Penn State men’s basketball returns home to take on struggling Wisconsin
For the third time, this season Penn State has lost back-to-back games and it responded with resounding wins. After last week's losses to No. 1 Purdue, 80-60, and Nebraska, 72-63, the Nittany Lions look to get back on track at home against Wisconsin.
The blue and white have struggled away from home, notching a 1-6 record. Meanwhile, inside the Bryce Jordan Center, it has an 11-1 mark.
Penn State has won its last three home games and averaged a margin of victory of 17.3 points, while it rides a five-game skid on the road, losing by 12.4 points.
“We've played well here,” Shrewsberry said. “So maybe there's something here that gives us off a little bit of magic that maybe starts us, and maybe spurs us and gets us going in the right direction.”
Another issue has been on the defensive side of the ball which ranks No. 98 in defensive efficiency per Kenpom, something that Micah Shrewsberry has been upset with.
“We need more committed defenders, more reliable defenders,” Shrewsberry said. “We just don’t have a defensive DNA right now, from anybody. So it’s something we have to pick up.”
Despite all the recent issues, Shrewsberry is only worried about one thing.
“I'm focused on what's next, and that's playing Wisconsin. We got to play as well as we can against Wisconsin, here on Wednesday,” Shrewsberry said. “I got to have these guys ready to go to win on Wednesday, and that's all I'm thinking about.”
Turning attention to the visiting Badgers, they sit in a similar spot to the Nittany Lions.
Under head coach Greg Gard, Wisconsin is 13-9 with a 5-7 record in conference play and is 11th in the Big Ten standings.
Last time out, the Badgers fell to Northwestern, 54-52 on Sunday. It marks the first time in 27 years that the Wildcats swept the season series.
The last meeting between the two sides on January 17 was down to the wire, but Wisconsin took down Penn State, 63-60 in Madison. Junior forward Stephen Crowl was outstanding, notching 21 points and 11 rebounds.
It was also the night Tyler Wahl returned from injury and scored 10 points.
However, since that win, Gard and his team are just 1-4, with a road win over Ohio State on February 2, 65-60.
History does not fall on Wisconsin’s side playing in Happy Valley.
Eight of the 11 wins Penn State has on the Badgers have come at home. Including the last meeting at the Bryce Jordan Center, 81-71, the last time the Nittany Lions defeated the red and white.
Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. in a game with both teams looking to bounce back from their recent struggles and make a push in the final stretch of the season.
“Let's just mail it in and go home, right? They get that choice,” Shrewsberry said. “Or they can say, man, let's go on the run right here, right? They get that choice is how they want to finish how they want to see it.”
Matt Scalzo is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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