Seroka Behind The Arch: Michigan Versus Michigan State Part Deux
Michigan and Michigan State tip off today for the second time this season. The winner of this game will essentially have a 2 game lead in the Big Ten regular season Championship race. With Michigan State only having 3 games left after this one, this is the biggest game of the regular season for the Spartans. It has been an up and down year for them for the Spartans olny having their regualr line-up for 3 games this season because of injury. They are still leading the Big Ten and if they can get healthy for the stretch run can make some serious noise in the NCAA Tournament in March. That march starts today at 12pm against Michigan in Ann Arbor.
For Michigan with only 4 games left after this one this is also the biggest game of the regular season. With Mitch McGary getting injured earlier in the year Beilein had to change how the offense was run turning them back into a mostly perimeter team. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford have done their best to offset the absence but they are not as good at rebounding as McGary. Despite this set back Michigan is only a 1/2 game behind Michigan State and if they win will have the inside track with only 4 games left on their schedule. While they are not as good as last year they are clearly making strides and good definitely make some noise in the NCAA tournament.
No matter what either team says they always have this game circled on their calendars as do their fans. With Michigan State having won 5 of the last 6 games in football and Michigan winning 5 of the last 7 in basketball bragging rights are on the line today. With the Conference Tournament winner getting the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament in almost every Conference the regular season Champion has almost become unimportant but in the Big Ten it will always matter. I have always said that we could have Michigan State and Michigan as Top Ten programs and Izzo has held up his end of that equation but until John Beilein got hired Michigan had not. With the Pro teams in this state failing miserably over the last couple of years it is good to see the main two College Basketball programs winning games. My prediction is Michigan will win a close game because they are at home.