Maria Deckmann /Daily. Buy this photo.

For the first time this season, Michigan will face Michigan State on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at Crisler Center. This game was added to the schedule after the first three scheduled matchups between the teams were postponed.

The first game was scheduled for Jan. 18 but was postponed due to COVID-19 health and safety protocol within the Spartans. The next two games, originally supposed to take place on Jan. 26 and 28, were postponed due to the Michigan Athletic Department’s two-week pause. 

With only 25 days until the start of the Big Ten Tournament, there is limited time for the Wolverines to make-up the six games they had to postpone in the past two weeks and three missed earlier in the season. This week was originally scheduled to be the team’s bye week before facing No. 15 Indiana on Feb. 18 at home. Playing the Spartans on Tuesday means the only conference teams Michigan will not have played are Rutgers, No. 9 Maryland and Penn State. 

Michigan is coming off its first game in 21 days, a victory over Purdue. Still feeling the effects from a 21-day hiatus, player’s conditioning and strength is vital to the team’s success going down the stretch of the season. 

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with this group over the course of this season,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “The kids sat me down and said, ‘We want to play. We want to follow the protocol. We want to make sure that we’re healthy and we’re safe, and we’re doing it the right way. And if that means a return to play needs to be for the player group, and then we got to make sure our heart rate stays good, whatever we need to do. We’re ready to do it.’ I am proud of the way our kids handled that.”