Big Ten Basketball: Spartans Show Why They Own the State of Michigan

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2013

Photo on left via @NicoleAuerbach and on the right via the AP
Photo on left via @NicoleAuerbach and on the right via the AP

"We On."

That's what the slogan read, printed on the Michigan Wolverines' Adidas-sponsored shooting shirts.

"You Off."

That's what the slogan printed on the shirts of numerous Michigan State student fans read at Tuesday night's much-anticipated matchup between Michigan and Michigan State.

It turned out that when it was all said and done, Michigan was indeed "off," and Tom Izzo's club proved once again that the Spartans own the state of Michigan when it comes to college basketball.

Michigan State's 75-52 route over Michigan was an old-fashion "whoopin," in every sense of the word.

The Spartans looked like a contender to not only win the Big Ten Championship, but a national title, as well. On the other end, the Wolverines looked both overwhelmed and over-matched from the opening tip until the final buzzer sounded.

Often times, MSU fans are left asking this common question after the first week or two of the college basketball season: "Why does Tom Izzo always schedule such tough games early on in the year?"

That question was answered in every way Tuesday night. It is because games like that prepare Michigan State for games like this.

The Spartans have become accustomed to big-time games like this, while the Wolverines simply are not. Michigan State has earned the right to be called "the state's best basketball program," while Michigan is still trying to figure out how to climb that ladder and how to stay up there once they come close to reaching the top.

Michigan is a fun team to watch, especially when they have a favorable matchup that allows their guards to shoot from outside and their forwards to penetrate in the paint. But shame on anyone who believed for a second that it was going to be possible against Michigan State's suffocating defense.

The Spartans held Michigan to under 40 percent shooting from the field in the blowout victory. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III, two of Michigan's top offensive weapons this season, shot a combined 2-of-14 and were noticeably flustered, thanks to Tom Izzo's mastermind defensive game plan.

The Wolverines scored a season-low 52 points and had a season-high 16 turnovers, which resulted in what was by far their largest loss of the season.

The Spartans out-toughed the Wolverines in every aspect of this game and made sure all 14,797 fans watching on hand at the Breslin Center left the arena knowing that as of right now, there is only one elite basketball program in the state of Michigan.