The Michigan men’s basketball team is still in the hunt for a second straight Big Ten Tournament championship and will face rival Michigan State in the semifinals Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Wolverines (26-7), No. 15 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll and the No. 5 seed in the tournament, advanced with a 77-58 win against No. 4 Nebraska in the quarterfinals on Friday. That gives them a seven-game winning streak heading into the rematch with the Spartans. Michigan State (29-3), the Big Ten regular-season champs and No. 1 seed, has won 13 straight games since losing to the Wolverines 82-72 in East Lansing. It was the only game of the regular season between the teams.
The Spartans advanced to the semifinals with a 63-60 win against No. 9 Wisconsin in the quarterfinals.
The winner of the Michigan-Michigan State game Saturday advances to the championship game at 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.
Michigan-Michigan State basketball: Time, game information
Michigan and Michigan State play at 2 p.m. ET Saturday, March 3, 2018.
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, March 3, 2018
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
TV channel: CBS, which can be found here.
How can I watch the Michigan-Michigan State game online?
The Michigan-Nebraska game can be watched online on CBSSports.com.
How can I listen to the Michigan-Michigan game on the radio?
The Michigan Sports Marketing Network, headed by flagship stations WWJ (950 AM) in Detroit and WWWW (102.9 FM) in Ann Arbor, will have the call. Matt Shepard provides the play-by-play, and Terry Mills is the analyst. The game can also be heard on Sirius 134, XM 195 and Internet 957.
Michigan-Michigan State basketball preview
The release of the 2017-2018 Big Ten Conference schedule brought plenty of consternation with it from the state of Michigan. Rivals Michigan and Michigan State were scheduled to play each other just once.
That problem has been resolved as the Wolverines and Spartans face off in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday. The Wolverines won that regular-season game 82-72 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. It was the last time the Spartans lost a game. They bring a 13-game winning streak into this second matchup, a win streak that propelled them to the Big Ten regular-season title and No. 1 seed in this tournament.
Michigan State was the top offensive team in the Big Ten this season, averaging 82.1 points per game, while Michigan was the top defensive team. The Wolverines allowed an average of 63.6 points per game. The Spartans finished third in scoring defense, allowing an average of 64.6 points per game, while the Wolverines were eighth in scoring offense, averaging 74.3 points per game.
Michigan State’s biggest issue this season has been holding onto the ball, and that’s exactly what the Wolverines exploited in the previous game. They converted 18 turnovers by the Spartans into 26 points, compared to just 7 points off 7 turnovers for Michigan State. The Wolverines own the best turnover margin in the conference, committing just 9.3 per game while forcing 13.2. They don’t beat themselves often.
They also held their own in the rebounding department against a taller and, presumably, more physical team. Michigan State had a 32-31 edge in rebounding but only 8 offensive rebounds for 12 points. Michigan had 11 offensive rebounds for 12 points. If it can keep Spartans inside players Nick Ward, Jaren Jackson, Xavier Tillman and wing Miles Bridges off the glass and limit second chances, Michigan has a good chance at playing for a second straight Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday.
Junior forward Moritz Wagner rebounded from his struggles against Iowa in the second round, a game in which he fouled out in just 16 minutes, to score 20 points and grab 13 rebounds against Nebraska in the quarterfinals. He had a similarly dominant game against Michigan State, scoring a career-high 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. The Spartans didn’t have anyone to match up against him defensively.
Both teams bring balance to their games and can go deep on their benches. How they handle each other’s star players — Wagner for Michigan and Bridges for Michigan State — will be a telling factor in the game.
Michigan has won the last two games in the series. Both teams are comfortably in the field for the NCAA but they’re both playing for seeding. Michigan State would be in position to earn a No. 1 seed if it wins the Big Ten Tournament. Should the Wolverines win this game and the championship on Sunday, their projected seeding will continue to rise.