Day: Sunday, March 16th
Location: Indianapolis IN
Michigan State Spartans (25-8, 12-6)
Michigan State has been on a slow downward spiral over the last half of the season — 7-7 over the last 14 games — but all the pieces are finally back in place and the Spartans look to be on an upward swing. The first Big Ten tournament game was a win over Northwestern in which Michigan State built a massive lead in the back end of the first half. The Spartans repeated that feat today, beating Wisconsin after building a big first half lead.
Michigan, meanwhile, has done the same, pulling into multiple double-digit leads, but whereas Michigan State has been finishing games, Michigan's offense has bogged down late against Illinois and Ohio State (to be fair, these are first and third ranked defenses in the Big Ten). Michigan also hasn't seen Branden Dawson in a game yet.
Michigan's offense, outside of those troubling lulls in production late, has generally been its effective self. Michigan scored 1.14 points per possession against both Illinois and Ohio State, but the defense also gave up nearly that much in both games (1.13 vs. UI, 1.1 vs. OSU).
This game will have big implications for Michigan's seeding later in the afternoon. If Michigan wins it is almost assured a number one seed. Also, the opportunity to beat Michigan State three times in one year doesn't often come around, so it would be nice to make it a perfect 3-0 against the Spartans.