B1G Tournament game preview: Michigan vs Michigan State

Basketball

The Wolverines got the best of the Spartans in their only other game this year, 82-72.

This was one of Michigan’s best games of the season. Yes, Michigan beat Michigan State in Breslin, but played arguably its best game of the season.

They’ll have to play a complete game again to beat the Spartans.

Free throws

For what has been a shockingly terrible free throw-shooting team this season (65-percent), the Wolverines knocked down 28-of-35 (80-percent) free throws.

With how the officiating has gone in some of the games so far this tournament, Michigan could be put at the free throw line often. If they are able to knock down free throws at a higher rate than normal, like they did last game, they have a good chance to knock off the tournament’s No. 1 seed.

Huge game from Wagner

In the last game against the Spartans, Wagner had 27 points (8-13) and 4 rebounds.

Michigan State had no answer to the Michigan big man. He was scoring inside, outside, and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

Look for Michigan state to change-up how they play Wagner. Whether that is doubling him when he catches the ball inside, or fronting him and trying to deny the ball, Izzo will have a different game plan as to attempt to not get burnt so badly.

If the Wolverines are able to knock down shots when Wagner is getting special attention, they will be tough to beat.

Battle of the boards

The Wolverines did a great job last game in keeping this extremely athletic and long Michigan State team off the offensive boards, when they actually had 3 more offensive rebounds than the Spartans’ 8.

Having a big body like Nick Ward, along with the length and athleticism of Jaren?Jackson makes it tough for opponents to keep them off the boards.

Staff predictions

  • Brandon Justice: MSU 77-68
  • Landon Dillion: MSU 73-67
  • Tanner Wooten: Michigan 69-64
  • Ant Wright: MSU 71-63
  • LGHail: Michigan 71-70
  • Eric Coughlin: MSU 68-64

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