With a strong showing, MI could secure a spot on the 2-line for the Big Dance.
The No. 7 Michigan Wolverines (26-4) are traveling to East Lansing to take on the No. 9 Michigan State Spartans (24-6) for the final time this regular season at 8 p.m. ET at the Breslin Student Events Center.
Michigan State: Izzo won his ninth Big Ten regular-season title despite missing two of his best players, Ward and Langford, due to injuries.
Michigan State is coming off a 91-76 win at home over Nebraska to bounce back from a 63-62 loss at IN last weekend.
These teams met two weeks ago at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, where the Spartans took down MI, 77-70. It's going to be a tough environment for MI to get a win at.
MSU has put up good numbers on offense and defense this season.
Rutgers had two players in double figures as Stasha Carey had 17 points and nine rebounds, while Arella Guirantes scored 15 points. The Big Ten freshman of the year candidate fouled out with 20 points.
"He just gets into these little areas and then he's got that floater game that very few players have", MI head coach John Beilein said, per The State News. We kind of stole one at their crib, so that was definitely huge.
"Coach [John] B [eilein] said we need to take this loss and turn it into a learning lesson".
The Spartans' lineup will most likely feature the same starters that stole the late-February matchup, given Izzo gave forward Nick Ward (hand) a "million-to-one" chance to play.
The Spartans do not expect standout forward Nick Ward to be on the court almost three weeks after having surgery on his left hand, but he has begun practicing on a limited basis. He had 27 points and eight assists at MI, winning the point guard matchup against Zavier Simpson after struggling against him previously.
Michigan: Charles Matthews, who almost 12 points a game, missed his third straight game. Should U-M fail to find an offensive flow once again, a similar result from the one at Crisler Center 13 days ago could manifest. Defensively, the Spartans are giving up 66 points per game while holding opponents to just 37.5 percent shooting. Kiss that floor, Spartans!
Three different MSU players pulled down six or more boards, including a game-best 16 from fifth-year senior Kenny Goins. With that being said, we always encourage Spartan and Wolverine fans to celebrate responsibly. But the tournaments await, and now this team has seen it all, and been through a lot more than it looked like it would early in the season. And the fact that it's MI, no one ever really wants to lose to MI. That's a goal for us, to hold them to five or six threes - they only made six.