The Michigan–Michigan State basketball competition is a school basketball competition between Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball and Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball that is part of the larger intrastate rivalry between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University that is across a broad spectrum of endeavors including their overall athletic programs: Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans. On the subject, the athletic competition includes the Paul Bunyan Trophy and the Michigan–Michigan State hockey baseball competition, but goes to almost all sports and several other types of achievement. Both groups are members of the Big Ten Conference. The competition was evidenced both on the court and off the court. Among the off the court elements of the rivalry, recruitment of basketball talent has resulted in battles, the most notable of which turned into the University of Michigan Football scandal, the investigation of which started when both schools sought the professional services of Mateen Cleaves.
Michigan currently leads the series, which began on January 9, 1909. As a result of this Big Ten moving to 11 teams with the inclusion of Penn State, teams were not guaranteed two matches against every other. Accordingly, the schools chose to play one game that did not count as a convention game in 1997. When the Big Ten went into a 20-game conference program in 2018–19, the conference declared the teams would play each other two in each season.
A 1996 rollover injury throughout Michigan’s recruitment of Mateen Cleaves led to a long investigation surrounding the University of Michigan basketball scandal. Cleaves finally matriculated in Michigan State.
Despite the intense competition for basketball recruits and tools along with the degree of the competition in other sports, the competition hadn’t been extreme (as quantified by rankings) on the basketball court before the 2010s when the teams met 7 times in a row as ranked opponents.
On February 12, 2013, for the first time in the series’ 170-game history, dating back to 1909, the teams met while both were ranked in the Top 10. The Spartans (20–4, 9–two Big Ten) were ranked No. 8 in the AP Top 25 Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll, while the Wolverines (21–3, 8–3 Big Ten) came in ranked No. 4 in the AP poll and No. 5 in the coaches poll. Michigan State won the game at the Breslin Center, 75–52. The next month, both teams were once again ranked in the Top 10, this time Michigan was on the winning end of a game played at the Crisler Center, by a score of 58–57.
Indiana Mr. Basketball for 2012, Gary Harris, and 2013 Indiana Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin were teammates at Hamilton Southeastern High School, but Irvin signed with Michigan after Harris had united Michigan State. The two were best friends from third grade through high school as well as wagered on the January 17, 2012 game in high school following the two had committed to distinct basketball programs, with Harris needing to wear Maize and Blue to get a day as a result.
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