The battle for state supremacy resurrected a long-time rivalry and brought new fuel to the fire when the Michigan Wolverines traveled to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans. After having a bland taste for many years, this year’s installment on the hardwood brought a whole new flavor to the battle for bragging rights in the state of Michigan. Both programs are once again title contenders and the bad blood passed down for generations was evident on the floor Saturday. This game was much more than just a battle for state supremacy, though, because with the win the Wolverines now sit alone at the top of the Big 10 standings.
Even though the Big 10 is normally known for its defensive prowess on the hardwood, there was no lack of scoring in this contest. The Wolverines mounted a second half comeback to win the game 80-75 and are now in prime position to win the Big 10 regular season title. The winning effort was led by Nik Stauskas, Derrick Walton Jr. and Chris Levert, who combined for 55 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. The trio also combined for 10 three-pointers in the much needed win for the Wolverines.
The Wolverines are now on a nine-game-winning streak and the win against the Spartans marked the Wolverines third victory against a top-10 opponent in just a week’s time. The Wolverines are playing like one of the best teams in the country at the moment, but can the the team sustain this level of play down the stretch? Michigan still has four top-20 opponents left on the schedule and several trips on the road in the best conference in college basketball left.
Michigan will continue to garner recognition throughout the season as the team continues to win in the tough conference and the battles the team goes through now will only aid the Wolverines come March. Michigan has proven to be a contender yet again, but the Wolverines’ ultimate test lies in the NCAA tournament.
Greg Douglas is an NCAA Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.