Former Spartan Cleaves praises U-M, team's postseason chances
It takes a lot for the face of the Flintstones and the Big Ten’s all-time assists leader to give credit to the rivals from Ann Arbor, but Wednesday, Matteen Cleaves did just that.
The former Spartan legend, who currently works as a college basketball analyst for the CBS Sports Network, among four current broadcasting jobs, told the Detroit Free Press that the undefeated and No. 2-ranked Wolverines are his team to beat for the national championship.
“It’s hard not to pick Michigan right now, with what they’re doing,” Cleaves told the Free Press. “For me to say Michigan, you know it’s got to be real, because I’m a Michigan State guy through and through. But you’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”
Cleaves said MSU has the potential to reach that level before the NCAA Tournament, and Indiana also is in the mix.
Cleaves has returned to MSU multiple times throughout this season, including visits to offer advice to current members of the Spartans basketball team as well as, most notably, returning for the alumni game at Jenison Field House before the “Game of Change” the following day.
Still, it’s the Maize and Blue, led by sophomore guard Trey Burke that leave Cleaves most impressed.
“Michigan is a great team. Fun to watch, very well-coached and led by Trey Burke,” Cleaves said. “He makes it easy for those guys. They have four guys who can get shots any time they want to. (Junior guard Tim) Hardaway can get a shot any time he wants, (and freshman guard Nik) Stauskas has been a big surprise to everybody.”