Buoyant Spartans meet reeling Wolverines in rematch
East Lansing — There’s no need to dust off any game plans or dig deep into the game film — Michigan State and Michigan are set to square off again on Tuesday night, just a little more than a week since the last meeting in East Lansing.
This time it comes at 9 p.m. at Crisler Center and Michigan will be attempting to end a five-game skid against Michigan State while the Spartans are looking to continue to build on two straight conference wins.
For junior guard Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn, it’s also a chance to remain perfect against the Wolverines, who haven’t beaten the Spartans since 2014, the year before Nairn arrived at Michigan State.
“Wanna keep it that way,” Nairn said Monday when reminded he has never lost to Michigan. “It means a lot to me. I’m not from here but coming into Michigan State I knew about the rivalry. I knew it means a lot to alumni, to everybody that’s a part of Michigan State. That’s my goal, to keep it that way.”
Michigan (14-9, 4-6 Big Ten) comes into the game reeling after a home loss to Ohio State on Saturday while Michigan State (14-9, 6-4) has won two straight, including a one-sided win on the road against Nebraska last week that came after the 70-62 victory over Michigan at the Breslin Center.
While the Spartans understand the intensity will be ratcheted up on Tuesday, they also know the rivalry isn’t the only focus.
“Right now it’s all about us getting better,” Nairn said. “It doesn’t matter who we play. We just want to focus in on how we can play better and keep getting wins.”
Both freshman Nick Ward and sophomore Kenny Goins should be 100 percent by tip-off. Both were hampered by the flu last week and fought through the effects in the win over Nebraska.
“There are no issues with either of them,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.