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Penn State Vs. Michigan: Nittany Lions To Close Out Regular Season

The Nittany Lions will look for some momentum before heading to Indianapolis.

Penn State will close out its regular season at home on Sunday afternoon when it hosts No. 16 Michigan for a 1:00 p.m. tipoff at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Nittany Lions (12-18, 4-13) will hold Senior Day ceremonies before the game, honoring their lone senior, guard Cammeron Woodyard, and junior forward Billy Oliver, who ended his playing career last month as a result of re-occuring concussion-like symptoms. Woodyard will also be held out of the game with a broken foot.

The Wolverines (22-8, 12-5) will be looking to avoid a slip-up before the Big Ten Tournament begins in Indianapolis later this week. Former Penn State commit-turned-Michigan guard Trey Burke will be making his first appearance in Happy Valley in the game, so it will be interesting to see what kind of reception he gets.

Here are some things to watch for in the game.

When Penn State has the ball...

-Tim Frazier was the only player to finish with double-figure scoring the first time these two teams met, a 71-53 Michigan victory in Ann Arbor on Dec. 29. For the Lions to stay close this time, he's going to have to get some help from secondary scorers like Jermaine Marshall and Jonathan Graham.

-Graham has scored at least nine points in three of his past five games. Look for him to play with confidence at home and perhaps be a difference makes for the offense once again, one Penn State didn't have the last time it played Michigan.

When Michigan has the ball...

-Stu Douglass and Matt Vogrich combined to score 12 points on 4-8 shooting from 3-point territory off the bench in the first matchup. Their numbers weren't, but their efficient production off the bench really damaged Penn State's chances of winning in Ann Arbor. They must not be allowed to support the Wolverines' big scorers to that degree again.

-Penn State recorded a whopping nine steals against Purdue on Thursday night. It'll be interesting to see if the Lions can generate that type of defensive intensity again. If they do, Michigan might be in a bit of trouble.

-Tim Hardaway Jr. was a killer in the last game, racking up 26 points on an efficient 11-18 shooting. It might be hard to keep him from getting another big scoring total in this one, but the Lions would be well served to at least forcing him to take a few more shots to do so this time.


Michigan is playing for a Big Ten title and Penn State is down two upperclassmen. This one probably shouldn't be much of a battle unless the Wolverines get sloppy. Expect Michigan to take care of business in this one before the teams head to the conference tournament later this week.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.