Spartans Look to Take down Rivaled Wolverines in Weekend Showdown

The No. 13 Michigan State Spartans (22-5, 11-3) are headed to Ann Arbor, Mich. to battle against the rivaled No. 20 Michigan Wolverines (18-7, 10-3).

Not only is school pride on the line, but a chance at winning the conference title is on the line as well.

The last time these two teams met, the Spartans ran out of time and watched a giddy Nik Stauskas run off the court blowing a kiss to the disappointed crowd of green and white.

If the Spartans last performance against the Boilermakers was any indication of how the team is ready to play, it should be quite the show down in Ann Arbor as they look to take back bragging rights.

In Michigan State’s last game against Purdue, sophomore Gary Harris was the key performer with 25 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block. Senior leader Adreian Payne also contributed 23 points.

The Spartans had a combined total and school record of 17 three pointers.

As a team the Spartans shot 57.7 percent from field goal range, 53.1 percent from three point range and 77.3 from the free throw line.

Gary Harris is currently ranked No. 3 on the Big Ten offensive leaderboard scoring 17.8 points per game.

The Spartans are coming into this game against the Wolverines averaging 77.6 points per game, allowing 65.3 points per game and are 7-1 on the road this season.

The Wolverines fell short in their last game to the No. 16 Wisconsin Badgers losing, 75-62.

Sophomore guard Caris LeVert rose to the top scoring 25 points and recording six rebounds.

As a team, the Wolverines shot 40 percent in field goal attempts, 37.5 percent from behind the arc and 88.9 percent from the line.

Nik Stauskas is currently No. 5 on the Big Ten offensive leader board (16.7 PPG).

The Wolverines enter this game against the Spartans averaging 75 points per game, allowing 64.8 points per game and are 10-2 at home.

Caris LaVert has stepped up immensely as teams have started guarding Stauskas more heavily.

In the last rivalry matchup between the Spartans and Wolverines, Derrick Walton was the top performer for Michigan with a season high 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Gary Harris led the Spartans with a season high 27 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Michigan shot 45 percent in field goal attempts, while Michigan State shot a touch higher at 46 percent.

The Wolverines shot 58 percent from three point range while the Spartans were lower at 41 percent. Finally, the Wolverines out-shot the Spartans from the line shooting 83 percent, while Michigan State shot lower at 70 percent.

This dual will certainly be one that you will not want to miss as the Spartans look to gain back respect on the Wolverine’s home court.

Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. at the Crisler Center and will be broadcast on CBS.

Impact Sports Predictions

Anthony Serafino (The Pact): 78-71 MSU.

Blake Froling (Impact Izzone): 72-69 MSU.

“U of M has no answer for Payne, Harris scores 22.”

Andrew Hayes (Impact Izzone): 72-65.

“MSU wins because Morgan and Horford cannot guard Payne one-on-one, which will open up shooters when U of M has to help. Trice and Valentine have to continue their quality play for State to win this game.”

Hayleigh Geurink is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: Scott Wasserman/Impact Sports