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Michigan 68, Penn State 55: Sounds About Right

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Michigan’s defense gave the Nittany Lions fits all evening en route to a comfortable win for the Wolverines.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With the calendar turning to 2019, Penn State was seeking to start the new year off on the right foot. Unfortunately for them, a road trip to face an undefeated No. 2 ranked Michigan squad stood in the way of such hopes. While Penn State was able to make things interesting at times, getting within two points of the Wolverines with just a couple minutes left in the first half, Michigan stepped up by forcing a pair of turnovers and hitting some clutch shots to take a five point lead into the locker room.

The second half saw Michigan turn up the heat defensively, forcing even more Nittany Lion turnovers (PSU would finish with twice as many turnovers as Michigan), and jumping out to as large as an 18-point lead. Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins, who both finished with double-doubles, helped spark a 10-0 run that cut the deficit back down to single digits, but never got any closer than within eight points. The end result was a sound victory for Michigan in a game whose outcome was never truly in doubt, leaving PSU still searching for their first Big Ten win.

Four Factors Analysis

The Nittany Lions’ PPP and Turnover percentage tonight were uglier than Buzz’s girlfriend . PSU turned the ball over 18 times compared to Michigan’s nine, and while PSU shot 42% from the field (which while not good, isn’t terrible), they were an absymal 7% from 3-point range (1-for-14). It sure didn’t help that Michigan got to the free throw line more often, converting 13 of their 19 attempts (PSU nailed six of their nine attempts).

Players of The Game

Mike and Lamar carried the load for the Nittany Lions tonight, with each player netting a double-double. Unfortunately, they got very little help from the rest of their teammates from a scoring standpoint. Having only two players make up the vast majority of the scoring is not a good recipe for winning on any given night and against a team like Michigan, it is the touch of death.

Random Observations

You Know It’s Bad When...Dan Dakich is calling your team out for their lack of anything resembling a coherent offense and piss-poor shot selection. Obviously, those of us who watch this team know this is nothing new, but it’s good to see the TV analysts confirm that we’re not being irrational.

You Know It’s REALLY Bad When...A clip of your team’s coach hitting a player in the chest out of frustration on national TV gets spread all over social media. It’s already bad enough that Pat Chambers’ squad is already out of contention for an NCAA Tournament bid (for all intents and purposes), but he may have turned up the heat several notches on his seat with this type of behavior. It remains to be seen whether this leads to any sort of reprimand or disciplinary action taken against him, but it’s a terrible look, regardless.

Looking Ahead

Penn State (7-7, 0-3) heads back to the friendly, cavernous, confines of the Bryce Jordan Center to take on the 22nd-ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Tip-off is this Sunday at 7:30 PM ET on BTN.