The Michigan Wolverines have a huge opportunity in front of them on Saturday as they take on the 10th ranked Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. While there is still a long way to go before the NCAA Tournament, Michigan is firmly on the bubble as of now after rattling off three straight wins and changing the trajectory of their season.
Michigan is the underdog going into this game, but the Wolverines have been able to shock the Spartans at home before in some very memorable games for Michigan fans:
The famous Nik Stauskas domination game to knock off the third-ranked Spartans:
Who could forget Moe Wagner taking Nick Ward’s ankles to cap off this beautiful upset?:
It will be tough to go on the road and get a win, but it can be done. The Wolverines feel as if last weekends win in a rowdy Assembly Hall helped prepare them for what they’ll see tomorrow.
“You play Indiana, at Indiana, all of us who have been there, and hear, that crowd is very intense, and it can get really loud,” Juwan Howard told the media Friday morning. “It’s a great, historic place to play in, and at the same time can be intimidating. I love how our guys handled that type of environment. Just staying locked in the moment, but we understand that Michigan State’s going to be a lot similar — it’s going to be on steroids because you have two rival teams, neither one like one another, and it’s an in-state rival.”
Michigan understands going on the road and winning anywhere is difficult, but when it’s against a rival, it becomes even harder.
“When you play a team on the road, they’re playing in front of their home crowd, as we all know, the Breslin Center is a great environment to play in,” Howard said. “Our guys are really going to get a chance to enjoy that bright white, but we’re bringing in the maize and blue, so I’m excited about that.”
Despite the challenges of going on the road, Michigan feels confident going into this rivalry game because of the way it has grown from adversity as this season has progressed.
“Early in the season we had some of the same moments we had vs Northwestern,” Terrance Williams said. “I feel like we weren’t together or connected as one, but as the season goes on you learn from losses, I think that’s the biggest thing that we did, we learned from our losses and we learned how we’re going to get over that hump the next time that comes around. So I think Northwestern was a great example of how, you know we were down seven, we figured out how to get over that hump — just learning from losses, keep gaining knowledge of how we’re going to come together and play.”
If Michigan can find a way to get the road win on Saturday, its NCAA Tournament resume would certainly get a major boost.
Michigan/Michigan State tips Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on CBS.