clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Week Eleven: BTP Game of the Week: Michigan at Michigan State

New, 4 comments

The Spartans Look to Bounce Back Against Their In-State Rivals

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The pounding Michigan State took at the hands of Keita Bates-Diop and Ohio State has opened the floodgates for lots of BTotBT (Bad Takes on the Big Ten). Rather than recognize that the Buckeyes, at 4-0 and tied atop the league along with sudden favorite Purdue, are becoming a complete team, the national media has doubled-down on their “parity=boring” formula.

You could see all this coming, as the Big Ten’s elite teams were NOT going to go undefeated. I love this year’s league though, where there are no truly “bad” games, tons of interesting non-traditional matchups with all the usual grudge matches. This week’s post covers all those bases, and is a sign of things to come.

Game of the Week:

- Michigan Wolverines at Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State got punked by Ohio State last weekend, that much is true, but it’s not like Ohio State exposed some fundamental flaw in the Spartans. Keita Bates-Diop played a lot like what everyone thought Miles Bridges would be (and still probably will be), Jaren Jackson found only foul trouble inside, and most of Michigan State’s role players had bad games on the same night. In any event, Michigan State gets Rutgers at home to reset out in advance of this huge matchup Saturday.

Michigan, which also hosts Purdue on Tuesday for about the toughest week imaginable in this year’s Big Ten, is, like Ohio State, a team on the rise. Their game against the Boilermakers will be telling, as they have yet to beat a team in the league’s top half on their way to a 3-1 record. What they do have are solid non-conference wins over UCLA and Texas, making them one of the few Big Ten teams with a solid tournament resume. In the near-term, Moritz Wagner is starting to look like his old self after suffering an injury last month against Texas, and the Wolverines will certainly need him at full strength in East Lansing Saturday.

I’d expect Michigan State to come out firing on all cylinders after their embarrassment last, weekend, but don’t sleep on Michigan, whose athleticism and shooting ability could keep them in the game until the end.

Honorable Mention:

- Maryland Terrapins at Ohio State Buckeyes

The definitive “prove it” game for Ohio State, this is perhaps an even more important game for Maryland. While the Buckeyes get Rutgers and a suddenly-mediocre-again Northwestern following this game, the Terrapins get Michigan and Minnesota. Their only two Big Ten losses have been to league favorites Purdue and Michigan State, but a 2-5 start is a real possibility given their schedule. Gulp.

- Nebraska Cornhuskers at Penn State Nittany Lions

Nebraska will need 11 league wins to get into the tournament conversation, which is to say it’s a real long shot… but the Cornhuskers have looked frisky at times this season, particularly in a one point loss to Kansas, and their January schedule is ridiculously easy.

Penn State has a slightly tougher road to the top of the standings, but that actually plays into their hands as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned. At they were unable to pick up a decent win in the non-conference, they will need to take care of business against the Nebraskas of the league and score a couple of road wins to have a legitimate resume.

I’m not saying this game will be easy on the eyes, but it’s a better matchup than its name-recognition would suggest.

Worst Game of the Week:

- Iowa Hawkeyes at Illinois Fighting Illini

This is not the worst game of the week in the Big Ten because it is likely to be a blowout.

Illinois, the favorite at home, hasn’t blown out even a mediocre team since… a 16 point win over Northwestern last February? One of these teams will be winless in the Big Ten after Thursday night, a disappointing start for either program even in what was known to be a rebuilding year.

Season Stats:

Game of the Week Appearances by Team:

  • Iowa – 1
  • Maryland – 1
  • Michigan – 3
  • Michigan State – 4
  • Northwestern – 1
  • Purdue – 2
  • Wisconsin – 1

Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances by Team:

  • Illinois – 1
  • Indiana – 2
  • Iowa – 1
  • Maryland – 3
  • Michigan – 1
  • Michigan State – 1
  • Minnesota – 4
  • Nebraska – 2
  • Northwestern – 1
  • Ohio State – 3
  • Penn State – 3
  • Purdue – 1
  • Wisconsin – 3

Total Appearances by Team:

  • Illinois – 1
  • Indiana – 2
  • Iowa – 2
  • Maryland – 4
  • Michigan – 4
  • Michigan State – 5
  • Minnesota – 4
  • Nebraska – 2
  • Northwestern – 2
  • Ohio State – 3
  • Penn State – 3
  • Purdue – 3
  • Wisconsin – 4

Worst Game Appearances by Team:

  • Illinois – 2
  • Iowa – 2
  • Michigan – 1
  • Michigan State – 1
  • Nebraska – 1
  • Northwestern – 1
  • Ohio State – 1
  • Purdue – 1
  • Rutgers – 1
  • Wisconsin – 1