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Health issues finally catch up to No. 3 Michigan State in loss to No. 21 Michigan

Jan 25, 2014, 10:02 PM EDT

Michigan v Michigan State Getty Images

No. 3 Michigan State has been banged up all season long.

Gary Harris has missed time with an ankle injury. Matt Costello and Travis Trice have been sick enough that they had to sit out games. Keith Appling has dealt with nagging injuries that were painful enough to visually affect him during games but not bad enough to keep him out of the lineup.

That’s all in the past. Now? The Spartans are without Adreian Payne, who missed his fifth straight game on Saturday with a sprained right foot, and Branden Dawson, who missed his first game as he tries to get his broken hand healed.

That’s a lot to overcome when you’re going up against the hottest team in the country, and for the first time since November, those injuries finally cost the Spartans. No. 21 Michigan went into the Breslin Center and picked up their ninth straight win, beating Michigan State 80-75 on the strength of a combined 55 points and 11 assists from Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton.

It was the third straight game that the Wolverines have beaten a top ten opponent. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time that happened was in 1987.

Think about that for a second.

For all the injuries and illnesses that the Spartans have had to deal with this season, this was the first time since November that it has actually cost them. And for that to happen, the Spartans had to face a team putting together a win streak the likes of which we haven’t seen in 27 years while they’re down two starters.

Michigan has taken over the top spot in the Big Ten standings, and deservedly so.

But as long as the Spartans can get healthy, they have done nothing to convince us that they are anything other than a national title favorite.

  1. chiadam - Jan 25, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Even harder for MSU since UM just got McGary back. Oh wait…

  2. packhawk04 - Jan 25, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Michigan is on top of the best conference in the country at 7-0 after losing the player of the year, another first round NBA pick, and an injured all-american candidate. Think about that.

    But, ill shed a tear for MSU, who lost a guy because he pounded is fist watching tape…

  3. bigbill8517 - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Michigan beats three top ten teams within a week and the lead in the story is MSU’s injuries? Give me a break!!!

  4. bigbill8517 - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Actually, Michigan State looked much stronger than Michigan in the first half but couldn’t keep it up in the second half despite a deeper bench. Apparently, Michigan’s conditioning was much better than State’s.

  5. joust1 - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Can Izzo pave the road with more excuses on why Sparty lost…injuries to the big guys, no Harris took a fall and Appling has a hurt hand.., and finally it was bad calls…give me a break. His whinning used to only happen during the game. EVERY team goes through these things not every coach spends his post press conference complaining about them…

  6. mnunnunm - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Michigan’s win over MSU was not because of injuries. It was because of coaching. Sure, Adreian Payne is a significant loss for the Spartans but it’s likely he’ll be back on the roster sooner than Mitch McGary will for the Wolverines. The fact is, both Izzo and Beilein know how to play their teams over injuries and will continue to do so as long as is necessary. Both UM and MSU will be glad to have their stars back, but the squads know now that it’s the team, and not the stars, that is key to their success.

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