Theoretically, the NCAA Tournament is still a possibility.
Realistically, Penn State's 65-62 loss to Michigan on Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center was a devastating blow to its postseason hopes and leaves much in doubt as the Nittany Lions head down the stretch.
The Nittany Lions (12-10, 5-6) raced out to a double-digit lead in the first half, but that crumbled in the final few minutes as the Wolverines (14-10, 4-8) caught fire from three point land to take a three point lead by halftime. Later, Penn State came back and pushed the lead to as many as eight in the second half, but Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. came on strong, scoring all of his 13 points in the second half to lead his team to victory.
Talor Battle scored a game high 31 points for Penn State to go with seven rebounds. Cammeron Woodyard had 10 points and also had seven rebounds as well playing in place of the injured Jeff Brooks. David Jackson had nine points and six rebounds and Tim Frazier tallied seven points and eight assists.
None of it was enough, though, and now the Lions are in trouble.
- Cammeron Woodyard did what he had to do and stepped up in Brooks' place. He didn't have the best shooting day from the field (4-11) but he managed to get into double figures and supplement Talor Battle as well as could have been hoped for given the circumstances. As one of Penn State's few veterans heading into next season, it'll be interesting to see if he can keep this momentum through the rest of this year and moving into next.
- The hourglass is beginning to run out on Talor Battle's Penn State career and he played like it today. Lion fans best enjoy what's left of his time here, regardless of how this season ends. It might be a long time before a player like him steps on this campus again.
- Penn State limited itself to eight turnovers, staying under 10 for the second straight game.
- The Lions outrebounded the Wolverines 31-27.
- Penn State got two points off the bench against Michigan. This team's depth issues are a recurring theme, so this comes as no surprise, but it's deflating to watch little change off the bench over the course of an entire basketball season.
- Michigan was 9-19 for 47% from the 3-point line. Penn State allowed volume and efficiency from the perimeter and that's deadly, especially at home. It's no secret the Wolverines like to shoot the deep ball, and yet, the Lions couldn't stop it.
- Andrew Jones came up kind of small with only three rebounds and three points while his Michigan counterpart, Jordan Morgan had six points and 11 rebounds. Penn State lost that matchup, bit time.
- Penn State couldn't get a stop in the final few minutes when it really needed on. You had the sense that Michigan was going to get something on every trip, and when you're playing from behind late, that's not the feeling you want to have.
- The video boards were out on the Jordan Center scoreboard today. Additionally, the rigging for Bon Jovi's concert this week hung pretty low from the ceiling. If anyone had been sitting in the upper deck on that side, they wouldn't have been able to see. The Jordan Center is darn lucky Michigan wasn't able to draw on Super Bowl Sunday, or they might have had some very angry customers.
- This was a game Penn State had to have. Even the conservative Pomeroy models had Penn State getting this one and the Lions lost it. If the goal by year's end is 18 wins, Penn State needs to go 6-1 the rest of the way. Every win short of that number, they'll likely have to make up in the Big Ten Tournament. Hard to overstate how damaging this loss is.
Michigan coach John Beiein with some possibly fuzzy math.
A disappointed Talor Battle talks to the media with Cam Woodyard.
Ed DeChellis discusses the loss.