Scouting Michigan-Michigan State

Keys to victory in Saturday night's showdown of in-state rivals

Updated: January 24, 2014, 11:54 AM ET
By Fran Fraschilla and Seth Greenberg | ESPN Insider

Tom IzzoAP Photo/Tony DingJohn Beilein and Tom Izzo square off Saturday night in one of the best rivalries in college basketball.

With Saturday's highly anticipated matchup between the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) fast approaching, we asked former coaches Fran Fraschilla and Seth Greenberg to break it all down. They each provided a scouting report on the biggest keys for both sides of the ball, with Fraschilla taking the role of Michigan coach John Beilein and Greenberg the role of the Spartans' Tom Izzo.


How Michigan can beat Michigan State (by Fran Fraschilla)

1. Spread out the Spartans and have balanced scoring

One big key for the Wolverines is to make the Spartans defend off the dribble in a way that spreads out their help-side defense. Tom Izzo's team has always played a version of the "pack line" man-to-man defense in which Michigan State defends the elbows and blocks on all penetration. It's effective because it holds Big Ten opponents to a conference-leading 41.8 percent inside the arc.

Fran Fraschilla is a college basketball analyst for ESPN. He formerly was the head coach at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico.