Illinois helped provide a blueprint for making Michigan uncomfortable, and more importantly, defeating them.
Play aggressive defense with your guards, disrupt any ball screens, and use a 7-foot Kofi Cockburn to stop Hunter Dickinson.
The problem is Michigan State doesn't have anyone to combat Dickinson, and MSU has struggled against teams with skilled big men. The Spartan's best chance is to continue its newfound physical style.
To do so, Michigan State must utilize its four centers and 20 fouls between them.
Now, how do you defend Dickinson? By keeping him from getting to his spots, forcing him out of the paint, and preventing the star center from settling in.
Dickinson isn't a poor free-throw shooter like Cockburn, but you would rather he earn his points at the line.
Tonight, Michigan State needs more than just Aaron Henry. Joshua Langford, Gabe Brown, Joey Hauser, and even Rocket Watts have to hit shots, or it could get ugly quick.
In the last three games, MSU point guards haven't played well, and turnovers must come down. Michigan State has been better, but against U-M, they need to be great.
It's Game Day
Media Timeout: Michigan 7 MSU 2
15:57 left in the first half.
Michigan looks focused and dialed in as they opened the contest on a 7-0 run. MSU is 1-for-6 from the field and might not have the legs to compete tonight.
Media Timeout: Michigan 11 MSU 6
11:54 left in the first half.
The Spartans are shooting 33% overall with three turnovers so far. U-M continues to push the pace and switch things up defensively, clearly trying to test MSU's legs early.
Media Timeout: Michigan 18 MSU 14
7:50 left in the first half.
MSU is hanging around and down just four points with less than eight minutes remaining. For once, Michigan State's opponent is having trouble protecting the basketball. U-M has seven turnovers resulting in six points for the Spartans.
Media Timeout: Michigan 30 MSU 23
3:14 left in the first half.
Michigan's two big men, Austin Davis and Hunter Dickinson both have two fouls. Aaron Henry is 4-of-6 from the floor with nine points, two rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and one steal. He's doing everything for MSU, per usual.
Notes: Following the flagrant one handed to Henry, Michigan ended the half on a 9-2 run and headed into the locker room up by double-digits.
Media Timeout: Michigan 49 MSU 32
15:23 left in the second half.
Michigan is pulling way after starting the second half with a 10-0 run. MSU is looking for a response.
Media Timeout: Michigan 54 MSU 36
12:15 left in the second half.
Michigan is running away with it. Aaron Henry needed help tonight and hasn't had it. Joshua Langford is 2-for-9 from the field and clearly tired. Gabe Brown has taken one shot in 18 minutes and Rocket Watts hasn't been efficient.
Media Timeout: Michigan 61 MSU 36
7:36 left in the second half.
Final: Michigan 69 MSU 50