MBB: Penn State vs. Michigan Preview

Audio/Story posted January 29, 2016 in CommRadio, Sports by Madeleine Balestrier


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 mrb5883@psu.edu

About the Contributors

David Arroyo's photo

David Arroyo

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo currently serves as one of two General Managers for CommRadio. David is a former arts & entertainment director, social media director and editor for the station. He has produced for multiple Penn State sports while in CommRadio, has done play by play for Penn State sporting events such as football, basketball and volleyball and co-hosted and produced his own talk show. During the fall of 2017, David was an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David most recently interned at WPVI-TV, 6abc in Philadelphia during the summer of 2018. While at 6abc he was a programing intern and helped in the production of their weekly show “FYI Philly.” David has interned at B94.5 (State College) and Center City Film and Video (Philadelphia). Follow him on Twitter (@_arroyodavid) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Madeleine Balestrier's photo

Madeleine Balestrier

Sophomore /

Madeleine Balestrier is a sophomore member of ComRadio majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in entrepreneurship and women’s studies. At ComRadio, Madeleine produces men and women’s soccer, hosts the Mads B. and Bria D. talk show and enjoys writing game previews for football and basketball. Previously Madeleine wrote for College Magazine, but continues to participate in the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM). During the spring semester, she plans to intern with WPSU’s sports production department. This summer and beyond, Madeleine hopes to find herself in Boston covering either the Patriots, Red Sox or Celtics. Follow her on Twitter @Mads_Hatter18 or email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Joe Esquivel-Murphy's photo

Joe Esquivel-Murphy

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a senior from Bay Head, NJ, majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. He has done play-by-play and beat writes for almost all the sports from CommRadio.  His two talk shows, Murph’s Lounge and Road to Russia, covered various different topics as the later previewed the qualification process to the World Cup with the former discussing relevant sports events. Joe also had an internship for Shore Sports Network (an affiliate of Town Square Media) before his junior year. To contact Joe, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).