The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines look to climb up the Big Ten standings as they meet in-state rival Michigan State Sunday afternoon at the Crisler Center.
Michigan has struggled mightily since Big Ten play started back in January, going 10-5 overall and 3-3 in their last six conference games.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has a career .679 winning percentage in Big Ten play.
Michigan 23rd in the nation with 76 points per game, and are sixth in field goal percentage, but couldn’t connect from downtown in their 84-78 loss to Penn State Wednesday.
Junior guard Tim Hardway Jr. led the Wolverines with 19 points, and Trey Burke’s game-high six assists were negated by six turnovers. Overall, Michigan had 15 giveaways to the Nittany Lions nine, and went 5-for-20 from three-point range. That’s a far cry from their 16th ranked 39.3 percent beyond the arc.
Burke, leading Michigan with 18.8 points per game, has proven himself as the team's go to scorer. When he nets at least 20 points, the Wolverines are 8-1 this season.
The Wolverines hope to avoid a sweep at the hands of Michigan State, who last completed one during the 2009-10 regular season.
The No. 9 ranked Spartans are currently second in the Big Ten behind Indiana, but have dropped two straight including their most recent loss to Ohio State.
Currently sporting the 34th best defense in the country, Michigan State failed to contain the Buckeyes Aaron Croft, who netted an uncharacteristic 21 points and six assists in a 68-60 loss.
The Spartans were blown out 43-29 in the second half, and like Michigan, went cold from outside, shooting 2-for-11 from three.
In their last matchup on Feb. 12, Michigan State throttled the Wolverines 75-52, and built as much as a 31 point lead. The Spartans were able to force 16 turnovers and had a 40-28 advantage on the boards.
The game tips-off at 4 p.m. Eastern time and will be broadcast by CBS, or you can watch their live online stream at CBS Sports here.
Betting Odds: Michigan is favored by 4 points.
Over/Under: 132 points
Prediction: Who controls the glass and makes the fewest mental mistakes should prevail. Michigan knows they need this win to better their seed in the NCAA tournament and to keep their Top 10 ranking. Still the Spartans defense and should carry them to a close victory.
Predicted Score: Michigan State 68, Michigan 67
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