Game Preview: Men’s Basketball vs. Minnesota
Logan Bourandas, alongside Andrew Destin, Dale Ostrander and Ben Geller, look ahead to Penn State's upcoming matchup against Minnesota.
Penn State (12-4) will travel to Minnesota (10-6) this Wednesday to take on the Golden Gophers. The Nittany Lions dropped out of the AP top 25 poll after losing two straight games to Rutgers and Wisconsin. This game will be a challenge for Penn State with Minnesota coming off an impressive home victory over Michigan.
The Nittany Lions scored a season low 49 points against Wisconsin last Saturday. Before this game they were averaging nearly 80 points per game. Only four players scored for Penn State, and Mike Watkins and Miles Dread were held scoreless.
Home court advantage has been huge in the Big Ten this year. Minnesota is now 9-2 at home this year. Notably the Gophers beat No. 19 Michigan 75-67 and No. 3 Ohio State 84-71. Minnesota was trailing early in the game against Michigan, but they regrouped to win the game. Minnesota’s star center Daniel Oturu, who averages 19.9 points per game, scored 30 points against Michigan.
Keys to the game for Penn State
Penn State needs to get everyone involved in this game. It is going to be hard for the Nittany Lions to win in any game if they can’t get Mike Watkins going. Penn State needs to be patient offensively and generate more quality shots. It can’t rely on Lamar Stevens to do all of the scoring.
Defensively, Penn State has to contain Oturu. He is shooting 63.8% from the field, which is 38th in the nation. He is also the focal point of Minnesota’s offense. When he is in the game, he takes 25.2% of the team’s shots. He will be a great challenge for Watkins, who will need to be engaged the entire game. Marcus Carr has also been a excellent complementary player in the Minnesota offense.
Keys to the game for Minnesota
Minnesota needs to continue to run its offense through Oturu. The Gophers should also try to get more players involved offensively. In their past three games, Daniel Oturu and Marcus Carr have done the bulk of the scoring. Getting other players involved will be important down the road if other teams figure out how to slow down Oturu and Carr.
Stevens is the biggest offensive threat on Penn State. Minnesota will look to force other players on Penn State to score. Rutgers did this against Penn State and it worked effectively. The Scarlet Knights held Lamar Stevens to 0 points in the first half.
Penn State needs to win this game after losing two straight games in the Big Ten. Minnesota has won four straight at home and will look to build on several big wins so far this season. Expect this to be a classic Big Ten battle, but Minnesota’s home court advantage will be the main reason for its victory on Wednesday.
Prediction: Minnesota 72, Penn State 67
Austin Groft is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism, to contact him please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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