By Larry Lage, AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tom Izzo dislikes Michigan and doesn’t hide it.
John Beilein, meanwhile, can’t work up the same emotions for Michigan State.
“He doesn’t like us,” Beilein said Friday. “I’m not a hater.”
Both coaches, though, are not fond of the unfriendly rivals having only one scheduled game this season.
“Playing your rivals twice is what everybody wants,” Izzo said.
Michigan and Michigan State will be scheduled to face each other twice in the future, starting next season when the Big Ten goes to a 20-game conference slate.
The fourth-ranked Spartans (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) will play the Wolverines (14-4, 3-2) in this season’s only guaranteed matchup at the Breslin Center, where the unwelcomed visitors have won just twice in two decades.
“It’s one of the more festive atmospheres in the Big Ten,” Beilein said. “They don’t take very kindly to the maize and blue.”
Here are some things to keep an eye on when the series resumes Saturday:
BOARDS AND THE BREAK
Rebounding is one of the pillars of Izzo’s program, a part of the game he values at both ends of the court.
Beilein, meanwhile, is only concerned about rebounding when his players are blocking out on defense. He doesn’t want the Wolverines crashing the glass when they’re on offense. He won’t care if the Spartans gets twice as many rebounds as Michigan, he insisted, as long as his team limits how many offensive rebounds and second-chance points they get.
Getting back on defense, instead of trying to get a rebound off a miss, is also part of Beilein’s plan to slow down Michigan State’s transition offense.
Miles Bridges’ body language suggested he was frustrated with being held scoreless for 30-plus minutes in Michigan State’s overtime win against Rutgers earlier this week. Izzo is publicly and privately saying he has to play more selfishly to create more shots for himself instead of passing so often to teammate.
“I had to tell him that being a good teammate means that you help the team win and if you’re the best player you’ve got to help this team win by being a little more aggressive,” Izzo said.
Bridges’ best friend, point guard Tum Tum Nairn, is also putting pressure on his teammate.
“He has to be at his best for us to be…