Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn St. Nittany Lions
The Michigan Wolverines and the Penn State Nittany Lions open their Big Ten college basketball conference schedule on Thursday Night in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are -12.5 point favorites over the Nittany Lions with an over/under point total set at 127.
The Michigan Wolverines were seen as a team loaded with potential coming into this season and thus far John Beilein’s team seems to be living up to it. UM has won five games in a row and are undefeated at home thus far with both of their losses this season coming to teams ranked in the top 25. Tim Hardaway Jr. is averaging 15.4 points, Trey Burke is averaging 13 points and 5.0 assists, Evan Smoltrycz is averaging 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, and Zack Novak is averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds. As a team Michigan is averaging 71.7 points and they are shooting 49 percent from the floor while defensively they are allowing 60.8 points and their opponents shoot 39.8 percent. We will know a lot more as to how good this Michigan team is when we hit the end of January and they have played some ranked teams on the road.
The Penn State Nittany Lions have won their last two games but Patrick Chambers’ team has yet to defeat a team with an RPI better than 100. The Nittany Lions have played just the 244th ranked schedule which projects to get over 10 times tougher over the next few months. Tim Frazier is averaging 17.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists, Jermaine Marshall is averaging 9.5 points, Cammeron Woodyard is averaging 8.1 points and 4,5 rebounds, and Billy Oliver is averaging 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds. As a team PSU is averaging 64 points and they are shooting a miserable 39.3 percent while their opponents score 61.7 points and shoot 40 percent. Penn State looks to be ill equipped for the tough road they have ahead and it could be a very long year in Happy Valley.
Michigan is 12-1 against the spread in their last 13 against the Big Ten, 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 home games, and 12-5 against the spread following a win. Penn State is 5-0 against the spread following a game which they didn’t cover, 4-1 against the spread against the Big Ten, and 1-4 against the spread in their last five games overall.
The total in this one is set at 127 and I see it staying under that modest number.