Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans look to Big 10 basketball stretch run
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR — Michigan showed its potential, swarming Michigan State when it had the ball and swishing shots from all over the court on offense.
The Wolverines ended a five-game losing streak with a statement, winning 86-57 Tuesday night in their biggest rout of the Spartans since Tom Izzo was a rookie head coach. They looked just as dominant in a 90-60 victory over Indiana two weeks ago at home.
Michigan (15-9, 5-6 Big Ten) has to figure out how to take that act on the road with five of its final seven games in the regular season coming away from home, including Sunday against the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall. The Wolverines are 0-6 on opponents’ home courts, the only Big Ten team without a road win, and have lost nine straight since winning at Minnesota a year ago this week.
And just when it looked like MSU might have been surging, it looked young and rattled against the Wolverines’ experienced team with four seniors and two juniors in the rotation. Michigan’s win was its most lopsided in the series since beating the Spartans 75-46 in 1996.
The Spartans (14-10, 6-5), like the U-M, have work to do to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a tough schedule during the stretch run.
MSU hosts Iowa on Saturday night and the end of the Spartans’ regular season includes trips to No. 16 Purdue and No. 21 Maryland along with a home game against Big Ten-leading and No. 7 Wisconsin.
“Michigan State is talented team, but they’re young,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “If they had those two big kids that were hurt, they would be a much different team right now.”
The Spartans desperately want to hang onto their Big Ten-record streak of playing in 19 straight NCAA tournaments. The Wolverines have won enough to get in six of the last eight years under Beilein, who led them to the tournament in 2009 for the first time since 1998.