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Men's College Basketball
Preview
Michigan St at Michigan
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 6, 2016
Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan

No. 10 Michigan State looks to make up some ground on its rivals in the race for the Big Ten title when it hits the road to face Michigan Saturday. The Spartans have won three straight games - including a 96-62 victory over Rutgers - to move within striking distance of No. 21 Indiana and seventh-ranked Iowa as they begin a challenging three-game stretch against teams currently ahead of them in the conference standings.

Michigan State swept the season series with the Wolverines in 2014-15 and the Spartans hope to continue their ferocious play on the defensive end by holding their fourth straight opponent to 65 points or less. Michigan saw its nine-game home winning streak come to an end following a humbling 80-67 defeat to the Hoosiers Tuesday. The Wolverines are 1-5 against ranked opponents, but are likely to receive a major boost as star shooting guard Caris LeVert should make his much-anticipated return after missing the last nine games with a lower leg injury. Michigan has knocked down at least 10 3-pointers in 16 games but connected just six times from beyond the arc against Indiana and the Wolverines hope to rediscover their shooting form in order to earn a resume-building win over their in-state rivals.

TV: 2 p.m. EST, CBS

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (19-4, 6-4 Big Ten): Denzel Valentine drained six 3-pointers en route to 20 points while Bryn Forbes also hit six 3-pointers to finish with 18 points in the rout of Rutgers. Matt Costello added 12 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots against the Scarlet Knights to leave him three blocks shy of passing Drew Naymick for third place in Spartans history with 135. Valentine, who is averaging 18.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game, was named one of the 10 finalists for the Julius Erving award, which is given to the top small forward in college basketball.

ABOUT MICHIGAN (17-6, 7-3 Big Ten): Zak Irvin nailed three 3-pointers en route to a team-high 16 points against Indiana to move past Nik Stauskas in eighth-place on Michigan's all-time 3-pointers' list with 169. Sophomore sharpshooter Duncan Robinson added 14 points but went 1-of-5 from 3-point range and is just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc in his last two outings while Derrick Walton Jr. finished 3-of-10 from the field against Indiana. "I'm not the kind of coach that is going to point fingers at my players," John Beilein told reporters. "We have to get better and we'll find a way."

TIP-INS

1. Michigan has won four of the last five meetings with Michigan State in Ann Arbor.

2. The Spartans have made 33 3-pointers in their last two games.

3. Walton is 27-of-29 from the free-throw line in his last four outings.

PREDICTION: Michigan State 72, Michigan 69
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Michigan St 19-4 W3 10-2 4-2 5-0 7-1 12-3 6-4
Michigan 17-6 L1 11-2 3-3 3-1 6-1 11-5 7-3
Last Meeting
Michigan St Michigan
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/17/15 MSU 80 MICH 67 80 32 62.0 67 22 39.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Michigan St B. Dawson 23 83.3 3
Michigan Z. Irvin 16 42.9 1
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Michigan St B. Dawson 13 4 9
Michigan M. Bielfeldt 6 3 3
Assists Player  
Michigan St T. Trice 7
Michigan S. Albrecht 5
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Michigan St D. Valentine 351 46.2 48
Michigan D. Robinson 288 49.2 27
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Michigan St M. Costello 192 66 126
Michigan D. Walton Jr 116 9 107
Assists Player  
Michigan St D. Valentine 126
Michigan D. Walton Jr 79
Quickchart Matchup
blue bar Michigan St Off vs  red bar Michigan Defense
blue bar 79.0 Points For
red bar 66.0 Points Against
blue bar 47.8 FG%
red bar 43.2 FG%
blue bar 40.3 Reb
red bar 29.4 Reb
red bar Michigan Off vs  blue bar Michigan St Defense
red bar 77.2 Points For
blue bar 62.4 Points Against
red bar 48.2 FG%
blue bar 36.7 FG%
red bar 29.4 Reb
blue bar 27.0 Reb