With one weekend left in the regular season, we finally get the rivalry that matters the most: Michigan and Michigan State. The Wolverines and Spartans face off tonight (7:00 p.m., ESPN) in Ann Arbor, then do it all again on Sunday afternoon in East Lansing.
Michigan needs a win to clinch the Big Ten Championship and Michigan State needs a win to continue its NCAA Tournament streak. The stakes might not match up with the 2019 game in East Lansing when both teams were playing for a banner, but it is about as good as we’re going to get in this unique COVID season.
Michigan State has won six of its last nine games (although it is somehow only ranked 48th in adjusted efficiency margin during that time period) and has salvaged a season that appeared to be on the verge of going off the rails. Michigan is coming off a humbling loss at home to Illinois and still has work to do if it wants to finish off the regular season with a banner.
The Wolverines have been the better team all season, but a rivalry home-and-home will test both programs in a way that they haven’t faced all season.