Big 10 Basketball Game of the Week: Michigan State @ Michigan

Records: Michigan 15-8 (5-6). Michigan State (18-4, 8-2)

The Storyline: If the University of Michigan's main sports programs were a political party, it would be the 2007-08 Republican Party. Changes in leadership, doubt among fervent followers, worries about the future....If Michigan State's sports programs were a political party, it would probably be something like the current Democratic Party. Confidence in a new leader, dominance over a formerly superior opponent, a newfound pride bordering on arrogance...

Michigan's once hopeful basketball season, which included huge wins over Duke and UCLA, has hit a snag in conference play as teams continue to exploit the Wolverine's lack of size and erratic offense. Now (as I write) the Wolverine's are up 1 over top ranked UConn at halftime and the Big 10 leading Spartans just finished a blowout win over Indiana.

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Spartan Hero...

We Can't Shoot: In Michigan's six Big 10 losses, the Wolverine's have shot below 40% in each game. Why? No low post, back to the basket scoring...Mediocre three point shooting...The inability of the John Beilein motion offense to create high percentage shots...

Great Recruiting Meets Great Coaching: Tom Izzo pulled in top notch recruits from all over America and seamlessly inserted them into his defense first system. Kalin Lucas, Raymar Morgan, Durrell Summers, Delvon Roe, and Chris Allen were all highly rated high school players that have formed the young nucleus of the nations #13 team. The Spartans have been blowing out Big 10 competition until two recent setbacks to hot shooting traditional doormats Northwestern and Penn State brought them back to earch. Lucas, who Izzo called the quickest player he's ever coached, is the scoring, not to mention emotional, leader of the Spartan team.

Prediction: Wolverine Manny Harris is the 2nd leading scorer in the Big 10, but is prone to play an erratic 40 minutes. If Harris can get the home crowd excited with his three point shooting and driving ability, Beilein may be able to pull out a huge in-state win.

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