Michigan State and Michigan play at noon ET on Saturday, January 13.
Time: Noon ET
Date: Saturday, January 13
Location: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.
How can I watch the Michigan State-Michigan basketball game on TV and online?
Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson will call the game.
How can I listen to the Michigan State-Michigan basketball game on the radio?
Michigan State and Michigan can be heard over the 38-affiliate Spartan Sports Network, including flagship stations WMMQ-FM (94.9)/WJIM-AM (1240) in Lansing and WJR-AM (760) in Detroit.
Will Tieman and Matt Steigenga will have the call.
Michigan State-Michigan basketball preview
Throw out rankings and recent results. Rivalry games bring out the best in teams.
At least, they usually do. In the last meeting between Michigan State and Michigan, the Spartans were crushed to the tune of an 86-57 loss on the road that still sits in the back of their minds. This year they have two freshmen who haven’t been a part of the rivalry yet, but even they can tell what it means — to an extent.
“I could just see it in their faces,” freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. said. “They really don’t have to tell me, but they did tell me you kind of have to be in it to really feel it. Probably after I play in the game, I’ll really understand where they’re coming from.”
It will be a battle of pace between the two teams on Saturday. Michigan State plays a moderate 72.6 possessions per game, but Michigan is one of the slowest in the nation, running just 68.2. The Spartans will surely look to push the pace at any and every opportunity.
That’s one way to get Miles Bridges going on offense. The sophomore star has hit 6 of 16 2-point shots 4 of 13 3-pointers in the last two games, and coach Tom Izzo wants him to be more aggressive. He would rather see Bridges create for himself than build on his 3.1 assists per game.
“That’s cool, and I’m appreciative of that, that he’s showing that skill,” Izzo said of Bridges’ passing. “But he can take that to the church league 50 years from now. Right now I need him to score a little bit more.”
Part of that depends on his teammates feeding him, and Izzo said the team worked on different ways to get him the ball. Michigan State has the Big Ten’s assist leader in Cassius Winston (7.2 per game) as well as the player in ninth place, Tum Tum Nairn (4.1).
Interior play could be the determining factor in the outcome. Michigan State has the nation’s best field goal percentage defense (34.5 percent) and two of the league’s best shot blockers in Jackson and Nick Ward, but it remains to be seen whether Michigan can find someone to match up with Jackson and keep Ward from establishing deep post position.
But Michigan State’s 3-point defense will be tested by a Michigan team that has hit 174 deep balls this year, more than any other team in the Big Ten. Eight of the Wolverines’ top nine scorers have hit at least 10 3-pointers.
“This is what rivalry games are all about,” Izzo said. “They’re playing well right now, and in general we’re playing pretty well. It’s not a great rivalry unless two teams are really good. They’ve done a good job. They’re getting a lot of play out of a lot of different guys, shooting a lot of threes again, so our defense will be challenged a little bit.”
Michigan State will have the home crowd behind it on Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center, where the Spartans are undefeated this season. The players are more than ready for the atmosphere.
“It’s a really hype rivalry,” Ward said. “The crowd’s gonna be rocking. It’s gonna be really loud in here. It’s gonna be nice.”