Sunday Night’s college basketball bout between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines will be played at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. This plays right into the hands of the Spartans, as they are 10-2 at home so far this season. However, this has been an off year for the Spartans, as they generally rank among the Big 10 elite.
Tom Izzo’s squad is 13-7 so far this season, and ranks sixth in the Big 10. Characteristic of an Izzo-coached team, this team distributes the ball extremely well. They rank 4th in the country in assists per game, but rank 52nd in total defensive efficiency, which has failed them against some of the top teams in the country. Michigan State has suffered losses to Duke, Kansas, Notre Dame, and Maryland. They gave up at least 68 points in each of those games. Their struggles also lead them to an overtime loss against Texas Southern.
John Beilein’s Wolverine squad hasn’t fared much better. Two years removed from a National Championship Game appearance, they rank fourth in the Big 10 with a conference record of 6-3. However, they have not fared well in their non-conference schedule. This includes losses to Eastern Michigan, NJIT, and SMU. Because of this, Beilein’s team finds themselves on the bubble of the NCAA tournament. They have not been able to replace the loss of center Mitch McGary, and as a result rank 298th in the country in total rebounding.
According to TiqIQ, this game is one of the cheaper options between these two teams in recent memory. The average price of tickets for this Big 10 matchup is $86. The cheapest tickets are going for approximately $30. Due to the instate rivalry, the value here is surprising.
Out of state fans can review Hipmunk.com’s Lansing flights guide for available airline tickets in and out of Michigan. The cheapest hotels in the greater Lansing area is in Dimondale with rates for as low as $43. The Dimondale hotels guide at Hipmunk provides information, as well as reviews, on the best hotel deals in the area.
The Spartans hold a distinct rebounding advantage over the Wolverines. Izzo’s squad is ranked 20th in the country in overall rebounding. If Michigan hopes to stay with the talented Spartans, they will need to contain Branden Dawson, who is one of the best small forwards in the country. Dawson has been grabbing 10.1 rebounds per game, and is a threat on both sides of the floor. He will be a key to this matchup.
Both of these teams are edging toward the tournament bubble, and will need to play well in the month of February to cement their status for the tournament.