A matchup between Michigan State and Virginia at the ACC / Big Ten Challenge started out as wishful thinking and then looked more and more realistic with both teams.The start of the season was in the top 15 and seemed to be in danger when the college -Basketball world tried to set the schedules amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
When after weeks, if not longer, speculation finally became official, Joey Hauser immediately called his brother Sam. « It’s going to happen so get ready, » Joey told Sam, Virginia’s leading top scorer.
« And obviously there was a little talk of who will win, » said Joey Hauser on Tuesday. « I’m the younger brother so I always have to say a little more. He’s the older brother, he didn’t say that much. We’re both very excited. ”
Wednesday night’s game in Charlottesville, Virginia will be the first time the Hauser brothers officially compete against each other. They played Stevens Point (Wisconsin) High together and won two state titles before reuniting at Marquette.
Joey Hauser admits that Sam has historically had more wins in the family driveway, but that game on a nationally televised stage could be an even bigger prize for the victorious sibling.
« He is two years older than me, he was always taller than me. When we got to high school, I got closer and closer, ”said Joey Hauser. « Now I’m a few inches taller than him. He probably has the all-time record. And he won’t admit that I’ve been slowly catching up lately. He won’t admit it, but that’s the truth. Big brothers will never admit that. ”
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This entertaining caption about the game on Wednesday was almost never published. Long before the pandemic, when the two Hausers decided to move on from Marquette, the original plan was to choose a new school together and stay teammates. Joey said he doesn’t have serious conversations with his brother very often, but by the summer of 2019 when they were evaluating their next steps, they had to take a business-like approach. They visited each other together and came up with the idea of staying on a package deal before their respective preferences ultimately led to a split.
« Neither of us wanted to move each other to the other school, » said Joey Hauser. « If you had asked me where Sam should go at that time, I would have said Virginia. He would have said the same thing about me. I think we both ended up in great places and it really worked out for both of us. ”
MSU head coach Tom Izzo has planned out-of-conference games with sentimental ties in the past, and this time the two leagues have done it for him. He joked about telling Joey Hauser on Wednesday to « love and hate your brother for 364 days ». After going through similar scenarios previously, Izzo is also very much aware that the family dynamics in the game can make for a few stressful hours.
« It’s obviously a special matchup, probably for Joey and Sam, but probably a difficult matchup for Stephanie and Dave Hauser because you can imagine your two kids playing against each other in two top 10 programs, both of them. » leading scorers go in? « Said Izzo. « Wednesday night will be difficult, but like I said, the reunions, the Christmas, Thanksgivings, Fourth of Julys for the next 60 years, this will be an event to remember. ”
The fact that the game is taking place in Virginia is another hiatus that the Hausers have come their way as the Cavaliers let a small number of friends and family into the building Wednesday night. Joey Hauser expects that eight to ten people from his group will be available thanks to additional tickets that Sam bought.
The presence of loved ones is another potential distraction for Joey Hauser, who has consistently tried to keep the focus on the game itself, not the two brothers reuniting.
« I just have to stay calm and try not to get overwhelmed, » said Joey Hauser. « Obviously there will still be reports, there will be a game plan that you have to follow. It will be Michigan State versus Virginia. So I’m just trying not to really let those emotions get out of me and just get out there and play basketball like I’ve been doing here for the last four or five games. ”
And yet, Joey Hauser knows that despite his best efforts, it’s an inevitable act, especially when each sibling is such a large part of their respective team. After so much talk and construction, Hauser versus Hauser is finally here and no one knows what to expect until it happens.
« I really haven’t thought about how it will be exactly. It’s one of those that almost doesn’t seem real, you know? « Joey Hauser said. « You have everything you want, so to speak. You are being watched by your family, I play against my brother, we both play on two great programs. Just a little crazy how it all worked out after switching and sitting outside for a year. It’s definitely going to be a moment I’m looking forward to and obviously it’s a huge game so it’s going to be exciting. ”
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Michigan State Spartans Men’s Basketball, Big Ten Conference, Sam Hauser, Virginia Cavaliers Men’s Basketball, Tom Izzo, College Basketball, Michigan State Spartans Football, Atlantic Coast Conference
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