The Michigan Basketball team welcomes Penn State to Ann Arbor in a Big Ten showdown. The Wolverines ended 2022 with an embarrassing loss to Central Michigan, only to turn around and pound Maryland on New Year’s Day. Penn State, is playing as well as any team in the conference.
The Michigan Basketball team has a difficult test tonight against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Nittany Lions have been on a hot streak recently, with victories against Iowa and Illinois in Big Ten play. Michigan, on the other hand, has struggled with losses to North Carolina and Central Michigan. However, the Wolverines did recently pick up a win against Maryland to maintain their undefeated record in the Big Ten.
Michigan Assistant Coach, Saddi Washington, on losing to CMU and then dominating Maryland: “You’ve got to show up every freaking night prepared to battle until the end. And hopefully what we saw the other night is more than norm for us as we move forward. But the Big Ten is the Big Ten and I think, when you have two games like that, it is very clear to the players what the standards should be. They can recognize it better and we can all hold each other more accountable to that standard.”
One key factor in this matchup is the absence of Michigan point guard Jaelin Llewellyn, who is out with an ACL injury. Despite this, the Wolverines have a strong defense, ranking 73rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard will be key in contesting shots and protecting the rim for Michigan. Penn State, known for their 3-point shooting offense led by Jalen Pickett, will need to be consistent in order to secure a victory. However, their experience could give them an advantage, as they have had success against less experienced opponents like Illinois.
Michigan Wolverines Basketball
Michigan Center Hunter Dickinson needs to impact the game. If Penn State is able to limit his touches, then he needs to rebound, pass, and defend his way to a Michigan win. Michigan’s size can exploit PSU’s lack of size offensively. However, Michigan and Penn State both struggle with offensive rebounding. Michigan ranks 296th in the nation and Penn State 360th. This means that second scoring opportunities will be scarce for both teams on offense.
Defensively, Michigan is holding opponents to 47.5% shooting on 2-pointers and 31.6% from beyond the arc. Dickinson and Jett Howard have high block rates, which is important for Michigan in protecting the rim against slashers. However, Michigan’s starting lineup features underclassmen Howard, Dug McDaniel, and Kobe Bufkin, while Penn State’s starting lineup is made up of seniors, which could give the Nittany Lions a boost offensively.
Saddi Washington on preparing for Penn State: “I think [Micah Shrewsberry] does a great job of trying to keep teams off-balance…they can really stretch the floor with their shooting and with their speed. But then they also have a really talented point guard in [Jalen Pickett]. He’s just a jack of all trades, man. He can score; he can defend; he can pass; he can rebound. And so, we’ve just got a really fly around, play with good length and just make it challenging for them to execute in the half court as well as in the full court because they can really get out and run and be problematic in that mindset too.”
Penn State Nittany Lions Basketball
The Penn State Nittany Lions have a potent 3-point attack, with nearly half of their points coming from beyond the arc. They have a strong shooting percentage from deep, at 38.8%. Additionally, they also excel at shooting from inside the arc (53.5%) and from the free throw line (77.9%). Jalen Pickett is a key player for the Nittany Lions, as he is the only player on the team with 65 or more 2-point attempts this season. He has converted on 55% of those attempts.
In their upcoming matchup against Michigan, the Nittany Lions’ offense will face a tough challenge in the Wolverines’ defense, which ranks 73rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard have the ability to contest shots inside, which could potentially limit Pickett’s production.
Both teams have had their difficulties this season, but the Nittany Lions come into the game with a hot streak. Penn State’s offense relies heavily on ball screens, and Jalen Pickett has excelled in this aspect of their play. Michigan has struggled defensively when it comes to points allowed per possession on ball screens, ranking near the bottom of the country in this category. On the other hand, Penn State has allowed the third-most points from post-ups among all teams.
This matchup features two strong offenses facing off against defenses that have struggled in areas that have allowed the offenses to thrive. The experience of Penn State’s senior-led starting lineup could give them an edge, but it will ultimately come down to which team can execute their game plan and come out on top.
Michigan Basketball Notes
- Both Michigan and Penn State rank among the top teams in the nation for turnovers, with Penn State leading the conference and the nation at 8.8 and Michigan ranking second at 9.6.
- Michigan recently snapped a two-game losing streak with a win over Maryland, 81-46, on Sunday at Crisler Center. Hunter Dickinson led the Wolverines with a season-best 32 points and 12 rebounds, earning his third double-double of the season and 20th of his career.
- Dickinson is leading Michigan in scoring (18.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg) for a third straight season. He has 11 double-figure games this season, with six 20-plus efforts and two 30-plus.
- Kobe Bufkin has moved into third on the team with 12.1 points per game, thanks to seven double-figure games over his last eight, including two career-best 22-point performances.
- Dug McDaniel, who has recently moved into the starting lineup, has 21 assists as a starter (4.2 apg) and adds 6.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
How to watch Michigan vs Penn State
Tip-off: 7 PM EST
TV: Big Ten Network
Stream: Fubo TV
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