Ready for tonight? Michigan vs. Michigan State preview

The last time Michigan visited Michigan State, it marked the first time the two programs played as top 10 teams. The Spartans rolled to a 75-52 victory in that one. Here’s to hoping Saturday night’s battle is more contested. After all, this one in the Breslin Center marks the Big Ten’s first meeting between teams with 6-0 conference records or better. Really.

[ MORE: Michigan State to wear 1979 throwback Saturday night ]

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Series history
All-time: Michigan, 95-76
In East Lansing: Michigan State, 47-36
Recently: Michigan State has won 20 of last 27

Winning streaks
Michigan. The Wolverines have won eight straight, including their first six in Big Ten play, following their narrow two-point defeat to No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 14.
Michigan State. The Spartans are riding a 12-game winning streak since a disappointing 79-65 home loss to North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

[ MORE: AP: No. 21 Michigan- at No. 3 Michigan State preview ]

Key player
Nik Stauskas. Stauskas leads the Big Ten in scoring (18.5), but he’s averaging 23.3 in the last three games, all while shooting 51 percent from the field.
Gary Harris. Harris pours in 18.3 points per game, second only to Stauskas, and has scored at least 23 points in three of Michigan State’s seven Big Ten contests.

Player to watch
Caris LeVert. It seems, Michigan’s sophomore guard is either hot or cold. But when he’s on his game, he can fill it up while also contributing on the glass and as a distributor.
Denzel Valentine. This guy is a stat-sheet stuffer, and he’ll be asked to do even more as a rebounding guard with Michigan State’s injuries on the frontline.

Injuries
Michigan. Mitch McGary aside, the Wolverines are healthy. Freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr., didn’t start Wednesday due to illness but came off the bench.
Michigan State. The Spartans are without Branden Dawson, who recently broke his right hand, and are expected to be without Adreian Payne, who may miss his fifth straight game with a foot injury.

Need more reason to get excited for the game?

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