Michigan Basketball (23-4, 10-4) will play at Penn State (8-18, 0-14) on Wednesday night. The game will tip off at 6:30pm and be televised on the Big Ten Network.
The Nittany Lions are playing better than their record suggests and just 10 days ago they played Michigan tough at Crisler before losing 79-71. Bad news for Penn State in that Michigan was still staggering a bit from the back-to-back loses (Wisconsin and Michigan State) that preceded that game. There appeared to be some lingering effects in the first half against Illinois on Sunday, but then the Wolverines found their rhythm and it started on the defensive end.
A turning point for Michigan was the return of Jordan Morgan. He is a difference maker with his defense and work in the low post on the offensive end. Against Illinois, Morgan logged 17 minutes of playing time which is the most he has played since before he injured his ankle. Morgan’s experience and leadership are critical to Michigan’s success.
Another key point in the Illinois game was the performance of Caris LeVert. He knocked down two triples and scored 8 points in 16 minutes. However, his biggest impact came on the defensive end where he showcased his athleticism and work ethic while helping his teammates lock down the Illini.
“Today was our first step in getting our confidence back, getting our swagger back, getting back to the type of basketball we like to play,” Jordan Morgan said after Michigan beat Illinois. Michigan did seem to get bogged down during their well known 4-game gauntlet that produced 3 of their 4 total losses. “Coach showed us some old clips of us in the beginning of the year, before the craziness and stuff and how much we were having fun on the court,” Trey Burke explained after the Illinois game. “Us playing with so much intensity in practice, us realizing we need to continue to have fun out there.”
I fully expect Michigan to build off of their second half success against the Illini and continue to surge forward as they head into the stretch run. Here is a look at the upcoming schedule:
2/27 at Penn State
3/3 vs Michigan State
3/6 at Purdue
3/10 vs Indiana
Michigan remains in the hunt for a Big Ten Championship and a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Taking care of business at Penn State will keep them on track for both of those goals.
Predictions: So far this season I am 24-3 and Joe is 23-4 when predicting the outcome of Michigan Basketball games. We both like Michigan to pick up a win at Penn State
Joe: Michigan 79-65
Rob: Michigan 81-67
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