I watch every Michigan Men's basketball game and I can't help but notice that the players seem to bring more intensity to some games over others. The games they seem to have the most energy leading up to game time is when they are going to play Ohio State and Michigan State. There are many reasons why the intensity for these games is higher than against other opponents. Many of them were discussed when Stephen Garcia was our guest lecturer. In case you forgot Garcia talked about how people react to different competitors and why. For example he said that players will be more excited for a game when their opponents rankings are higher. Well this year Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State have all been ranked for almost the entire season. Ohio State has been in the top ten, Michigan State worked their way up into the top ten and Michigan has been somewhere between 11 and 22. These are all all very high rankings considering there are over 300 teams in NCAA college basketball. So each time these teams have matched up there has been a high intensity between them. Another topic he discussed was that the more two opponents are alike the more they will want to beat each other. This is especially the case for the times Michigan plays Michigan State. Not only are they close together geographically, but they constantly compete for recruits and fans throughout the state. Another thing that these teams have in common is all season they have been in competition for the BIG10 championship. To show an example of how the intensity for different games varies I included some links to pictures below. One was taken moments after the wolverines beat Purdue. The players on the court look happy that they won but they do not seem to be to intense. Another is to a picture taken right after Michigan beat Michigan State in this picture we see the players are ecstatic that they have just won.
Picture after win against Purdue: http://www.umhoops.com/2012/01/24/photo-gallery-michigan-66-purdue-64/michigan-at-purdue-30/
Picture after win against Michigan State: http://www.umhoops.com/2012/01/17/photo-gallery-michigan-60-michigan-state-59/michigan-state-at-michigan-31/
Both pictures were taken by Dustin Johnston and posted on umhoops.com