3 keys vs. No. 9 Michigan State 

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
5:12
PM ET
No extra motiviation is needed when Michigan and Michigan State meet. The fact both are ranked -- the Wolverines are No. 19 and Michigan State No. 9 -- and coming off stinging road losses to unranked conference rivals just add to the importance.

The Wolverines are coming off a season in which they swept the Spartans, a memory that sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said is his fondest in college basketball. But if the Wolverines are hoping to extend that streak, here are three keys they'll need to focus on in Tuesday's matchup.

1. Freshman point guard Trey Burke needs to stay on the floor. Teams have figured it out: In Big Ten play, Michigan needs Burke on the floor. Without Hardaway Jr. or senior guard Zack Novak, the Wolverines are down. Without Burke, Michigan is as good as out. There is no backup on this team who can manage the offense as well as Burke or a player that keeps the Wolverines playing in transition and getting those easy buckets. That was shown in the Iowa game. He'll have a solid matchup with sophomore guard Keith Appling, but just as he was psyched to play against Wisconsin senior point guard Jordan Taylor, he should be ready to play against Appling.

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