March 1, 2013
McCormick on Michigan, MSU
ESPN college basketball analyst Tim McCormick knows how tough it was for Michigan when the Wolverines ventured to East Lansing. He offers up some thoughts about the return trip to Ann Arbor.
On Michigan's level of desperation in this one, coming off the loss at Penn State: "It's a wonderful question. After watching the Penn State game, I tried to justify it to myself: 'Okay, this is fine, because it's going to make Michigan mad. Their practices will be a little bit more intense, they'll be ready to go.'
"I've seen a lot of teams where the tipping point between angry and mad and intimidated and worried
it's a fine line. It can go either way. I really don't know."
On what Michigan needs to do to beat Michigan State: "It has to rebound the ball. Not necessarily win the rebounding battle, but you can't play against [Branden] Dawson and [Adreian] Payne and [Derrick] Nix and just try to out-score and out-finesse them. There has to be a concerted effort by everybody to compete on the glass.
"The reason it's so important is, Michigan's best ball is in transition. There is no denying that. You can't run if you don't get rebounds and force some steals. Michigan State is not a great offensive team, and they will miss shots.
"The concern that I have is, they grab about half of their misses. If that happens, Michigan will not win the game."
On how much tougher or more physical Michigan can be in the upcoming game, as opposed to what it showed in East Lansing, and whether the venue plays a role: "Being in your own building makes a massive difference. I remember as a kid, when I was playing with my friends in my backyard, I always felt a lot tougher. I felt like nobody was going to push me around - this is my backyard.
"I loved anything in my backyard. But when you go to your friend's backyard, you're not quiet as sure. I think Michigan will play a lot better. Crisler Center can be worth eight to 10 points from a confidence standpoint.
"The start of this game is so important. If Michigan gets off to a quick start, they'll get a little swagger and they'll start to believe in themselves again."
On what Michigan has to worry about from Michigan State beyond its rebounding prowess: "Keith Appling is really important. In Michigan's most forgettable moments, they play teams that have done a great job on Trey Burke. Yogi Ferrell was really good defensively. Aaron Craft was really good at stopping Trey Burke.
"Appling did a great job in East Lansing. I think that's a really important match-up. Appling made two out of his last 16 shots, so he's a little bit fragile, too. That's a very important match-up to watch."
On a gut feeling about the outcome: "I picked Michigan State by five in the Breslin. I think they're pretty similar teams. So I think Michigan will win by five."
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