Stats & Info: Jared Berggren

Inside play key as Badgers take on Spartans

February, 16, 2012
Two of the top four teams in the Big Ten battle at 7 Eastern on ESPN when the Wisconsin Badgers take on the Michigan State Spartans.

When the two teams met in January, the Spartans snapped an 8-game losing streak in Madison. The Badgers look to return the favor in East Lansing, where they have lost six straight games and haven’t won since 2004.

While Wisconsin has lost four home games this year, its highest total since finishing 8-8 in 1997-98, the Badgers are having their best season away from home since 2007-08.

This year’s squad is 5-1 in Big Ten road games, tied for the most wins since going 8-1 four seasons ago. Four straight road wins in conference are the most since winning six in a row during the same season.

Michigan State is 15-0 at home this season and has won 16 straight home games dating to last season. The last time the Spartans went undefeated at home was the 2007-08 season.

When Michigan State has the ball
Wisconsin’s defense is allowing just 85 points per 100 possessions this season, which ranks second in the nation, according to The Badgers lead Division I in scoring defense (50 points per game) and 3-point field-goal defense (27 percent)

Wisconsin’s opponents attempt just 12 3-pointers per game, as more than three-quarters of their shots come inside the arc.

Michigan State attempts the third-fewest 3-pointers in the Big Ten, and when the two teams met earlier this season, the Spartans went inside even more often than usual. Michigan State attempted 55 of its 60 shots inside the arc on Jan. 3, its highest percentage in any game since the start of the 1996-97 season.

When Wisconsin has the ball
Wisconsin excels at making the most out of its possessions. The Badgers turn the ball over on fewer than 15 percent of their possessions, the second-lowest rate in the nation according to StatSheet.

This limits easy opportunities for their opponents, who score less than 8 points per game off turnovers. That’s the lowest against any team from a Power Six conference.

Led by Jared Berggren, Wisconsin has been the Big Ten’s best shot-making team in the post this season, shooting 52 percent.

Michigan State opponents are scoring just 37 percent of the time this season on post-up plays, the lowest rate in the Big Ten. Against Ohio State on Saturday, Michigan State held the Buckeyes to 29 percent shooting in the post.

Defense sets tone for Buckeyes, Badgers

February, 3, 2012

Defense takes center stage on Saturday when the Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers face off in Madison, Wis., (2 ET on ESPN) with first place in the Big Ten on the line.

The Buckeyes and Badgers rank first and second, respectively, in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to, and both rank among the top 25 teams nationally in field goal percentage allowed.

Points will certainly be at a premium: nine of the combined 45 opponents this season for Wisconsin and Ohio State have scored better than the national average of one point per possession.

When Ohio State Has the Ball
Jared Sullinger is one of the most dominant big men in the country. Nearly half of his possessions result in a post-up play, and he has the second-best points per play average when posting up in the Big Ten (minimum 25 plays).

However, he had one of his worst games in the post Sunday against Michigan, a team that started four guards and no player taller than 6 feet, 8 inches. Sullinger made just 1-of-5 shots and scored only four points on seven post-up plays in the Buckeyes' 15-point win.

Sullinger will be challenged to bounce back when he faces a physical Wisconsin frontcourt led by Jared Berggren, who has flourished as the team's defensive stopper in the paint. He’s allowed 0.58 points per play as an on-ball defender, the best rate among Big Ten players at least 6 feet 10 inches tall (minimum 100 minutes played).

He ranks fourth in block percentage in the Big Ten, and opponents are averaging less than half a point per play on 21 percent shooting when posting up against Berggren. Cody Zeller and Tyler Zeller, arguably two of the best centers in the nation, were a combined 1-for-6 in their matchups with Berggren.

When Wisconsin Has the Ball
Jordan Taylor got off to a slow start this season, averaging just 12 points per game during the Badgers’ non-conference slate. In conference play, Jordan has increased his scoring by nearly five points per game.

Taylor’s much-improved play in isolation has fueled this recent surge. He’s averaged one point per play or better in isolation in six of his 10 conference games, after doing so in just five of 13 non-conference games.

Taylor will face one of the toughest on-ball perimeter defenders in the league with Aaron Craft likely to match up against the Badgers' senior point guard. Craft has the highest steal percentage in the Big Ten, and has allowed his opponent to score 0.67 points per play this season.

Craft’s aggressive play defending in isolation has created turnovers on nearly one of every three such plays. His ball-hawking tactics might not be enough to contain Taylor, however, who has turned the ball over at a rate of fewer than once every 17 isolation plays this season.