The Big 10 Conference has largely been a colluded jumble of mediocre teams, with both Michigan and Penn State amongst the bottom half of the standings through the early part of conference play. When the Wolverines and Nittany Lions meet on Wednesday night, each team will have the opportunity to not only move up the Big 10 standings but also remain within striking distance of the conference’s top teams. With each team entering the action with losses in three of the last four games, the loser of Wednesday’s game will find it difficult to remain in play for the regular season conference title.
Michigan Hoping to Return to Early-Season
Five of Michigan’s six losses this season have come on the road, with only a one-point defeat against the 10th ranked Oregon Ducks as the lone home blemish of the season. The Wolverines have dropped three of their last four games in conference play, with all three losses coming away from home.
Michigan’s offense is paced by a pair of big men; senior Center Jon Teske and junior Forward Isaiah Livers. While Teske leads the Wolverines with 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, Michigan has struggled mightily since Livers suffered a groin injury five games ago to the tune of a 2-3 record. The Wolverines feature one of the country’s top offenses, averaging 78.2 points per game, third-best in the Big 10. Where the Wolverines have struggled this season has been the defensive side of the ball, as they’ve allowed just under 70 points per game, good for 203rd in the country. Coming off a four-game stretch where Michigan has allowed an average of 82.5 points, the Wolverines defense will have to step up in order to get them back to their early-season winning ways.
Nittany Lions Aim for Road Upset
Penn State hasn’t played much better of late, dropping three of its past four in Big 10 play, albeit with a win the last time they took the floor at home against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions feature two of the conference’s best scorers in Forward Lamar Stevens (16.6 ppg) and Guard Myreon Jones (14.2 ppg), each shooting above 44% on the season. As a team, the Nittany Lions are putting together 77.9 points per game, while allowing 68.0 on the season. Penn State has also been one of the country’s best rebounding teams this season with 39.4 boards per game, a discrepancy they will likely try to exploit against a Wolverines team that has struggled to rebound the ball.
Where the Nittany Lions have struggled the most this season has been knocking down the three-point ball. Shooting just 31.4% from beyond the arc on the year, Penn State ranks 270th in the country and fifth-worst in the Big 10 from three-point range. With only one regular contributor firing at a clip of more than 40% from deep on the season in Seth Lundy, the Nittany Lions will need a strong game on the boards to overcome their difficulties from beyond the arc.
Michigan is 8-1 at the Crisler Center on the season, and the Wolverines are desperate for a win to improve upon their 2-4 conference record this season. While Penn State has been a surprise to this point in the year, the Nittany Lions have struggled mightily in true road games since notching their lone road win of the year against Georgetown in their third game of the season. For a Michigan team that’s ranged from a top-10 team to a Big 10 bottom dweller, the Wolverines will display their true potential in a key conference clash on Wednesday night. I’m thinking this spread is a bit too narrow for a Michigan team that needs this one a bit more than their opponents. Go to https://www.payperhead247.com/ and take the favorite – Michigan Wolverines -5 in this game.
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