Big Ten Tourney Preview: Penn State

Submitted by Ace on March 14th, 2013 at 1:23 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT Michigan vs Penn State
WHERE United Center, Chicago, Illinois
WHEN ~2:30 PM Eastern, Thursday (20 minutes after ILL/MINN)
LINE Michigan –16 (Kenpom)
TV BTN

THE THEM

I'm fresh off a four-hour drive and Minnesota/Illinois is halfway over, so this will be short and sweet.

Penn State has received the preview treatment twice around these parts: Preview One, Preview Two. In their prior matchups, the Wolverines defeated the Nittany Lions by eight at home, then were upset by six in Happy Valley for their worst loss of the season.

THE RESUME

Penn State finished the regular season 10-20 overall and 2-16 in the Big Ten, with their only conference wins coming against Michigan and Northwestern (the latter, surprisingly, on the road).

THE TEMPO-FREE

Four factors, conference only:

  eFG% Turnover % Off. Reb. % FTA/FGA
Offense 42.6 (12) 18.9 (9) 28.9 (10) 34.2 (5)
Defense 49.7 (11) 16.9 (10) 28.9 (4) 55.3 (12)

The numbers are still ugly despite Penn State's late-season surge from GopherQuest Hoops Edition to Respectably Crappy.

THE PROTIPS

Box out. For the love of all things sacred and holy, put a body on someone.

Close out. In Michigan's loss to Penn State, the Wolverines allowed the Nittany Lions to hit 10/20 three-pointers—seemingly all blitheringly wide open looks from Jermaine Marshall—despite them shooting below 30% from downtown this season. Michigan's perimeter defense has lacked lately, but all they need to do it get a hand in the shooter's face and they should be able to keep Penn State from putting up big numbers—when contested, their shots tend not to fall.

Get to the paint. Penn State is an undersized squad that allows opponents to shoot nearly 50% from inside the arc despite fouling at an incredible rate (342nd nationally). Good things happen when teams get to the bucket against them.

THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES

Michigan by 16. I continue to believe that Penn State is the team I've seen against every other member of the Big Ten, and not the upset-waiting-to-happen that they've been in their two games against the Wolverines. On a neutral court, with the chance to secure a first-round NCAA tournament game at Auburn Hills, expect Michigan to take care of business.

Elsewhere

UMHoops preview.

Comments

Hannibal.

March 14th, 2013 at 1:29 PM ^

How has Michigan done, on average, against KenPom lately?  Seems to me they have been underperforming pretty badly.  Either they hit it on the nose, or they are 15-20 points to the bad.   Either way, 16 seems incredibly optimistic for this one, given how gawdawful we were against Penn State in two previous contests and how persistent our problems are (even in the win against MSU and the close loss to IU).

DingoBlue

March 14th, 2013 at 1:30 PM ^

Aside from Penn State loss.  Called Michigan win over MSU by 2ish, Called Indiana over Michigan by 2.  Called Michigan over Purdue by.... less than 10 I think.  The unfortunate part is you can't look at kenpom after the game and see what the prediction was.  But you can go back and check eash preview post here or at UMHoops.

Hannibal.

March 14th, 2013 at 2:04 PM ^

In our last 9 games, we are about 8.2 points per game below KenPom.  That seems like pretty significant underperformance over a relatively long period.  Given how Penn State seems to have improved over the past month or so, I would put the expected MOV for this one at about 8.  If you could play the season over again, they might win four or five games instead of two. 

Hoke-amania

March 14th, 2013 at 1:32 PM ^

Vegas has us by 14.5.

Not sure what Ace means by the Penn State thats been playing against the rest of the conference. This has been a dangerous team for a month now