There is no other way to describe the loss by the Michigan Wolverines except an epic fail. That is without a doubt Michigan’s most embarrassing loss of the season dropping the game to the Nittany Lions 84-78. The win marks Penn State’s first Big Ten conference win this season.
Did anyone else think that this game felt a little like an upset 15 seed vs. 2 seed NCAA tournament game from the very beginning?
A gritty Penn State team starts fast in the first half and is keeping up with the more talented Michigan Wolverines who just can’t seem to pull away. Hustle defense by the Nittany Lions forced 10 first half Michigan turnovers which Penn State capitalized on for 15 first half points.
Penn State went up by 2 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half. The Wolverines closed out the first half with a three pointer by Nik Stauskas and a pair of free throws by Glenn Robinson III. A heads up play by freshman Mitch McGary lead to a steal and a lay-up for the Wolverines to head into the locker room on a high note leading 39-36.
Michigan started the second half on a hot streak going on an 8 – 0 run. The Wolverines were up by as many as 15 points in the second half and it looked like they were going to pull away as expected.
Then Penn State turned up the defensive pressure and Michigan went ice cold not scoring for almost 7 minutes straight in the second half.
Michigan shot 25% from beyond the arch (5 -20). Trey Burke had 18 points and 6 turnovers while Tim Hardaway Jr. led all Wolverine scoring with 19.
Going into the game, Penn State was 0 – 14 in Big Ten play and hadn’t won a game this season since beating Duquesne on December 29. The loss brings the Wolverines record to 3 – 4 in the month of February.
I am sure that the selection committee for the NCAA Tournament took notice and jotted down some notes about this loss.
And it doesn’t get easier from here for the Wolverines facing the 9th ranked Michigan State Spartans on Sunday, followed by Purdue on the road and closing out the Big Ten conference regular season to the top ranked Indiana Hoosiers on March 10.
My three biggest questions from the game last night:
1. How is it possible that no one has ever taught the Wolverines how to break a full court press?
2. When is Glenn Robinson III going to show up in the clutch? He missed a three with 17 seconds left on the clock and the Nittany Lions all over Burke and Hardaway Jr.
3. Can Michigan win a road game? All 5 Big Ten conference losses have come on the road. Luckily for Michigan both the Michigan State and Indiana games are on their home court.
Next Game for Michigan: 4 pm Sunday vs. Michigan State Spartans at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor.