Michigan and Michigan State basketball face off in one of the biggest games of the season for the Spartans. Will an upset be in the cards?
Tom Izzo knows the importance of rivalry games. He knows that the winner of these games not only has bragging rights but loads of momentum, especially heading into the postseason.
This season is a little different than most, however. Michigan State is in desperate need of a win to guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament field while Michigan needs a win to lock up its first Big Ten title under Juwan Howard.
A lot is on the line as these two teams match up on Thursday night, but it’s just the first of a two-game series to end the regular season.
Will the Spartans shock the Wolverines in Ann Arbor?
Connor Muldowney: This one isn’t going to be as lopsided as everyone outside of East Lansing believes it will be. This is going to be a dogfight. Michigan State will play some good defense to keep the Spartans in the game and they’ll shoot better than they have over the past few games. This one will be much more of a grind-it-out game than Michigan would like it to be, but the tough loss sets up an even more intriguing Sunday evening battle.
Final Score: Michigan State 66, Michigan 71
Jack Williams: Michigan is extremely vulnerable right now, while MSU is playing their best basketball. The Spartans aren’t playing well enough to get a series sweep, but Izzo understands the importance of these games enough to prepare his guys. They’ll steal a close win away from home.
Final Score: Michigan State 71, Michigan 64
Conner Linsner: Michigan State comes into a game against the school down the road playing their best basketball of the year. Now that isn’t saying much, but the Spartans seems to be at their peak this March. This is going to be a chippy, physical game with a lot of high motor basketball. If Michigan State wants any shot at winning they have got to hit their open shots. I see them keeping it close and hanging in there, but too many missed shots will cost Michigan State.
Final Score: Michigan State 76, Michigan 81
Carter Landis: I hate picking our rival, but I just don’t see a way that MSU beats one of the best teams in the nation, especially how they scraped by Indiana a couple days ago. I’d love to be wrong, but I think talent on the Wolverines’ side gives them the edge.
Final Score: Michigan State 67, Michigan 76
Stephen Robb: There is a chance MSU could get one out two games against Michigan. The Spartans’ big three of Josh Langford, Aaron Henry and Rocket Watts must come through. Mady Sissoko could be the physical presence MSU needs in the paint in order to address Michigan’s bigs. I’ll go with a Spartan upset in this first game. Illinois has provided the game plan to beat Michigan. MSU can play defense and it’ll need it.
Final Score: Michigan State 65, Michigan 60