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Hunter Dickinson plays villain as Michigan picks up rivalry win against Michigan State

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Dickinson dropped 33 in the Wolverines’ 87-60 blowout win over the Spartans.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It was the Hunter Dickinson show in Ann Arbor on Tuesday night. The big fella dropped 33 points and snagged nine boards in a 87-60 win for the Michigan Wolverines against their rival, the Michigan State Spartans.

Dickinson fully understands the intensity of the rivalry and knows the intensity gets amped up for this game.

“That’s the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry,” Dickinson said postgame when asked about his trash talk. “You’re not friendly out there, those aren’t your friends. It’s not going to be a hug and kiss kind of game.”

Dickinson was a problem for the Spartans all night long. From the very start, Dickinson was chirping at the Michigan State bench after every bucket, and seemed to get under Tom Izzo’s skin a little bit.

“Yeah, yeah I did,” Dickinson said when asked if he thought was effective getting Izzo and the Spartans riled up a bit. “I remember after the game at Michigan State coach Izzo had a lot to say to me, a lot of good things, but after this game he didn’t say anything. He got a little upset, but I don’t take it personal.”

Despite Izzo’s frustration with Dickinson, they still shook hands after the game.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, you heard his quote, he’s going to shake hands regardless,” Dickinson said. “He’s a man of his word.”

Phil Martelli is well aware of the personality and the character that Dickinson is. If Dickinson’s basketball career doesn’t pan out, Martelli believes he has a calling elsewhere.

“He’s a true character,” Martelli said. “Many of you have heard me say this: if it does not work out in basketball, I dare any of you to deny me this fact: he will be a WWE villain. He won’t be a good guy, but he’ll be a villain. He will sell a lot of tickets for WWE.”

Dickinson’s villain role certainly helped against Michigan State, and we’ll see if he continues to embrace that role in the last two regular season games and into the postseason.