Michigan–Michigan State men’s basketball rivalry
The Michigan–Michigan State basketball competition is a college basketball rivalry between Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball and Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball that is part of their bigger intrastate rivalry between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University that exists over a broad spectrum of endeavors including their overall athletic programs: Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans. On the field, the athletic competition comprises the Paul Bunyan Trophy and the Michigan–Michigan State hockey baseball competition, but extends to just about all sports and many other types of achievement. Both groups are members of the Big Ten Conference. The competition was evidenced both on the court and off the court. Among the off the court elements of this competition, recruiting of basketball talent has caused battles, the most noteworthy of which turned to the University of Michigan basketball scandal, the analysis of which started when both colleges sought the services of Mateen Cleaves.
Michigan now leads the series, which began on January 9, 1909. As a result of this Big Ten moving to 11 teams with the addition of Penn State, teams were not guaranteed two matches against every other. Accordingly, the colleges chose to play one game that didn’t count as a conference game in 1997. Whenever the Big Ten went into a 20-game conference schedule in 2018–19, the conference announced the teams would play each other twice in each season.
A 1996 rollover accident during Michigan’s recruitment of Mateen Cleaves led to a long investigation surrounding the University of Michigan basketball scandal. Cleaves eventually matriculated at Michigan State.
Despite the intense competition for basketball recruits and resources and the degree of the competition in other sports, the rivalry hadn’t been intense (as quantified by rankings) on the basketball court until the 2010s when the teams met 7 times in a row as rated opponents.
On February 12, 2013, for the very first time in the series’ 170-game history, dating back to 1909, the groups met while both were ranked in the Top 10. The Spartans (20–4, 9–2 Big Ten) were rated No. 8 in the AP Top 25 Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll, while the Wolverines (21–3, 8–3 Big Ten) came in ranked No. 4 in the AP poll and No. 5 in the coaches poll. Michigan State won the game at the Breslin Center, 75–52. The next month, both teams were once again ranked in the Top 10, this time Michigan was on the winning end of a game played at the Crisler Center, by a score of 58–57.
Indiana Mr. Basketball for 2012, Gary Harris, also 2013 Indiana Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin were teammates at Hamilton Southeastern High School, but Irvin signed with Michigan later Harris had joined Michigan State. Both were best buddies from third grade through high school as well as wagered on the January 17, 2012 game in high school after the two had committed to different basketball applications, with Harris needing to use Maize and Blue for a day consequently.
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