|WHAT||Penn State at Michigan|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||Noon Eastern, Sunday|
|LINE||Michigan –25 (Kenpom)|
Right: Yeah, it's been that kind of year.
Last year, Penn State was about as close as it's going to get to a one-man team—point guard Tim Frazier had one of the top ten usage rates in the country and dragged the Nittany Lions to a 12-20 record (4-14 B1G). The good news for PSU was that Frazier would return for his senior season. The bad news was that they were still expected to finish at or near the bottom of the conference.
Then, just four games into this season, Frazier was lost for the year with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Penn State still managed to get by with an 8-4 start fueled by a soft nonconference schedule, but since then they've lost all 12 of their Big Ten games, half of them by double digits.
Two of Penn State's guards will almost never leave the court—both D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall play over 85% of available minutes. Newbill has taken over Frazier's role of primary ballhandler and playmaker, averaging over 16 points and four assists per game, but with poor shooting numbers (45% from two, 20% from three) and a decent number of turnovers. Marshall spends more time on the perimeter but isn't exactly a sharpshooter, hitting 43% from two and 31% from three.
Rounding out the starting backcourt is 6'3" guard Nick Coletta, who joined the team as an open tryout walk-on after spending parts of his first semester on campus as a practice player for the women's team. Coletta is extremely low-usage and barely goes inside the arc, attempting just 11 two-pointers all years (he's made three); he's mostly a spot-up shooter, connecting on 32% of his threes.
6'6" forward Ross Travis is the team's best rebounder on both ends. He's also having a brutal season on offense, hitting just under 40% of his twos while going a Ronnie Johnson-esque 5-for-38 from downtown. He's joined in the frontcourt by 6'9" forward Sasa Borovnjak—the only Nittany Lion with an offensive rating above 100 aside from Frazier—who hits 51% of his shots (all twos) and has remarkably low rebounding numbers for a post player.
You get the picture. There's a reason this team hasn't won a conference game and isn't projected by KenPom to have better than a 14% shot at any of the remaining games on their schedule.
Mostly covered above. Penn State's has just two wins over KP100 opponents, one in overtime at a neutral site against #59 Providence when Frazier was still healthy, the other by three points at home against #64 Bucknell. Their next-best win came against #182 Army, and their last win of any kind came in 2012.
Four factors, conference only.
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||39.9 (12)||19.2 (10)||29.1 (10)||31.6 (7)|
|Defense||49.1 (10)||16.9 (9)||30.4 (5)||58.5 (12)|
Those numbers paint a clear enough picture of a terrible team—I'm having a difficult time even fathoming how a team can foul that much on defense—but here are some others:
- Shooting (offense): 40.4 2P%, 25.7 3P%, both dead last in the Big Ten.
- Shooting (defense): 47.9 2P%, 34.4 3P%
- Opponents score 29.2% of their points at the free throw line, far beyond the D-I average of 20.3%. When non-conference games are included, they're third in the country in that stat, and that's not one where you want to be at the top.
As a result, Penn State has an offensive efficiency of 86.9 and a defensive efficiency of 106.3 in conference play. They lost at home to Nebraska. I feel mean just talking about Penn State basketball.
Don't embarrass yourselves. Please.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 25
Losing this game would redefine "debacle" and make Michigan fans pine for the days of getting merely humiliated in East Lansing. This seems very unlikely to happen.
Nobody else has posted a preview yet. Given the opponent and the fact that I'm writing this on a Saturday, that makes a certain amount of sense.