The No. 6 Michigan Wolverines will travel to Pennsylvania to face off against the Penn State Nittany Lions on Tuesday after a revenge victory over Wisconsin.
Michigan is seeking its third straight victory while Penn State is hoping to build confidence after a four-point loss to Ohio State. Here is a preview, and a prediction for this battle between these two teams.
What: No. 6 Michigan (22-2, 11-2) vs. Penn State (8-15, 1-11)
When: Tuesday, February 12, 8:30 PM on Big Ten Network
Where: University Park, PA
Keys to Victory for Michigan
The Wolverines have had one of the top defenses in the nation and are holding opponents to 60-or-fewer points in 17 games, with seven of those games having opponents score 50-or-fewer points.
As the steady leader on offense and defense, Zavier Simpson contributes massively to the result of every game. Thus far into the season, Simpson is averaging 9.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. He also adds a team-best 36-steals.
Scoring off turnovers is the only way opposing teams can counter Michigan’s top-notch defense because it enables them to rack up points before the Wolverines can set up their defensive schemes. Therefore, limiting turnovers will secure a Michigan victory.
On the offensive side, Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews need to continue being the spark for Michigan. Ingas “Iggy” Brazdeikis will also be a significant factor in this matchup. These three Wolverines will absorb the offensive workload and will each score around 15-points to guarantee a Michigan win.
Keys to Victory for Penn State:
Penn State’s leading scorer, Lamar Stevens, is averaging 18.9 points-per-game. Nevertheless, he will need to score well over his season average. Along with forcing turnovers, this is another way that Penn State can attack the Michigan defense.
Moreover, the Penn State defense must shut down Michigan’s three-pointers. This long-ranged weapon is deadly when the opposing defense cannot guard it, and the Nittany Lions will have to limit its impact on the outcome of the game to attain maximum success.
Another key for Penn State will be to keep composure when Michigan goes on a run. For instance, look at Binghamton– who remained a threat in the game for the majority of the match versus Michigan. It was only in the closing minutes of the second half where the Wolverines separated themselves for good. Despite this, the Bearcats fought hard, had an excellent chance to win, and nearly handed the Wolverines an upset loss back in December.
All in all, everything must be perfect for Penn State to win. Lamar Stevens needs to have a career night against one of the nation’s top defense.
In the end, the Nittany Lions will stay close with the Wolverines until halftime is a few minutes away. From this moment on, Michigan will cruise to an easy victory. Penn State has not had a great season at all, with only one Big Ten victory, but who knows, this is a Big Ten matchup, and anything can happen when conference rivals face off.
Final Score: Michigan 72 – Penn State 55
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