They’d be lying if they said they weren’t hoping for this.
The Michigan Wolverines will have the chance to extract some revenge on their in-state rival Michigan State Spartans on the hardwood this afternoon at Chicago’s United Center as the two schools clash for the third time this calendar year. The Spartans won the first two meetings, and the Wolverines are hoping the third time will be the charm.
But are they calling it “revenge”?
“I don’t like to use the word ‘revenge,'” Michigan’s Isaiah Livers said, “But I like them to know what Michigan basketball is about.”
Michigan could be excused for wanting exactly that, however. Michigan State took care of business against them on February 24 at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor and then again on March 9 at Breslin Center in East Lansing.
“Honestly, since the last time we played Michigan State, I think we’re a whole different team,” Livers said. Of course, there have only been two games since then, and it’s worth noting he and his teammates said something similar before the first rematch with the Spartans.
On Saturday afternoon, the Spartans defeated Wisconsin before Michigan’s victory over Minnesota, and the Wolverines were watching.
“We watched the game a little bit in the locker room before,” Michigan freshman Ignas Brazdeikis said. “I had a smile on my face seeing them run by all excited and stuff. I knew that we had to get this game first. I’m not going to lie: I’m super excited for this game specifically.”
Head coach John Beilein had good things to say about the Spartans, but also about his own team when asked about the upcoming matchup.
“Michigan State’s not going away as being a force in the Big Ten,” he said. “Michigan’s not going away as a force in the Big Ten.”