MBB: Penn State vs. Michigan Preview
ComRadio's David Arroyo, Joe Murphy and Tom Shively preview Saturday's matchup between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan Wolverines from Madison Square Garden.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are on the road to Madison Square Garden Saturday to rematch the Michigan Wolverines.
Penn State looks to redeem themselves from their last game against Michigan, when they fell to the Wolverines 79-56 at the Crisler Center. Penn State is 11-9 over the season and 12 in the Big Ten, while Michigan is 16-5 overall and fourth in the conference.
Coming off of two road losses, the Nittany Lions look to right their ways with a victory in New York, but the Wolverines will be no walk in the park, especially because they are flying high in the conference and starting up a hot streak with three previous wins.
From their previous encounter, Michigan does not have a lot to improve upon; they ran the show and with their offensive play last game against the White and Blue. If Penn State learned anything from their last encounter, they should be aware of their output from beyond the arc, especially with Zak Irvin at the helm. If Mark Donnal finds space to play on the inside then the Penn State faithful better hope for some miraculous defense. Donnal took advantage of our defense shooting seven of 10 from the field.
The most dangerous aspect of the Wolverine’s game plan is their diversity and ability to succeed with any player taking lead. Their last game, against Rutgers, Derrick Walton (14 points) and Aubrey Dawkins (11 points) motivated the offense to success, while Donnal and Irvin were bright spots against the Nittany Lions. Although bare in mind, with an exception of Irvin (eight points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists), all the players mentioned previously have put up double digits in both showings.
With very little to exploit, Michigan finds difficulty in the start and close of their games. They are slow to find their groove initially, but once they gain a lead it is commonplace for them to let their opponents back into the throws of possible victory. If Penn State can start out hot or stay within arms reach of a comeback then they could quite possibly have a shot for an upset against the daunting Michigan Wolverines.
The Nittany Lion’s key to victory is creating more opportunities on the offensive side of the ball. Brandon Taylor carries the brunt of the statistics with 16.2 ppg, where he leads the team overall and the last three games he has accumulated the highest amount of offensive output. If Shep Garner can increase his effectiveness on the inside with his already potent ability beyond the arc, then Taylor and Garner can create a fearsome duo for the Wolverines.
Although Penn State’s defense is comparably better than their offense, the opposition of attack needs to focus and utilize the abilities of Payton Banks and Jordan Dickerson. Banks is second in rebounds on the team, while Dickerson steals the show with blocks. The Wolverines offense is a big test for a sub-par defense, like the Nittany Lion’s.
Besides an obvious mismatch, but not an impossible victory, the Nittany Lions need to maintain constant with their play throughout the game. Too many times have the Nittany Lions given the Blue and White hope of an upset just to watch it dissipate within the last minutes of a game; the Maryland game in December a sad reminder of such occurrences.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are traveling to Madison Square Garden for a basketball/hockey doubleheader with the Michigan Wolverines this Saturday to bring some Blue and White to New York City.
Madeleine Balestrier is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.