WSYM — The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry adds another chapter to its history when the two teams meet in back-to-back games for the first time.
Michigan, ranked second in the country, are fresh off just their second loss of the season while the Spartans are still in need of quality wins to ensure their 22 year NCAA Tournament streak moves to 23.
"We might be playing the best of the best, I do give them a lot of credit, they've had a helluva year and have proven, have earned the right to be called a Final Four contender, I've been there before and it's something to be earned, and they've earned it," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said.
Izzo often says to make a rivalry good both teams have to play their part. The Wolverines had been beating Big Ten teams by an average of 11.4 points per game before Illinois gave them a reality check in a blow out loss on Tuesday.
The motivation for both sides will be large, the Wolverines could clinch their first Big Ten regular season title since 2014 win a win over MSU, while the Spartans would likely cement their spot in the field of 68 if they can find a way to win.
"Anytime you play in a rivalry game it doesn't just count as one, that's pretty normal," Izzo added.
"We'll see if we can find a way to play a little better offensively tomorrow, and just as good defensively, it'll take a monster effort as I've said, that's what rivalries are about, that's what best games are all about, that's what playing the best teams are all about, and that's what tomorrow night is all about," Izzo said.