The Michigan–Michigan State basketball rivalry is a college basketball competition between Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball and Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball that is part of their bigger intrastate competition involving the University of Michigan and Michigan State University that is across a wide spectrum of endeavors including their general athletic programs: Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans. On the subject, the athletic rivalry includes the Paul Bunyan Trophy along with the Michigan–Michigan State ice hockey rivalry, but goes to almost all sports and many other forms of achievement. Both groups are members of the Big Ten Conference. The rivalry was evidenced both to the court and off the court. One of the off the court elements of this competition, recruitment of basketball talent has resulted in battles, the most notable of which turned to the University of Michigan basketball scandal, the investigation of which started when both schools sought the professional services of Mateen Cleaves.
Michigan now leads the series, which began on January 9, 1909. As a consequence of the Big Ten moving to 11 teams with the addition of Penn State, teams were not guaranteed two games against each other. Accordingly, the colleges chose to play 1 game that did not count as a convention game in 1997. Whenever the Big Ten went to a 20-game conference program in 2018–19, the conference declared that the teams would play each other two in each season.
A 1996 rollover accident throughout Michigan’s recruiting of Mateen Cleaves led to a long analysis surrounding the University of Michigan basketball scandal. Cleaves eventually matriculated at Michigan State.
Regardless of the intense competition for basketball recruits and resources along with the intensity of the rivalry in other sports, the rivalry had not been extreme (as measured by rankings) on the basketball court until the 2010s when the teams met 7 times in a row as ranked opponents.
On February 12, 2013, for the first time in the show’ 170-game history, dating back to 1909, the groups met while both were rated in the Top 10. The Spartans (20–4, 9–two Big Ten) were ranked 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 in the Breslin Center, 75–52. The following month, both teams were again ranked in the Top 10, this time Michigan was on the winning end of a game played in the Crisler Center, by a score of 58–57.
Indiana Mr. Basketball for 2012, Gary Harris, and 2013 Indiana Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin were teammates in Hamilton Southeastern High School, but Irvin signed with Michigan after Harris had joined Michigan State. Both were best buddies from third grade through high school as well as wagered on the January 17, 2012 match in high school following the two had committed to different basketball applications, with Harris having to wear Maize and Blue for a day as a result.
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