Mar 9, 2023 - Sports

Michigan, Michigan State prepare for crucial men's Big Ten Tournament

Michigan State guard Matt McQuaid celebrates at the 2019 Big Ten Tournament

Michigan State guard Matt McQuaid cuts a piece of the net after the Big Ten Tournament championship game at the United Center in 2019. Photo: Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire, via Getty Images

The men's Big Ten Tournament is officially underway in Chicago.

Why it matters: Michigan State is returning to the site of its last conference tournament title in 2019 and U of M needs a good showing to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Be smart: We asked our Axios Local colleagues for a Big Ten cheat sheet to dig into what is considered an unpredictable, wide-open tournament.

State of play: U of M plays Rutgers Thursday at noon.

  • Michigan State's first game is Friday against the winner of Iowa/Ohio State. Tipoff is 25 minutes after the previous game ends, roughly around 2:30pm.
  • Both games are on the Big Ten Network.
Michigan State (No. 4 seed)
MSU guard Tyson Walker dribbles against Maryland in February
MSU guard Tyson Walker can score in bunches. Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

MSU showed the offensive firepower of a high school JV team at times this season. But coach Tom Izzo is known for peaking in March, and the Spartans have found their shooting stroke lately.

The intrigue: Don't be surprised if MSU sneaks into the final for a shot at Izzo's seventh Big Ten Tournament title.

Michigan (No. 8)
Michigan center Hunter Dickinson shoots against Indiana
Michigan center Hunter Dickinson battles inside against Indiana. Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Wolverines have made five straight Sweet 16s — the 2020 COVID-19 season notwithstanding — and had big expectations this year, especially with center Hunter Dickinson returning for a third season.

What (actually) happened: Dickinson didn't make the leap to superstar and a supporting cast of young players, transfers and coach Juwan Howard's two sons has looked overmatched all season.

  • The Wolverines will likely need to win at least two Big Ten Tournament games — including against No. 1 seed Purdue tomorrow if they beat Rutgers — to even make the NCAA Tournament.

Read the full guide from Axios Local


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