VIDEO: Nittany Lions Set to Host No. 18 Michigan State
Jan. 15, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team (8-8, 0-4) will play its third home game in a span of four contests on Wednesday when it welcomes No. 18 Michigan State (14-3, 3-1) to the Bryce Jordan Center (7 p.m. on BTN).
After a series of seven-straight games of 40 percent shooting or better, the Nittany Lions will be looking to snap a three-game string of season-lows in shooting. The Lions have shot just 29.7 percent from the field during their last three contests. Nonetheless, Coach Chambers is confident that it is only a matter of time before Penn State returns to its shooting form from the end of the non-conference slate.
The coaching staff was pleased with the shot selection Penn State obtained in Sunday's setback at Purdue. The Lions had good looks around the basket and numerous quality mid-range shots. Simply put, the shots just did not fall in Mackey Arena.
Now, the Lions are focused on the next task at hand. Let's take a closer look at Wednesday's matchup against the 18th-ranked Spartans.
Find a Way to the Charity Stripe
Defending the Posts
Michigan State fields one of the biggest frontcourts in the Big Ten, and the Nittany Lions know they need to play well on the defensive end of the floor against the post players to have success on Wednesday. Forwards Brandon Dawson (10.5), Derrick Nix (9.4) and Adreian Payne (8.5) combine for 28.4 points and 20.5 rebounds per game or 40 percent of the team's points and 53 percent of the team's rebounds. Staying out of foul trouble will be key for Sasa Borovnjak, Brandon Taylor, Ross Travis and Jon Graham as they face off against the talented frontcourt of Michigan State. Additionally, keeping the Spartan bigs off of the offensive glass is going to be a point of emphasis in the gameplan.
Scouting Michigan State
Michigan State heads to Happy Valley having won nine of its last 10 games, with the lone setback coming at Minnesota in a game that was much closer than the final score (76-63). Coach Chambers said on Monday that the Nittany Lions are going to pack the paint on defense in an effort to keep Appling from driving to the basket and slow down the production in the post from Dawson, Nix and Payne.
Defending and rebounding (Michigan State is +8 per game in rebounding this year) are crucial, but Wednesday's game will come down to Penn State's ability to make shots against a Michigan State team that ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (37.6 percent).