Michigan, MSU Midseason Update

Dominic Lucido , Editor

MSU sophomore forward Malik Hall takes on Michigan senior forward Isaiah Livers last year at the Crisler Center (Courtesy: WolverinesWire)

With a season that can be characterized as anything but normal, NCAA Men’s hoops is at its midpoint. Now that our home-state teams have played around half of their regular season games, let’s take a closer look at how the season has gone for the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans.

First up: The Wolverines. U of M has been hot for a great majority of the season thus far. With a 13-1 regular season record and an 8-1 Big Ten record (1st in the conference),  the Wolverines seem to be one of the top teams in the nation. Although it is hard to point out a single true leader on the team, a few names stand out: Isaiah Livers and Hunter Dickinson. Senior forward Livers is averaging 14.6 points per game, shooting a solid near-50% from the field. The 6’7” Kalamazoo native has unmatched determination and fearlessness on the floor. A second key contributor to Michigan’s success has been seven-footer Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson provides a dependable, intimidating presence in the post. Although he is only a freshman, Hunter has shown tremendous skill in his first games as a Wolverine, averaging 15 points on 69% shooting, and 7 rebounds per game. Although U of M has halted all athletic activity for the next two weeks due to the new strand of COVID, don’t expect the momentum from recent conference wins conference against Maryland and Purdue to disappear when the squad hits the floor next. Be on the lookout for this team in March, and don’t be surprised to see them make a deep run in the tourney.

On the other hand, we have Michigan State. Preseason #12, the Spartans have fallen out of the rankings in what has been a disappointing season thus far. Although Tom Izzo and his

team have wins over teams like Duke and Notre Dame, they are 8-4 overall with a mere 2-4 record in the Big Ten. The Spartans seem to be going through some growing pains, as they are clearly missing a player with the dependability that Cassius Winston brought in previous years. Although this season has been a rough one, there are some positives. Aaron Henry has been a key player in the meager success Michigan State has had. The scrappy junior forward is averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds per contest. Also, junior transfer Joey Hauser has also provided some much needed life to the Spartans game. Hauser has a smooth stroke from deep and he plays great defense as he averages 8 rebounds a game. It is clear that MSU has kinks to work out before it can become formidable again, but expect a swift bounce back

 next year, if not the second half of this season.

This crazy NCAA Men’s Basketball season is far from over. Will the trends in both teams stay constant, or will they change? Who knows; but, here’s one thing: expect a well-played, close game between U of M and MSU when they meet in their rivalry game at the end of the Big Ten’s regular season.