreak points was the major difference in the game - one the Spartans played almost flawlessly.
Defensively, the team numbers don't look spectacular, but they're somewhat inflated due to Wisconsin getting a handful of buckets in garbage time late in the game. At one point, the Spartans held a 21-point lead. You know how hard it is to get a 21-point lead against Wisconsin? In many cases, that would mean holding Wisconsin scoreless for an entire half because the Badgers only surrender 53 points per game.
Below is the Defensive Score Sheet for the game. (For clarification on the numbers, what they mean, and how they're calculated, read this post). The most important number is each player's defensive rating (DRtg). Its calculations project if "Player X" was on the floor for 100 of his team's defensive possessions, the number of points the opposition would score. Keep in mind the team's overall defensive numbers play a huge factor, but even small variances from the team's DRtg are significant.
3 Takeaways from Michigan State 69, Wisconsin 55
1. Branden Dawson continues to be a freshman sensation defensively. The Badgers only took 3.5 shots against Dawson, but that's mostly because whoever he was guarding -usually Josh Gasser but occasionally Jordan Taylor - couldn't get a decent look at the basket. Dawson continues to be the defensive X-factor that makes Michigan State so good on the defensive end.
2. If not for Ryan Evans being the only Badger athletic enough to create his own shot, Draymond Green would have had spectacular numbers. Much like Green did to Michigan's Zack Novak, Evans made unguardable fadeaway jumpers against Green much of the game. It was another sensational game on the glass for Green, who has become an expected double-double guy.
3. Dane Fife can sure coach 3-point defense. Unbeknownst to many, Dane Fife left a head coaching job at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW) to join Tom Izzo's staff this season. One of Fife's main responsibilities has been 3-point defense. After being one of the worst teams in the country last season at defending the 3-pointer, MSU is now one of the better teams in the country. Against a team like Wisconsin that uses its bigs to shoot the three, defending the triple is arguably the biggest key to victory. MSU held the Badgers to 5 of 24 from beyond the arc, and two of those triples came in Wisconsin's faux comeback attempt after it was down by 21 points late.