Lovie Smith doesn’t believe Michigan State is the more desperate team in this week’s game.

Smith took time during his Monday press conference to break down the upcoming game between his Illinois squad and Mark Dantonio’s Spartans. Record wise, both teams are very similar. The Illini improved to 5-4 with a win over Rutgers while MSU is 4-4 after remaining idle during a Week 10 bye.

However, the two teams are entering Week 11 on totally different streaks. Illinois has won three straight to salvage a 2-4 start and stand on the brink of a bowl. For the Spartans, a brutal October schedule saw them go 0-3 to drop to .500 after a strong start.

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While it may seem like Michigan State is more desperate for a win, Smith did not think that was accurate. He believes his Illini have gone through rougher patches before, and they are equally desperate for a victory because of what it would mean.

Matt Wenzel with MLive.com shared Smith’s comments:

“They’re more desperate than we are? I can’t see that,” Smith said. “I think you have two teams that need a win in the worst way and this time of year that’s how it should be each game you play. I understand what they’ve gone through. We’ve gone through more than they have and our focus is just on that.”

Saturday’s game may not play a role in the B1G race, but it sure is shaping up to be a hard-fought battle on the field. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm EST on FS1.