The Michigan–Michigan State basketball rivalry is a school basketball competition between Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball and Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball that is part of their larger intrastate competition between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University that is across a broad spectrum of endeavors including their general athletic programs: Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans. On the subject, the athletic competition comprises the Paul Bunyan Trophy and the Michigan–Michigan State ice hockey rivalry, but goes to just about all sports and several other types of achievement. Both teams are members of the Big Ten Conference. The competition has been evidenced both on the court and off the court. Among the off the courtroom elements of this rivalry, recruiting of basketball talent has caused battles, the most notable of which turned into the University of Michigan Football scandal, the investigation of which began when both colleges sought the professional services of Mateen Cleaves.
Michigan now leads the series, which started on January 9, 1909. As a result of this Big Ten moving to 11 teams with the inclusion of Penn State, teams weren’t guaranteed two matches against every other. Accordingly, the schools chose to play one game that didn’t count as a convention game in 1997. When the Big Ten went into a 20-game conference program in 2018–19, the conference declared that the teams would always play each other two in every season.
A 1996 rollover injury during Michigan’s recruitment of Mateen Cleaves resulted in a long investigation surrounding the University of Michigan basketball scandal. Cleaves finally matriculated in Michigan State.
Regardless of 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 seven days in a row as rated opponents.
On February 12, 2013, for the first time in the series‘ 170-game history, dating back to 1909, the teams 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 following month, both teams were once again ranked in the Top 10, now 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, 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 and even wagered on the January 17, 2012 match in high school after both had dedicated to different basketball applications, with Harris needing to use Maize and Blue to get a day consequently.
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