Michigan (14-4, 6-0) and Michigan State (18-1, 7-0) will clash on the hardwood in what is going to be a titanic battle Saturday night. Tip off is set for 7:05pm (EST) and the game will be televised on ESPN.
We polled our tremendous staff of Michigan and Michigan State correspondents, asking them who will win the game. The picks are below, feel free to leave your prediction in the comments. Click here for a Michigan oriented game preview.
Joe White – Michigan correspondent – follow Joe on Twitter @isportsJoe
Michigan and Michigan State both come in rolling incredible hot streaks to start Big Ten play. More impressive is the fact that both have done it through great adversity due to injury. The environment at The Breslin will play a factor without a doubt and I worry about Michigan’s point guards in this particular matchup. However, Nik Stauskas is Mr. Everything right now and is the kind of guy that can go into hostile territory and take a win. For 1st place in the Big Ten, my gut tells me the home team prevails in this one though: Michigan State wins 78-73
David Harns – Michigan State correspondent – follow David on Twitter @isportsDave
MSU struggles early with no Payne or Dawson as Michigan comes out on fire, leading by 10 at the half. The Spartans dig themselves a 15-point hole early in the second half before Harris and Kaminski put the Spartans on their backs to tie the game up with less than one minute to go. But Michigan holds for the last shot and hits it, winning 73-71
Rob White – Michigan correspondent – follow Rob on Twitter @isportsRob
Of course it matters that Michigan is without Mitch McGary and the Spartans are without Branden Dawson, possibly Adreian Payne as well. Then again it doesn’t matter, because every time these two teams play, it’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out affair. Both teams are extremely well-coached and playing at a high level. Much of the attention will focus in on Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris. However, it’s likely to be guys like Glenn Robinson III and Denzel Valentine who make the difference for their respective teams. Do I think Michigan can win this game? Absolutely. Will they? I don’t know. I give the edge to the Spartans here as the game will be played in their gym, with their fans – who may not be doing enough to provide a great home court for their team. Michigan State wins 68-65
Tyler Brochhagen – Michigan correspondent – follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerBrochhagen
This is going to be a tough game for both teams. Both squads are coming in red hot. The Spartans are at home, but they have had some tough luck with injuries lately. The Wolverines have been steadily improving since the loss of star Mitch McGary, and a win in East Lansing will establish them among some of the nation’s best. However, at the end of the day, I think being at home gives the Spartans the edge. Michigan State 74-68
James Edwards III – Michigan State correspondent – follow James on Twitter @J_Edwards_MSU
In-state bragging right aside, this game has big implications for Big Ten play as the winner will take sole possession of the conference. Michigan has been playing great ball over the past week, and MSU — minus arguably its best player in Adreian Payne — has found ways to win. It’s still uncertain if Payne will return Saturday but, personally, I believe there is no way Payne, a senior, misses his last meeting vs. Michigan in the Breslin. He and Keith Appling will be on a mission come Saturday, and while Michigan guard Nik Stauskas feels he can’t be guarded at the moment, he might snap back to reality when MSU sophomore guard Gary Harris is standing in front of him. Also, we all remember what happened last time U of M stepped into EL… it wasn’t pretty. Michigan State wins 72-58
Scott Freedman – Michigan correspondent – follow Scott on Twitter @scottmfreedman
Holy momentum, Batman. The Wolverines now fully grasp their own destiny after dismantling Iowa 75-67 in Ann Arbor Wednesdaynight. Going into East Lansing, Michigan is riding a tidal wave of momentum thanks to great performances from Stauskas, GR3 and surprisingly, Jordan Morgan. If the duo of Morgan/Horford is able to neutralize whatever injured shell of Adreian Payne shows up, then count on Stauskas and Co. to lock down defensively and capitalize on any, and all, chances, to take it right to the Spartans. I’ve got Michigan winning 76-72 down the stretch.
Lucas Rains – Michigan correspondent – follow Lucas on Twitter @lucasrains
Michigan and Michigan State have never met this late into the season with undefeated records in conference play. This makes for an interesting matchup, and the visiting Wolverines have the advantage, surprisingly. With injuries to Branden Dawson and Adriean Payne, the Spartans are left with two inexperienced big men against one of the hottest teams in college basketball. I still think it’s going to be a close game, but Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford will continue to fill in nicely for injured Mitch McGary to give the Wolverines the edge. I see guys like Car is LeVert and Zak Irvin potentially playing big roles as MSU will look to conation Nik Stauskas. I’ve got Michigan coming out on top 74-69
Adam Renuart – Michigan correspondent – follow Adam on Twitter @AdamRenuart
Brendan Dawson is out. Adreian Payne is out. David Harns has pointed out the lackluster effort of the crowd at Breslin Center. All this spells trouble for an MSU team facing a red-hot Michigan squad who comes into the game with the confidence that comes from two straight wins against top ten teams. Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris will essentially cancel each other out, and Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III will step up big from the Wolverines. I also predict Spike Albrecht hits a huge three pointer that finally allows Michigan to pull away from the Spartans. Michigan is used to playing without Mitch McGary, Michigan State will need time to adjust losing two main cogs in their rotation. Michigan wins 75-64
Ryan Squanda – Michigan State correspondent – follow Ryan on Twitter @squandaryan
There are a lot of similarities when comparing the Michigan and Michigan State basketball teams. For one, they both come into this game as one of the hottest teams in the country, both undefeated thus far in conference play. Also, they’re both doing so without the help of one of their best players (Michigan in Mitch McGary and Michigan State in Adreian Payne). Come Saturday, with ESPN’s College Gameday coming to the Breslin Center, the game will showcased to the entire country. And while the Breslin crowd as been below its usual par this season, Spartan fans may find a way to muster enough noise and excitement against the school’s biggest rival. However, with the recent news of Branden Dawson being out 4-5 weeks with a broken hand, I have to give this one to the Wolverines: 70-62