Michigan-Michigan State the Next North Carolina-Duke? Tom Izzo, John Beilein Opine


michigan vs michigan state

Before Michigan and Michigan State played for the Big Ten Tournament title, in what was their third meeting this this season, both head coaches discussed the growing significance of their heated rivalry. Both Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo and Michigan head man John Beilein opined on the idea of MSU-Michigan being/one day becoming on par with North Carolina-Duke.

Playing for the third time in a span of just three weeks, the Michigan-Michigan State blood feud is becoming more relevant and entertaining by the year.

michigan state vs michigan

So get your waist trimmer belt now, because March Madness, and all the food and alcohol consumption that comes with it is now officially here!

MSU won both regular season meetings, 75-63 on March 9 (the regular season’s final day) in East Lansing, and 77-70 on February 24 in Ann Arbor. Michigan leads the all time series 93-83.

Separated by an hour’s drive and 65 miles, here’s where the two schools in the I-96 rivalry currently stand all-time in notable accomplishments, entering today’s Big Ten tournament final.

Source Wikipedia:

There is still a long way to go for Michigan vs Michigan State to be level with Duke vs UNC.

Wikipedia on UNC-Duke

Combining for ten national championships over the last 36 years, Duke and Carolina have captured 28% of the national championships, or greater than one every four years. Over the past 18 years, one of the two teams has been the AP pre-season #1 ranked team in the country 8 times (44% of the time)

since the ACC’s founding in 1953, Duke and Carolina have combined to win or share 49 ACC regular season titles (77.7% of the total) and 38 tournament titles (59.4% of the total), including 14 of 15 from 1996 to 2011.

Carolina is the third all-time winningest programs in NCAA history and Duke is #4. Carolina has won six national championships and a record twenty Final Fours.

Duke has five national championships (tied with Indiana for fourth all-time behind UCLA, Kentucky and North Carolina) and appeared in 11 Championship Games (third all-time) and 16 Final Fours (fourth all-time behind North Carolina, UCLA, and Kentucky).  and has an NCAA-best .755 NCAA tournament winning percentage.

“I think we both agree, and people used to laugh at me when I said, of course I hate my rival,” said Izzo.

“Who wants to hug and kiss the guy that took your girlfriend, you know? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“But I have great respect for them, and I do agree with him. I think we’re on the exact same page, that if we can make this into a Duke-Carolina, you know — and I’m not trying to say we’ve gotten there yet because some of that is over a test of time. But whenever you’re playing in games that matters in the state, that’s big.”

“Matters in the conference, that’s big. When it starts to matter nationally, then you’ve got yourselves something special. When both teams — early on in my career when we were ranked I think 250th or whatever and they were good, then we were ranked in the top and they weren’t very good, it’s hard to have a rivalry.”

“So we got what the media wants, what the fans want, and believe it or not, what the coaches want, because it is important that big games matter, and big games that matter nationally are even bigger games.”

tom izzo

Izzo is completely right in what he said there about how rivalries must have symmetry. Both teams must be on the same relative level in strength and power. Like Carolina-Duke, UM-MSU is played on the final day of the season, but the series still needs a nickname. (The great rivalries always have nicknames)

Said Beilein on the topic:

“I think as far as anybody who’s a Michigan or Michigan State fan, it is that. It’s not as sexy as the North Carolina-Duke game. We may not have NBA players here or Hollywood stars, but that’s okay. That’s okay. But it rivals it 100 percent.”

“As I said before, show me another place where they’ve got two people in the state that have been to four Final Fours in the last 10 years. We have four championships. They’ve got more than that in the last 10 years.

“You’ve got great rivalries everywhere, but not ones that are playing this deep in March, not the ones that — as I say, they sweep us, we sweep them, we split, they sweep us, we sweep them, we split.”

“It’s been a great — particularly the last nine years, we had to get our thing going a little bit, the first three years were not good to us, but after that, we’ve got two great programs — it’s not just great for our state, it’s great for college basketball. Clean programs,” Beilein continued.

“We both have had injuries, we still maintain our ability to be good in the postseason. We’ve both had guys go pro a lot. We still maintain that.”

“We get good people, you’ve got great support from the administration in these two states, in these two universities, and we’ve got great fans and alums.”



Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament final 65-60. They were awarded a #2 seed in the East regional where they will face Bradley in the first round. They will likely need to get past Duke in order to make it to the Final Four.

As for Michigan, they also earned a #2 seed, they will take on #15 Montana in the West regional.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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