Michigan coach talks about his team's defensive effort and getting the job done in Thursday's 69-60 win at Minnesota. James Hawkins, The Detroit News
Matt Charboneau, James Hawkins, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions for Sunday’s Michigan vs. Michigan State game at the Crisler Center (3:45 p.m., CBS, WWJ 950, WJR 760).
Matt Charboneau: While Michigan State continues to adjust to playing without Nick Ward, Michigan is starting to find some offensive rhythm after burying 13 3-pointers in its win over Minnesota. The Spartans will continue to rely heavily on Cassius Winston while the Wolverines can look to a number of players to carry the load. Expect a low-scoring affair from two of the top defensive teams in the nation, one in which the home team will likely come out on top. Michigan, 68-60
James Hawkins: No Joshua Langford? No Nick Ward? That’s been no problem for Michigan State, which continues to chug along and remain atop the Big Ten standings. But for Michigan, there’s no reason its dominant defense shouldn’t silence an opponent that will be without two of its top three scorers. Add the fact the Wolverines are healthy and have been unbeatable at Crisler Center, there’s no excuse they shouldn’t win their 23rd in a row at home and fourth straight in the rivalry series. Michigan, 70-62
John Niyo: Michigan hasn’t lost at home in more than a year. And they’re a bad matchup for Michigan State no matter where they play, as long as Zavier Simpson is on the court. If the 3-point shots fall early for the Wolverines, this one could get away from Tom Izzo’s injury-depleted squad. Michigan, 73-60
Bob Wojnowski: The Spartans may be short on players but they still rebound and defend, and have a guy who can change a game, Cassius Winston. Of course, the Wolverines have a compelling answer in Zavier Simpson and a defense that should wear Winston down. The Wolverines have more ways to get to the basket, and Ignas Brazdeikis and Jordan Poole can light it up at any time. In this game, homecourt will matter. Michigan, 67-61
MSU coach Tom Izzo looks ahead to facing Michigan The Detroit News