Game Preview: Men’s Basketball vs. Michigan State
Host Logan Bourandas and analysts Jeremy Ganes, Caleb Schweiger and Andrew Field dive in to Penn State's next matchup against the Michigan State Spartans. We look at both sides and look at what this match could mean for potential Big Ten tournament seedings:
As March rolls around and the Big Ten season nears the end of the regular season, the conference brings in yet another big ranked matchup. No. 20 Penn State (21-7, 11-6) hosts No. 16 Michigan State (20-9, 12-6) at the Bryce Jordan Center for a top-20 matchup with huge implications heading into the conference tournament.
Penn State comes in playing some of their worst basketball of the season, going 1-3 in its previous four games. The only win came off of a last second Myles Dread 3-pointer to put the Nittany Lions up in the waning moments of the game against Rutgers. Over this stretch the team has put up a point differential of -5.5 points, which is pretty lopsided for a team that had been coming off of an eight-game win streak and was beating teams handily.
Michigan State on the other hand is red hot recently. The Spartans are coming in on a three-game win streak, winning these games by an average of 13.5 points. The teams they beat were no push overs either, taking down Nebraska, then No. 18 Iowa and then No. 9 Maryland with relative ease. This hot streak can be attributed to Cassius Winston heating up, averaging 21 points and seven assists over this stretch.
Penn State Keys To Victory
Penn State needs to wake up from this recent slump as quickly as possible and go back to what was working for it. The Nittany Lions saw the return of second leading point scorer Myreon Jones in the game against Iowa, but he scored only four points on a 2-of-9 shooting from the field night in his long-awaited return.
However, Jones has been one of the best players for the Lions this season and he is the key to success. Everyone in the arena will know that the ball will be given to Lamar Stevens a lot on offense, but with Jones back in the lineup and determined to reignite his fire from earlier in the season, they might just have enough scoring to overpower the Spartans.
Michigan State Keys To Victory
Michigan State’s key to bring down the Lions is on the defensive side. The Spartans have been incredible there with their defense giving up only 64.4 points per game, which is in the top 14% of the NCAA. On top of this, in their three most recent games the best field goal percentage that they have given up was a measly 42.6% to Maryland.
With defensive efficiency like this and red-hot scoring from the aforementioned Winston, the Spartans have all the necessary pieces to take down this Penn State team on the road.
The streaks for these teams could not be more polar opposite of one another, and it would be reasonable to expect that these teams continue at the paces they have set for themselves.
Penn State could always show up to play at home, but Michigan State almost always shows up when it comes down to the wire.
Prediction: Michigan State 75, Penn State 69
Derek Heid is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.