ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan coach John Beilein knows Saturday’s home contest versus No. 10 Michigan State -- his biggest rival -- is U-M’s greatest test this season so far.
“We got a great challenge ahead us of tomorrow,” Beilein said. “This Michigan State right now, the way they are playing right now – is as good as they played in the past couple years. After that Nebraska loss, they have been a terrific basketball team. And whet they’ve done in the game the other day and the game before that, it’s just a really good team.”
Michigan (17-6, 7-3 Big Ten) is coming off arguably its worst performance Tuesday night, when Indiana handed U-M an 80-67 home loss, which has Beilein concerned as U-M prepares for MSU.
“There is always those issues that you have to worry about,” Beilein said U-M on not coming out flat again for the second straight game. “We got to get to where we have been. I thought we really played well against Penn State. We had a lot of confidence after we really did not play well against Rutgers.
“Who knows where we are? But we just got to continue to find the right energy everyday and give everything we have. It’s not easy for these young men to do that. You can say anything, but depth is an issue. And that’s maybe where some of our issues were on Tuesday night, that we just got tired at the end of the first half and we didn’t have answers.”
Beilein is making no promises against Michigan State (19-4, 6-4) on Saturday, he just wants to see a better effort from his Wolverines as they prepare against an experienced Spartan team.
“That we go out and our competitive is really important in this game,” Beilein said. “I mean, this is a really good team. There is no comparison in experience right now. This is really an experienced team; they’ve been to Final Four’s. We got nobody that’s been to Final Four.
“It’s gut check time to be able to go out there and play the best basketball that we can play, and believe in ourselves after what happened in the last five minutes of the first half (against Indiana).”
Michigan plays host to Michigan State at 2 p.m.