Okay, I was wrong to predict Michigan State would beat Michigan. See my stupid prediction here. U-M's 60-59 win is cause for me to eat crow, or rather, in this instance, maybe wolverine. And even if the Spartans had pulled it out on their final shot, I would have been wrong, because I'd said I was willing to give points against the spread.
Still, I believe that my reasoning --- the Michigan takes too many three-point shots -- was proven to have some validity that the Wolverines would well heed if they desire to make the most out of their upstart season.
U-M blew an 11-point second half lead by going ice cold from behind the long line, and had its best moments when players went to the bucket, most notably freshman Trey Burke for his outstanding game-winning assist.
For the game, Michigan shot 17 of 24 on two-pointers and 6 of 21 on three-pointers. (Michigan State was 17 for 35 on twos and 7 of 15 on triple tries.)
I've harped on U-M guard Tim Hardaway Jr. shooting too many triples, especially when he missed eight in a row at Iowa, but it's only because he's such an outstanding athlete that he doesn't have to relegate himself to the outside game. Hardaway started out against MSU with another string of long-range misses, but this time he had the wisdom to ditch the downtown game and he seemed to gain confidence when he went in for a rim-rattling dunk. Athletic? At one point on defense, he blocked Spartan forward Draymond Green's layup, and this was from in front, not from behind. Just so show I'm an equal-opportunity critic in this regard, when I view MSU product and fellow Saginawian Jason Richardson in the pros, I ask why he became such a three-point bomber when he has such speed and leaping ability.
As for Michigan State's performance at Crisler, it didn't help that the refs called only eight fouls on U-M. But the Spartans can't much complain, because they were whistled only 12 times themselves. I sort of groaned with four minutes to go, when the announcers indicated that MSU had four timeouts remaining. I'm always on the lookout for overcoaching, and I suppose Tom Izzo knows far more than myself, but you can bet he used each and everyone of those TOs, including for the Spartans' final possession, in a situation where coaches with the ball always call time, but I figure a timeout is usually an advantage for the defense to get set up. Sure enough, MSU didn't get a clean final shot, unless you count Green's right-to-left runner across the lane.
The teams meet again on Feb. 5, at Saturday, at the Breslin Center. In the past, when one school was good at hoops, the other usually was lousy. It's nice to see the rivalry reach it's potential.