After getting embarrassed off the court at Purdue in their last contest, the Spartans (17-8, 4-6) find themselves on a four-game slide going up against the Wolverines (17-8, 5-5) who are bouncing back from their own four-game skid before beating Minnesota on Saturday.
There are no easy games on the road in the Big Ten and the Spartans found out the hard way, losing three of the last four away from home. Overall they are 1-6 on the road this season and nothing could sound better than the four-game home stand that is about to begin.
Michigan State is a comfortable 14-1 at the Breslin Center this season and while usually that stat would be comforting, the horrific performance against the Boilermakers last Wednesday is looming large.
After being tied at half 26-26, the Spartans only scored 12 points in the second half and were routed, 62-38 in a must-win game on the road.
Now the home stand is more crucial than ever, with the Spartans NCAA Tournament hopes hanging in the balance. It appears that the Spartans need at least 20 wins to be considered, meaning they would have to go 3-3 in their remaining schedule.
"Our work doesnt get any easier," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "We've got to win games and thats all were going to worry about, trying to win enough games to get into the tournament."
The task may seem easier said than done as they still play a home and home with #3 Wisconsin and a tough road game at Michigan.
The Spartans will need the home crowd and the energy of the Izzone to be more present than ever as they take on their remaining schedule head on in hopes that their tournament bubble does not burst.
"Fans should be supporting this team and I think they will be," said Izzo. "We're 17-8 and this is the Michigan-Michigan State game and they should be there because it is an important game for us and it means a lot for everybody. I think the fans will be great tomorrow, I hope they are, but more important I hope our team is," Izzo continued.
The Wolverines feature one of the most veteran teams in the nation, starting four seniors and a junior.
While Michigan holds a 90-69 edge all-time, MSU is 13-2 in the last 15 games.