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Can Michigan solve Michigan State?

If we're all honest here, Minnesota was simply in the way Saturday.

Wisconsin, too.

The field like Michigan and Michigan State Part III was going to happen this weekend. Not just because Michiganders deserve it after a long winter, but because these two seemed to be the best two teams in the league this season. Now it's official.

For Michigan, this is a chance to get back to the Spartans – including one for Big Ten regular-season title last week. Michigan entered this tournament all business, insisting the loss to MSU last week didn't ruin their mindset. The Wolverines responded by thrashing Iowa on Friday before running Minnesota out of the gym Saturday.

Michigan's Isaiah Livers (4) is congratulated why his teammates after a dunk shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota in the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Chicago. (Photo: Nam Y. Huh, AP)

Both performances were vintage March John Beilein. Michigan whipped the ball around the floor with ease on offense, got great looks and took advantage more than not.

Michigan (28-5) reported this against just about everyone not named Michigan State this season. Now? We'll see if they can solve it, or be forced to live with three losses in three tries against a rival.

A championship banner is on the line, of course, as Michigan has a chance to become the first team in league history to win the Big Ten tournament three straight times. Bragging rights, all that, are up for grabs, too. But more important, for Michigan, it's an opportunity to create serious momentum in the most important March tournament. [194590018]

floor. The Michigan State big man was absolutely critical in each of MSU's win over Michigan this season. Cassius Winston is the Big Ten player of the year, he's outstanding. He'll get his. But if Michigan can figure out how to get off-screen action when Tillman's on the floor, it'll have a better day.

If it can't, Sunday might be a pure repeat of the last two meetings between these two.

Michigan head coach John Beilein directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota in the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Chicago. (Photo: Nam Y. Huh, AP)

Is this offensive surge the real deal?

Michigan, once again, looked like a classic Beilein team.

The Wolverines spread the floor, pushed the ball into control when they had opportunities and knocked down open shots. Just like they did Friday night against Iowa.

Neither the Hawkeyes nor Gophers are great defensive clubs, but Michigan just looks more comfortable and confident right now. More than it did, really, at any point during the final 10 games of the regular season.

This looks more like the version of Michigan we saw when the team was in the middle or tearing off 17 straight wins to open the season. A team that locked people down, moved the ball and played with supreme confidence on the offensive end.

Quite simply, if Michigan shoots like this, it has a chance to beat anyone it plays. Michigan finished Saturday 10 of 26 from 3 and got triples from five different players – including four from Isaiah Livers. Zavier Simpson was 3 of 4 from deep, finishing with 15 points and nine assists.

The Wolverines were hovering around 1.4 points per possession midway through the second half after spending most of Friday's game at 1.3. Those numbers, combined with Michigan's defensive efforts, will work nearly every time.

What U-M's NCAA Seed Situation?

At this point, Michigan seems to have a no. 2 seed locked up regardless of Sunday's outcome. Michigan State will finish the year with more Quadrant 1 victories and has won the season series between these two.

If any team from the Big Ten has a shot at a. 1 seed, it's probably Michigan State. Though both could be very well be. 2 seeds (possibly both in Des Moines as well).

Either way, Michigan did what it needed to order to secure its spot on the No. 2 line this week in Chicago. Winning in Q1, Minnesota didn't.

Either way, the Wolverines appear to be in good shape seed-wise.

Contact Nick Baumgardner at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickbaumgardner . Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter.