Juwan Howard will look to steer his team to a much-needed Quad 1 victory in East Lansing on Saturday. Miles Macklin/Daily. Buy this photo.

The Michigan men’s basketball team appears like it might be getting its once-tumultuous season back on track. After an equally surprising and underwhelming 7-7 start to the season, the Wolverines have rattled off three-straight Big Ten wins.

Despite the progress, it’s not enough for a Michigan team that — as it stands right now — didn’t pick up a single quadrant one win in its entire non-conference schedule. The Wolverines’ only win of that quality was when they battered Indiana in Bloomington last weekend. As important as that win may be, it’s still an unranked Hoosiers squad that doesn’t crack the top-30 in either the NET or Kenpom. Michigan still needs a signature win, the type that can define seasons and be an endorsement on a resumé come Selection Sunday.

On Saturday, against No. 10 Michigan State, the Wolverines have a chance to do just that.

“It definitely would mean a lot,” sophomore forward Terrance Williams II said. “I mean, just winning on the road in general is very hard. So to do it in any Big Ten arena, we really want that. But especially at Michigan State, which is our rival.”

A win at the Breslin Center would be an exclamation point on Michigan’s turnaround. Michigan hasn’t won in East Lansing since 2018, and doing so against a 15-4 Spartans squad would be impressive to say the least.

Walking out of that building with a win, however, is easier said than done.

Michigan State is one of the most balanced teams in America. It has eight players that average over six points per game, but with only two — forward Gabe Brown and guard Max Christie — averaging above 10. The Spartans’ attack comes from all angles, making them a challenge to defend.

“​​They’re a very deep team,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “They get offense from their top eight guys, and I know their bench production is pretty strong. … it’s going to be a very aggressive, tough matchup.”

To take down a team that’s built like Michigan State, an opponent has to exploit its weaknesses. The achilles heel for the Spartans remains their turnover woes. Michigan State ranks 277th in the nation in turnovers per game, averaging 14.3. Michigan, though, hasn’t had much success creating them — it currently sits at 341st in the country, forcing 10.1 per game.

If the Wolverines can’t win the turnover battle, they will be forced to lean even heavier on their stalwarts for the fourth game in a row — sophomore center Hunter Dickinson and surging freshman wing Caleb Houstan.

If the duo can keep their momentum rolling, Michigan could find itself with a win, putting it just out of reach of the top of the conference — something that seemed near-impossible after the Wolverines limped through the early half of the season, riddled with bad losses.

“We learned from our losses,” Williams said. “And we learned how we are going to get over that hump the next time it comes around.”

Saturday, Michigan has an opportunity to move past that hump for good.