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Badgers season ends with another close loss to MSU

Wisconsin’s season ends with loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals, but Bucky didn’t go down without a major fight to the end.

The streak is over.

Wisconsin will not go on to the NCAA tournament, thanks to a 63-60 loss to the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

It would’ve taken the Badgers winning the Big Ten tournament championship, but officially the streak of 19-straight NCAA tournament appearances is over. A last-second desperation three-point attempt by Brad Davison came up short and Wisconsin fell to No. 1 seed Michigan State 63-60 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.

Everyone knew it would happen at some point, but few saw the Badgers tournament streak ending the way it did on the season or in this game.

Once again, the Spartans found a way to pull a game out late against Wisconsin, just like it did four days ago and it has over the last five straight in this series.

Ethan Happ had 22 points, while Michigan State star Miles Bridges had 20 in the winning effort. However, it was Cassius Winston that did the Badgers in for the second time in less than a week. The sophomore guard poured in 17 points, but unlike last time was just 1 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Wisconsin shot 45.6 percent from the field, but ultimately couldn’t overcome a huge 41-27 deficit in rebounds. Michigan State held a 16-10 advantage on the offensive glass as well.

The game was within a possession or two for the vast majority of the day, but a 7-0 run by Michigan State in the second half to give the Spartans a 58-51 lead seemed too steep a hill to climb. Happ delivered though, putting the team on his back and getting UW to a bucket at 58-56 with 3:41 to play.

Michigan State’s Matt McQuaid had other ideas though, giving the Spartans a 5-point cushion on a step-back three pointer of his own for a 63-58 lead with 1:21 to play.

Wisconsin came up empty on the possession before that make by MSU as well, and it was all Michigan State’s control at that point.

However, Davison wasn’t going to let his Badgers go down without a major fight. The freshman guard was given a clear path to the basket and made a layup with 28 seconds left to push the game to 63-60. Miles Bridges, normally a good free throw shooter, was fouled on the inbounds and missed the front-end of a one-and-one opportunity.

UW got the ball past mid-court, called a timeout and it was advantage Michigan State out of the time out. The Spartans played terrific perimeter defense and it left a horrific look for Davison with the game clock running out. His effort fell way short and with it the season ended.

For the first time since the 1997-98 season, the Wisconsin Badgers will be watching the NCAA tournament from the comfort of their homes for its entirety.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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