A sibling rivalry takes center stage when No. 4 Michigan State meets on No. 18 Virginia on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Charlottesville, Va.
Both Marquette transfers, Joey Hauser leads the Spartans (5-0) against Sam Hauser and Cavaliers (3-1), who have won 23 of their past 24 nonconference home games.
The Spartans have never lost to the Cavaliers, compiling a 5-0 record that includes knocking them out of back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2014 and 2015.
“It’s definitely a really exciting time for our family, and obviously UVA has a history with Michigan State, too,” Sam Hauser said after scoring six of his 18 points in overtime Friday during the Cavaliers’ 71-64 victory against Kent State.
“There’s a lot of hype around this game. But we have a lot to learn and get better in these next few days before that game, so we’re just looking forward to focusing on ourselves a little bit but also getting ready for a good team in Michigan State.”
Sam Hauser, a 6-foot-9 redshirt senior forward, leads Virginia with averages of 14.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 43.8 percent (7 of 16) from 3-point distance and just celebrated his 23rd birthday Tuesday.
Younger brother Joey Hauser, a 6-foot-9 redshirt junior forward, posted his third double-double of the young season with a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds Sunday in Michigan State’s 79-61 win against Western Michigan. He leads the Spartans in scoring (14 ppg) and rebounding (10 rpg) and is shooting 39.1 percent (9 of 23) from deep.
The brothers from Stevens Point, Wis., both sat out last season after transferring from Marquette, where they helped the Warriors finish second in the Big East with a 24-10 record that ended with a first-round NCAA Tournament exit.
“He’s got the upper hand on me all the time. He’s my bigger brother, so I want to beat him, obviously,” Joey Hauser told the Detroit Free Press. “I was trying to work on my game a ton this summer, just in case. … I gotta make sure all those old moves that he knows that I’m doing, I gotta change it up a little bit and show some new things.”
During their lone season together at Marquette in 2018-19 — a season that ended with Virginia capturing its first national championship — Sam Hauser started 33 of 34 games and averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds with 85 3-pointers. Joey Hauser started 31 of 34 games and averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 boards with 61 treys.
Both brothers have strong supporting casts.
Rocket Watts is averaging 13.6 points and Aaron Henry is contributing 11.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for coach Tom Izzo’s Spartans, who already have two wins against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents this season (Notre Dame and Duke).
Seven-footer Jay Huff averages 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots, while Rice transfer Trey Murphy III is averaging 10.8 points for coach Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers, who have won two straight since a stunning 61-60 loss to San Francisco on Nov. 27 in Uncasville, Conn.
–Field Level Media