MBB: Michigan vs. Penn State Game Preview

Audio/Story posted February 20, 2018 in CommRadio, Sports by By Trevor Palfey

This Wednesday night, the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team will travel to the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania to clash with the Penn State Nittany Lions.  The Nittany Lions come into the contest hungry for a win currently ranked sixth in the Big Ten with an overall record of 19-10.  They also received six votes in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 by their performances last week in demolishing Ohio State at home and only losing to Purdue on the road by three points.  While the 17th-ranked Wolverines come into the game riding a three-game win streak and are ranked fourth in the Big Ten with an overall record of 22-7.

The Nittany Lions will need to make sure a few things happen in this game in order for them to have a chance to win and earn a real résumé booster.  One of these things will be to keep Mike Watkins out of foul trouble.  Although post players Julian Moore and Satchel Pierce did not play terribly in their last game against Purdue, it is unequivocal that Penn State is more dangerous when Watkins is on the floor.  He is fourth in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage shooting 69.2 percent from the field and is ranked second in the Big Ten in both rebounds and blocks as well.  Penn State will also need solid scoring performances from both of their sophomore guards, Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens, in order for them to be competitive in this ball game.  Carr is ranked first in the Big Ten averaging 19.6 points per game, while Stevens is averaging a solid 15.1 points per game.  As always, the Nittany Lions will look to Josh Reaves to bring the energy and defensive pressure into the game as he so often does.  Reaves leads the conference in steals averaging 2.2 steals per game and just seems to make his teammates compete with more energy as well.

The Wolverines will rely on the play of three main players who have similar statistics to each other.  Moritz Wagner, Charles Matthews, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman all average a little above 10 points per game and have similar rebounding statistics too.  Michigan plays extremely well as a team and does not rely too heavily on the play of one individual.  This is the reason you do not see any Michigan players ranked within the top 15 for points in the Big Ten, but they are still ranked No. 17 in the nation and fourth in the conference as a team.  Head coach John Beilein will look for the same unselfish team performance in this game in order for his Wolverines to be successful.        

This game will provide extremely exciting and physical conference basketball in the Bryce Jordan Center where Penn State fans are encouraged to wear white yet again by the student body.  It should be a raucous atmosphere as the Penn State fans feel how close their Nittany Lions are to dancing in the tournament come March if they can win this game.  The Wolverines will look to spoil Penn State’s party by coming in and getting a road win against a tough team who is trending in the right direction.  This Big Ten matchup has all the makings to be a very entertaining game for all to watch.  The Michigan Wolverines and Penn State Nittany Lions will tip off Wednesday night at 7 p.m. inside the Bryce Jordan Center live on the Big Ten Network.  

Trevor Palfey is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email tgp5065@psu.edu.