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Michigan hopes to snap skid against Michigan State

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Michigan hopes to snap skid against Michigan State

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan has met Michigan State on the football field more than 100 times since 1898, winning more than two-thirds of the games.

The Spartans, though, have had their way with the Wolverines lately.

``They took it to us four straight years and that's something we're aware of,'' Michigan linebacker Desmond Morgan said.

And if Michigan State can pull off an upset at the Big House this week, it will have a school-record, five-game winning streak in the rivalry.

``It'll be a challenge, going down there, obviously,'' Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said Saturday after losing to Iowa. ``We can talk about that next week, and everyone will get all riled up about things. It'll be good for the blood.''

No. 23 Michigan (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten) is building momentum in Brady Hoke's second season, outscoring Purdue and Illinois 89-13 the past two weeks after leaving Notre Dame last month with a .500 record.

Michigan State, meanwhile, is coming off a 19-16 double-overtime home loss to the Hawkeyes that was its third setback in five games since being ranked No. 10 and getting its flaws exposed by Notre Dame. After playing at Michigan, the Spartans (4-3, 1-2) travel to Wisconsin and host Nebraska.

``It's gut-check time,'' Dantonio said. ``We're in a tough stretch of the schedule, but we'll rise to it. Our guys will play hard next week. You can count on that.''

The Wolverines mostly deflected questions about Michigan State after beating Illinois 45-0 on Saturday, saying they just wanted to enjoy the win.

``Right now, I'm not even thinking about it,'' quarterback Denard Robinson insisted after his four-touchdown performance against the Fighting Illini. ``This is a big win for us.''

Hoke said he was pleasantly surprised how focused his team was last week, preparing to play Illinois without peeking ahead at a chance to finally beat the Spartans.

``I didn't even talk about it because our guys never even mentioned it,'' Hoke said.

Hoke wanted his players to enjoy their second straight win since losing to the Fighting Irish, but acknowledged getting another shot to play the Spartans was on his mind.

``I don't know if you ever don't think about rivalry games,'' Hoke said. ``I think that's always part of what makes us special being Michigan.''

The Wolverines have three true rivalries with Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame. They snapped a record seven-game losing streak against the Buckeyes last year and had won three straight against the Irish before losing to them this year.

But Michigan hasn't beaten the Spartans since 2007 when former Wolverines running back Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as a little brother.

Dantonio, then in his first year as head coach in East Lansing, lashed out at Hart, saying ``they need to check themselves,'' and ``pride comes before the fall.''

Michigan State turned a tie game at halftime into a 28-14 win over the Wolverines last season, recording its second straight win in the series by at least two touchdowns and fourth consecutive victory in the rivalry to match a school record last accomplished from 1959-62.

The Spartans want to stand alone in their record books.

``Getting that fifth win in a row over them would mean a lot to this team, especially in the position we're in right now,'' safety Isaiah Lewis said.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets (26-33) for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, they were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:

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Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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