The last time Michigan and Michigan State played each other in basketball, it was February 1 and the two rivals went to overtime before Sparty pulled away for a 76-66 victory. Since then, the Wolverines lost three more in a row, including a brutal collapse in Champaign that dealt a serious blow to the team's NCAA Tournament chances. Could Michigan rebound and end their skid against the same Michigan State team that started it?
Game of the night: Michigan State at Michigan
This battle had a similar margin as the first one, but it wasn't as close throughout. The Spartans jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead and stayed in front thanks to an efficient offensive attack that is becoming the norm for Tom Izzo's squad. Michigan was able to slow down Denzel Valentine this time around, but Branden Dawson was a beast with 23 points and 13 rebounds. He and fellow big man Gavin Schilling (10 points) combined to miss just two field goals all night. Travis Trice continued to shine as a sixth man with four three-pointers, 22 points, and seven assists.
The Wolverine offense came alive in the second half thanks to a scoring spurt (10 of his 12 points came during the first four minutes of the period) from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, but it wasn't enough to keep pace with a Michigan State team that hit on 62 percent of its shots. The Spartans won 80-67 for a third straight win.
Michigan, on the other hand, has now lost five in a row. The rematch with Ohio State on Sunday is now a must win for John Beilein and company, who have seen their Big Ten record slip to 6-8.