The last time Michigan and Michigan State faced each other while both were in the Top 25, Mateen Cleaves was a sophomore for the Spartans - and the Wolverines were trying to move on after ousting coach Steve Fisher.
That was in 1998, but this rivalry is becoming nationally significant again. On Tuesday night, No. 20 Michigan hosts No. 9 Michigan State in a game between two programs having very encouraging seasons. Although each team is coming off a loss, the Spartans and Wolverines are still hovering around the top of the Big Ten.
Michigan State (15-3, 4-1) had won 15 in a row before losing at Northwestern on Saturday. Michigan (14-4, 4-2) lost that same day at Iowa but has still won nine of its last 11.