ANN ARBOR, Mich.– No. 20 Michigan State will play No. 23 Michigan on the road tonight to try and redeem themselves from their heartbreaking 3-1 loss earlier in the season.
After opening the Big Ten season 6-0, the Spartans have gone 9-3 ever since.
“I think that when we we’re 6-0, beating (No. 1) Penn State and being where we were, people were overestimating where we should be at that time,” coach Cathy George said. “I knew that we had some growth still ahead of us (and) that we had some weaknesses that we had to shore up.”
“The thing that happens when you’re in that position is that the spotlight goes on you, and you have a microscope on you so every team is looking for every weakness. That microscope got to us a little earlier than usual in the league.”
George says Michigan has a lot of experience they bring to the court.
“They return almost all their team from their Final Four team last year, they will have four seniors on the court that are starting for them,” George said. “We’re looking for them to have a great night.”
The Spartans have had some tough luck these past few weekends after splitting three of the past four weekends.
“Every coach in the Big Ten will tell you, ‘You can lose to anybody, you can beat anybody.’ It just depends on nights, matchups, all those kind of things,” George said.
After a loss to Minnesota on senior night, the Spartans will try and finish their season out strong this weekend before Sunday, when the NCAA Selection Show will determine where the Spartans will be seeded for the tournament.
“I believe our team has made great strides over the four seasons and our physicality is getting better and better which has given us opportunities to compete against some of the top teams in the nation, and win,” George said.
Home-court advantage did not help MSU last time against the Wolverines with a record breaking 6,183 fans in attendance at Jenison Field House.
The ball is now in Michigan’s court, as the game will take place tonight in Ann Arbor at 7 p.m. It will be broadcasted online through Big Ten Digital Network.
Jennifer Swanchara is the host of Bump, Set, Spike for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jennifer Swanchara