Michigan Basketball Gameday: Wolverines host ever-evolving Michigan State in … – MLive.com

Game information
? What: No. 20 Michigan (18-7, 10-3 Big Ten) vs No. 13 Michigan State (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten)
? Tipoff: 12:06 p.m. ET, Crisler Center; Ann Arbor
? Live coverage: Join MLive.com 30 minutes prior to tip-off and throughout the game for a live blog hosted by Nick Baumgardner, and follow Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner ) and U-M basketball beat writer Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) on Twitter.
? Radio: IMG/Michigan Radio Network
? Line: Michigan -2

What to watch for
Michigan’s film sessions in preparation for today’s date with rival Michigan State have seen a tale of two teams.

There are the Spartans that U-M beat 80-75 on Jan. 25.

Then there are the Spartans of today.

The two look the same — green and good — but are very different. When Michigan upended Michigan State one month ago, the Spartans were without Adreian Payne (foot), Branden Dawson (hand) and a fully healthy Keith Appling (wrist). This time they’re without Dawson, while Appling still isn’t himself.

But Payne is back.

And Payne, a 6-foot-10 senior forward, is a game-changer.

“Of course he does,” Michigan’s Nik Stauskas said. “He’s one of the best bigs in the country.”

Payne is averaging 18.0 points on 54.2 percent shooting (32-59) and 6.8 rebounds per game since returning five games ago.

As for Appling, the senior point guard played Thursday against Purdue after most expected him to sit out, but only attempted one shot in 25 minutes. He did, however, hand out nine assists.

This has been nothing new for the Spartans, who have offered up 14 different starting lineups in 28 games.

“We have an interesting mix of film,” U-M coach John Beilein said, later adding, “The Michigan State team we played a month ago has changed.”

But Michigan hasn’t.

Discussing the previous win over Michigan State, Stauskas said the Wolverines played a “fearless? brand of basketball that it’s still looking to recapture. That fearlessness resulted in a 50-point second half that wiped out the Spartans’ 36-30 halftime lead.

“We never stopped battling, we were composed and everybody made big plays,” Stauskas said.

Beilein said Michigan has consumed equal amounts of film, reliving the win in East Lansing and breaking down the team Michigan State has evolved into.

?We like showing (players) themselves playing against (MSU) because they?re more interested in that and they can see their mistakes or the good things they did,” Beilein said

Michigan had the last week to spend to getting ready. Michigan State, meanwhile, played Thursday and bombed Purdue with 17 made 3-pointers in a 94-79 romp. The win came only a few days after the Spartans missed 19 of 24 3s in a 60-51 home loss to Nebraska, begging the question, how does one draw up a gameplan against a team so erratic from outside?

“We?ve got to prepare for the team we saw (Thursday) night,” Beilen said.

As much as Michigan prepares for ever-changing Michigan State, though, Sunday will also be dictated by which Wolverines show up.

Will it be the team that walked into East Lansing with a confident stride and silenced a soldout Breslin Center behind five made 3s by Stauskas? Will it be the team that won 10 straight games earlier this season, including three straight over top-10 teams?

Or will it be the Wolverines who dropped three of their last five games by an average of 14.0 points per loss? Will it be the team with the sometimes listless offense that’s shot 42.9 percent from the field over the last five games?

“It?s so hard to predict what your own team is going to do, let alone what the other team is going to do,” Beilein said.

Coming off a 75-62 loss to Wisconsin, Michigan is looking to avoid its first back-to-back losses since dropping two games to the Spartans and Badgers last February.

It’s also looking to win its sixth showdown over rival Michigan State in the last eight outings.

Reader reaction
Plain and simple, which Michigan shows up today?

Brendan F. Quinn covers University of Michigan basketball. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on Wolverines hoops. He can be contacted at bquinn@mlive.com

Michigan Basketball Gameday: Wolverines host ever-evolving Michigan State in … – MLive.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.