EAST LANSING – Michigan easily won the first showdown, blowing the Spartans out by 19-points on their way to an outright Big Ten title on Thursday night.
With an opportunity to receive a 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, Michigan State knocked off the No. 2 Wolverines in a rematch Sunday afternoon.
MSU upset Juwan Howard and U-M following a 70-64 victory behind a stellar performance from Rocket Watts.
Michigan State played seven contests in 16 days, winning five and knocking off three ranked teams in Michigan, Ohio State, and Illinois.
That run helped improve MSU's 10-9 record, one of the worst in program history, and is precisely what Michigan State needed to clinch another tournament berth.
The Spartans led for most of the second half, leading by as much as 11-points with 5:58 remaining.
Michigan wouldn't threaten MSU until 1:13 remained, when Hunter Dickinson battled through fouls, completing a three-point play to pull within two.
Yet, Joshua Langford, potentially playing his final game at the Breslin Center, answered the bell with a huge 3-pointer.
It was a game-clinching shot from the Spartan's lone senior.
It's hard to overstate what Watts did on Sunday, scoring 21-points on 16 attempts with four rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes of action.
The Detroit native dropped 20 against Duke and 23 against Detroit Mercy, but he averaged 6.0 PPG on 29.2% since then.
His reemergence will do wonders for Michigan State moving forward.
MSU struggled offensively early on, as did Michigan, but Joey Hauser, Watts, Langford, and Gabe Brown combined for 43 points.
Watts hit three shots in the final five minutes; Brown made free-throws, Hauser played with an immense amount of confidence, and the fifth-year senior took care of the rest.
Each of them helped lead Michigan State to the finish line after being blown out on the road.
Tom Izzo had previously competed against the same team in back-to-back games three times; the fourth was against Michigan, and the longtime Spartan won every second matchup.
He did so again today.
Never doubt Izzo in March.
Want the latest breaking MSU news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Spartan Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE MAGAZINE ICON at the top left of the page or the FOLLOW button back on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates on Michigan State Sports when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter @McLainGrant1