The No. 10 Michigan State basketball team (6-4 Big Ten, 19-4 overall) is headed to Ann Arbor on Saturday hoping to extend its three-game winning streak. The Wolverines (7-3, 17-6), on the other hand, seek redemption after letting No. 22 Indiana stomp all over them Tuesday.
In Michigan’s worst stretch of the season, the Hoosiers scored 25 straight points in nine minutes to give Indiana a 45-24 lead at halftime, then they scored the first three points of the second half, too.
On top of the pressure that comes with regrouping after a poor performance, Michigan might have to play its 10th straight game without senior Caris LeVert. The guard’s status is still uncertain after being sidelined with a lower leg injury Jan. 2.
The Daily sat down with Michigan State forward Matt Costello at Big Ten Media Day in October to chat about the in-state rivalry, Crisler Center’s environment and the picture of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh wearing an Izzone T-shirt.
The Michigan Daily: How does growing up in Michigan play into your emotions for the rivalry? And now that you’re a senior, what it going to be like playing (Michigan) for a last time?
Matt Costello: What’s a team without a rival? It’s been a fun ride. I love playing Michigan every time just because everyone gets so hype for it — fans, players, coaches, everybody. I’ve really enjoyed the rivalry. It kinda stinks we only get to play Michigan once this year. I wish we could play (Michigan) twice.
TMD: What do you think of the Crisler Center environment?
MC: I think it’s really good. The thing I don’t like about it is how spread out everything is because it’s like, at the Breslin Center, everyone’s on top of you, and Crisler is a little more spread out. It’s a little more of a dimmed-out environment, but when the fans are rocking, it’s just like any other stadium. It gets crazy.
TMD: You’ve been playing against some of these guys for a few years now, like Spike (Albrecht) and Caris (LeVert). What is it like, getting to play these guys years after year?
MC: It’s a cool experience because you don’t get to talk to them that much when you’re playing, but just seeing faces over and over again, seeing film. Like, I probably know their games better than most other people because we’ve watched so much of it. It’s kind of a bond you’ll have forever. Not that you were that personal with them, but you’ll follow them wherever you go because you played them so much.
TMD: The Magic Johnson statue was vandalized not too long ago (in October). What do you think about that?
MC: I think it reflects the opinions of some of the fans, but that’s not all of the fans at Michigan. We know that not everyone is disrespectful like that. It is what it is. It’s a college campus. It’s going to happen. I know we did some last year. What it all really comes down to is we have a (football) game on Saturday, and that’s what we’re playing for. Fans are going to do what they’re going to do. It’s game time Saturday.
TMD: Have you seen the picture of Harbaugh wearing the Izzone T-shirt?
MC: Yeah, it’s funny. It’s crazy what people can dig up. It was really funny seeing that.