Picking the Michigan-Michigan State basketball game
Rarely have they been great together.
Now, they are.
The fourth-ranked Wolverines (21-3, 8-3)) and No. 8 Spartans (20-4, 9-2) battle Tuesday night as top 10 teams for the first time in the history of the rivalry.
Not much separates the two.
Who's got the edge?
I'm going to go with the home team in this one, basically because it's the home team.
Michigan hasn't beaten a top 10 Michigan State club on the road since 1978, Magic Johnson's freshman season in East Lansing. This game's basically a pick 'em, which is exactly how the Vegas line on this one opened up Monday.
I think the Wolverines need this game more than Michigan State right now, in terms of Big Ten positioning, but let's be honest -- both clubs want this one pretty badly.
I think Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. continue to score, and I think they'll be much better than they were in East Lansing a year ago. But I think the Spartans feed off their home crowd and squeak out a victory here.
I see this series going the same way it did last year -- Michigan State wins close at home first, Michigan answers with a win on its home floor second.
But on Tuesday, I'll pick the Spartans -- by a nose.
Pick: Michigan State 72, Michigan 70
These are two of the best teams in the nation's best conference. But Michigan has yet to show it can win against an elite team on the road.
The Wolverines fell behind by double digits at Ohio State and Indiana, and dug themselves in a hole at Wisconsin as well. That's a disconcerting trend heading into a game at Breslin Center, which always is one of the most difficult places to play.
As Nick wrote, Michigan hasn't beaten a top-10 MSU team in East Lansing since 1978.
Michigan simply can't afford to fall behind early. But that's something it has struggled to do against the best on the road.
The inconsistent play of Glenn Robinson III at Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin is concerning. The health of Jordan Morgan also is in question, which could hurt against an athletic MSU frontcourt.
Michigan is very good, and has a very good chance of winning this game. But it's not as good as Michigan State's in East Lansing.
Michigan State 81, Michigan 77
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