This season’s road edition of the Michigan-Michigan State basketball rivalry promises to be electric.
After stumbling through the non-conference slate — topped off by a stunning loss to Central Michigan — the Michigan Wolverines have hit the ground running in Big Ten play. Michigan mauled Maryland, holding the Terps to just 13 points in the first half, and dispatched a tournament-caliber Penn State team on Wednesday night.
On the other side, Michigan State started the season with its proverbial hair on fire, beating perennial blue bloods Kentucky and Villanova. The Spartans also nearly handed then-No. 2 Gonzaga a loss. The Spartans came back down to earth near the end of the non-conference schedule but have found their footing as of late.
This Michigan-Michigan State rivalry so intriguing: No other in-state rivalry has this level of carryover from the gridiron to the court. This matters on the football field just as much as it does on the hardwood. We shall soon see if Michigan silences the rabid Spartan contingent in East Lansing.
Teams: Michigan Wolverines at Michigan State Spartans
Date: Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023
Location: Breslin Center in East Lansing, MI
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.
Radio: Michigan/IMG Sports Network (to listen online, click here)
Today’s question: Can Michigan shoot consistently in the second half?
Cold streaks have been the bane of Michigan’s season so far. In each of its games against top-tier foes Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina, the Wolverines went at least four minutes without making a field goal in the second half. Adding insult to injury is Michigan lost these important games by 10 points combined. Michigan also ran into this issue against Penn State on Wednesday night, but counterpunched every time the Nittany Lions looked to have the Wolverines’ number.
This odious trend doomed Michigan’s opportunity to pile up quality non-conference wins, which may come back to bite them come March. Finding consistency in the second half will be a big step in the coalescence of the Wolverines and may net them a victory over Michigan State at the Breslin.