Spartans, Wolverines to clash Saturday; Penn State advances to play Purdue
Today, the Wolverines will take on Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament. For the second straight season MI has won three games in three days to advance to the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
After its third win in three days Saturday, Michigan is on the verge of doing it again. Yet, he was equally impressive Friday at Madison Square Garden for MI basketball, scoring 21 points in a 77-58 win over Nebraska. The Wolverines' NCAA Tournament seed would surely benefit a lot if that happens. Penn State has been really tough against the best teams in the Big Ten, going 5-0 against the spread vs. Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan State.
One more win for a ring, and some New York City memories that'll last a lifetime.
Numerous aforementioned mental mistakes were caused by the players admittedly being a little tight and getting flustered when MI jumped on them early.
"I think that was the key to the game", Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
The Wolverines made it 57-49 heading down the stretch on two Robinson free throws at 5:21 and pushed it to eight on two Wagner free throws, but McQuaid's big triple from the corner cut it back to five. "We're one of the tougher teams mentally". "That was a difference in the play. And it was a difference maker".
Against the Huskers (22-10), Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman were full-go and Nebraska could not do much to stop them. But lately, Rahkman has been bigger than just about everybody. "It felt like a home game, and we definitely fed off the energy". The shot hit awkwardly at the back of the rim but fell into the basket. The Wolverines are just a hard matchup for them as Nick Ward is not quick enough to deal with Wagner and the Michigan's guards were able to turn the corner driving at their Michigan State counterparts.
There's plenty riding on this game, including a Quadrant I win for both teams. "Whether it's the NCAA - which I think we should be. So I'm glad about that".
Haas, who is usually reliable from the free throw line, missed the front end of a one-and-one, not once but twice in crunch time. MI was held to 25 percent shooting in the first half, but still managed to keep the game close through their defensive play. The two players that have had the most trouble from the line, Charles Matthews and Zavier Simpson, both went 4 for 4. They shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half and finished the night at 31.1 percent - their worst shooting percentage of the season.
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MI coach John Beilein had a great motivational speech for Wagner, who was 0-for-7 from the field in first 20 minutes. This personality change is only going to frighten opposing coaching staffs all the more, because they already know how meticulous they need to be when prepping for Beilein's offense. MI is also looking to avenge a regular-season sweep at the hands of Purdue. Dakota Mathias hit a 3 to begin the second half.
The narratives for Michigan basketball and Michigan State basketball are fairly typical year to year.
Michigan State (29-4) had a 12-game winning streak snapped.
Michigan: The Wolverines beat the Spartans 82-72 in January at East Lansing. Bates-Diop has eclipsed 25 points 8 times this season, and the dynamic small forward will no doubt wreak havoc in his first NCAA Tournament action as a star.
On the season, Penn State basketball averages 74.8 points, 35.7 rebounds and 13.8 assists per game.
Izzo, no shock, had some words of his own for his guys, and Gang Green responded with an 10-1 run, punctuated by an alley-oop feed from Cassius Winston to Gavin Schilling with 11:47 left in the period that put Sparty up 16-14. Mason Jobst's goal at 1:54 of the third gave Ohio State a 3-1 lead and proved to be the victor.
"It was a big game, but it's not the end of our season, " Winston said.
Four teams will fight to be crowned the Big Ten champion Sunday. "I believe we've done enough".
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