Basketball: MSU vs U of M by the numbers

Carter Landis, Sports Editor

The Michigan State Spartans have been just about as good as anyone would have expected. But have they been much better than their rival in Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines?

Strength of Schedule: Michigan 62, MSU 108

Michigan has played tougher teams all year and only have one fewer win than MSU. In the games where Michigan played the same teams as MSU, they won those games by larger margins than the Spartans did.

Points per game: Michigan 74.5, MSU 81.0

If there’s any argument left that Tom Izzo’s squad is better than John Beilein’s, it’s that the Spartans are an offensive juggernaut – when they want to be. They have guys like Miles Bridges and Nick Ward who can pound the rock inside, and they have shooters on the outside like Cassius Winston and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Rebounds per game: Michigan 33.3, MSU 40.8

This one seems relatively obvious, as Michigan State is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Bigs like Jackson, and Nick Ward, along with bench presences Gavin Schilling, Xavier Tillman and Kenny Goins, command the boards night in and night out.

Assists per game: Michigan 14.8, MSU 19.3

The Spartans lead the nation in assists, largely in part to point guard Cassius Winston averaging close to seven per game. Tom Izzo makes it a goal annually to share the rock and get everyone involved, which has led to extensive success.

Points against: Michigan 63.5, MSU 64.8

Early in the season, Michigan State lead the country in opponent field goal percentage. They later tailed off, and are now only 20th in the nation. Michigan, however, skyrocketed to 9th in the nation with some solid team defense, especially in the Big Ten Tournament.

**Sources courtesy of ESPN and