Penn State 8-16 (0-12 in the Big Ten) at (4) Michigan 21-4 (8-4 in the Big Ten)
Where: Crisler Center
When: Sunday, February 17, 12:00 PM
In what will be the first meeting of the season between the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines, Michigan will be a heavy favorite. Michigan is coming off two consecutive losses, including a thumping at arch-rival Michigan State. (I’m watching UCLA-Stanford as I’m watching this, and Bill Walton just said “thumping” at the exact time I was typing it. Just thought I’d share that.) Penn State is coming off an exciting, yet unsuccessful attempt at getting their first Big Ten win at home against the Iowa Hawkeyes. To compare losing streaks, Michigan is enduring a
brutal two game losing streak, while Penn State is riding a 12 game losing streak. If I were to guess what the line will be for this game, I would say Michigan -24.5, and I would probably take Michigan. This game is going to be a massacre. Penn State’s leading scorer, D.J. Newbill, is coming off of a 26 point eruption in which he hit 3-5 from behind the arc. For Penn State to win this game, he’s going to have to score a hell of a lot more than that, along with Jermaine Marshall matching him.
Michigan is 14-0 at the Crisler Center this season, and Penn State is 1-8 away from the Bryce Jordan Center, with their only win coming at a neutral site against Providence. Trey Burke, once committed to Penn State, is a national player of the year candidate for the Wolverines, averaging 18.2 points per game to go along with 7.0 assists per game. Michigan has one of the top back-courts in the country, with Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.5 PPG). Along with Burke and Hardaway Jr., Michigan also has a few standout freshman, Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary (6.0 RPG), and Nick Stauskas (deadly from behind the arc). Michigan has far too many weapons for Penn State to be able to stop. This game will be ugly, and it will likely be ugly from the beginning to the end.
All the stats heavily favor Michigan, from home/road splits, to points per game. (Penn State: 60.8 PPG; Michigan: 76 PPG)
Michigan is fighting for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament and coming off a blowout loss to Sparty, they are surely pissed off. Penn State is fighting for a win in the Big Ten. I don’t know who has more pressure: Michigan trying to avoid this embarrassing loss, or PSU trying to finally get a win. Penn State better come to play, because Michigan will want to win big to impress the tournament committee that gives teams seeds for the tournament.
Keys for a PSU win: 1. EVERYTHING HAS TO GO 100% PERFECTLY FOR PENN STATE
My prediction: Penn State 56, Michigan 82