Last season, Michigan State dealt Michigan three of its seven losses, including a 65-60 victory over the Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament championship.
This season, Michigan and Michigan State will have a new look as both teams lost key players from last season — Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole for Michigan; Nick Ward, Kenny Goins and Matt McQuaid for Michigan State.
Michigan went a step farther with the face-lift when they hired a new coach, Juwan Howard, in the offseason.
Today, Coach Howard and the new-look Wolverines will get a chance to avenge last season's performance against the Spartans. Tom Izzo, Cassius Winston and company will look climb back atop the rankings, as they hope to end the season where they started, at No. 1.
Michigan vs. Michigan State: Time, TV channel
Michigan State will host Michigan at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 5. The game will be aired on CBS.
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Michigan vs. Michigan State: Preview, key stats
Michigan State could be poised to improve its winning streak against Michigan to four games on Sunday inside the Breslin Center, where the Spartans are 5-1 this season with the lone loss coming to No. 2 Duke.
Michigan is 0-2 on the road with a 15-point loss to No. 7 Louisville and a nine-point loss at Illinois.
The Spartans have the No. 2 offense in the country, thanks to reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston (17.6 points per game, 6.0 assists per game) and second-year improvements from sophomores Aaron Henry (10.6 ppg), Gabe Brown (8.7 ppg), Marcus Bingham (5.5 ppg), Thomas Kithier (4.8 ppg) and Foster Loyer (4.4 ppg).
Roughly 70 percent of the Spartans' field goals this season have been assisted, which is the second-highest rate nationally. They play fast on offense and when they're on defense, they make their opponents work for a good shot.
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They also make their opponent work for a rebound. Michigan State is in the top 30 nationally in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.
Offensive rebounding isn't a strength for Michigan (26.1 percent offensive rebounding percentage, 233rd nationally) but when the Wolverines are shooting up to their potential (38.7 percent from three, 56.2 percent from two) there aren't too many missed shots to be rebounded.
Despite losing its top three scorers from last season, Michigan is benefitting from veteran leadership in center Jon Teske (14.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and point guard Zavier Simpson (11.2 ppg, 8.9 apg), while juniors Isaiah Livers (13.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and Eli Brooks (11.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 apg) have taken impressive leaps this season.
However, Livers is out indefinitely with a groin injury. Michigan won its first game without him against UMass Lowell 86-60 but a road trip to East Lansing will be a much better litmus test of the Wolverines' ceiling without him.
Michigan is ranked in the top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency — No. 21 offensively and No. 23 defensively — and the Wolverines' defense, which ranks second nationally with just 33.3 percent of their opponents' shots being assisted, should be a strong test for a Michigan State offense that ranks second in assist percentage.
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Michigan is also great at preventing 3-point attempts and makes with a defensive 25.4 percent 3-point attempt percentage and a 27.8 3-point percentage.
Michigan vs. Michigan State: Prediction
Michigan State 79, Michigan 74