Bridges adding another chapter to MSU-Michigan lore

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — The speculation over Miles’ Bridges future will certainly come up as the season progresses and his name shows up on NBA mock draft lists.

But whether he leaves Michigan State after one season or not hasn’t had any effect on how he feels about his school. Bridges bleeds green as much as the next Spartan, and Tuesday night’s meeting with Michigan is just another example.

“It’s a rivalry game and I love rivalry games,” Bridges said on Monday as Michigan State prepared for the 9 p.m. tip at Michigan. “It’s gonna be at Michigan so it’s gonna be crazier (with everyone) going against us. So I’m gonna like to see how the team responds against them there.”

It hasn’t been that long since the first meeting, one the Spartans came away with a 70-62 victory. That came just eight days ago at the Breslin Center. Bridges scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in that game and afterward talked about the research he’d done on the rivalry.

It was all in an effort to appreciate what he was going to be a part of playing for the Spartans. He pointed out his favorite moment in the rivalry was in 1995 when Shawn Respert scored 33 points, 30 coming in the second half, in Michigan State’s 73-71 win at Michigan.

Buoyant Spartans meet reeling Wolverines in rematch

On Monday, he talked about a few more.

“I was just looking at the highlights,” Bridges said. “The Kalin Lucas game-winner against them, the Draymond days. My favorite game was what Shawn Respert did.”

If Bridges has that sort of game in him for his first at Crisler Center it would likely take its place next to the great performances in the rivalry. Whether it’s a dominating performance like the one Respert had or the winner like Lucas had in the final seconds in 2010, Bridges understands he can’t do it alone.

“It takes the whole team to do their job,” Bridges said. “Everybody on the team can hit shots … If we all do our jobs then I’m gonna be comfortable with us winning the game because if everybody does their job we are really a dangerous team and that’s what we need to do to win.”

Safe bet

There’s no secret football is one of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo’s favorite sport and he was tuned in to the Super Bowl on Sunday night. He wanted to have some fun with the game and wanted his team included, so instead of upsetting the NCAA and doing squares, he had a different sort of wager.

“I just said, ‘OK, everybody pick your team and the losers are gonna spend the next couple of weeks carrying the others’ bags on the trips,’” Izzo said. “I think that’s legal, but if it’s not, I guess I get killed today. So I was put in there myself. I was amazed, it started out as everybody was Patriots and then it went the other way, and it ended up probably — coaches and everything, 20 guys — it was probably 12 for the Patriots and eight for the Falcons.

“So today, I’m taking a suit, little kit for the toothbrush and about 50 pounds of weights are going in my bag. The Brian Gregorys and the Dane Fifes and Miles Bridges will probably be carrying my bag. He’s going to have a lot of bags today. Teach him how to be a rookie in the NBA someday. So that’s the fun we had with the Super Bowl.”

No ill effects

Michigan State got through last Thursday’s win at Nebraska with its two big men — Nick Ward and Kenny Goins — battling the effects of the flu.

Both were laboring at times but each scored 10 points while Goins didn’t miss any of his five shots. By Monday, both were in much better shape.

“Nick I thought he had his best practice of the year yesterday,” Izzo said. “He’s definitely back. He hasn’t gained all the weight back and maybe that helps him, maybe it hurts him. He’s back around 240 now, that’s good, and Kenny wasn’t as sick as Nick, it just came a day or two later, which means it was a day before the game. But I think they’re both fine. There’s no issues with either one of them.”

Michigan State at Michigan

Tip-off: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor

TV/radio: ESPN/WWJ 950

Records: Michigan State 14-9, 6-4 Big Ten; Michigan 14-9, 4-6

Outlook: Senior G Derrick Walton Jr. is averaging 19.6 points over the last six games for the Wolverines, who have lost two straight…Freshman F Miles Bridges leads three Spartans averaging double figures with 16.3 points…This is the second meeting between the teams in 10 days. Michigan has lost five straight in the series and its last home win over Michigan State was Feb. 23, 2014.