Penn State’s double-overtime win over Iowa on the last night of January was a rosy blip on what’s otherwise been a miserable month for the Nittany Lions.
Since Micah Shrewsberry’s team pounded Rutgers 66-49 Jan. 11, its 1-6, with each loss seeming to be more frustrating for the Nittany Lions than the last one.
Penn State could use a cushy matchup, but that’s not how Big Ten basketball works.
The Nittany Lions have No. 19 Michigan State coming into State College tonight and will have another game, a rematch with Minnesota, Thursday. Penn State dropped its first meetings with both Michigan State and Minnesota, the latter being the Nittany Lions’ most recent setback this past Saturday night.
In Penn State’s first matchup against Michigan State, Dec. 11 in East Lansing, the Spartans took care of the Nittany Lions, 80-64. 7-footer Marcus Bingham stood out for Michigan State, posting 12 points and 13 rebounds. Forward Gabe Brown led Sparty in scoring with 15 points, and he also leads Michigan State overall, averaging 12.3 points a game. Brown and fellow forward Malik Hall (10.5 PPG) are the only Spartans that average in double figures, but Michigan State is balanced, with each of its top eight scorers averaging no worse than 5.9 points a night.
The man who makes Michigan State’s offense go is sophomore point guard A.J. Hoggard. Hoggard is third in the Big Ten with 120 assists. Collectively, Michigan State is fifth in the conference in scoring, which is nine spots higher than Penn State, which ranks dead last. Defensively Penn State is third in the Big Ten in opponent scoring average, while Michigan State is sixth.
The Nittany Lions haven’t beaten the Spartans since Feb. 4, 2020, and have dropped each of the past three meetings.
Tonight, they are 2.5 point underdogs, according to Tipico Sportsbook. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network, with Brandon Gaudin and Len Elmore on the call, and can also be seen on the Fox Sports App. Penn State fans who can’t watch the game can listen to Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi on any of these affiliates.