The Takeaway–Penn State–Michigan State
I want to say I saw that coming. You know when ESPN Streak For The Cash has a game picked, that means things won’t be as easy as the stats and the rankings; they NEVER pick games that are going to turn out as simple as they look at first glance. Considering the fact that Penn State has given Michigan State fits almost every time they have played over the past three seasons, it wasn’t too hard to imagine that it was going to happen again.
Some game tape of the MSU-PSU game.
Going into the game the key was going to keep the Spartans from opening up a large lead early, so starting out with Michigan State going on a 20-9 run wasn’t exactly ideal. Penn State showed a lot of guts though coming back with a run of their own on a 11-3 run. Down 7 at the break, it was apparent that the Lions could beat the Spartans if they stuck to their game plan.
Minus the obvious, the second half really couldn’t have gone much better for the Lions. They put themselves in a position to win, fought back from being down several holes, and held their own against a good squad with a lot on the line. That being said, they were abused on the glass, getting out rebounded 24-39, 14 of the Spartan’s rebounds coming on the offensive glass. If Penn State manages to grab 3-4 of those rebounds, there is a good chance they come away with the win.
The advantage that Penn State has at this point is that they have nothing to lose. Nothing is on the line, they aren’t fighting for a title, a postseason, or anything else. That has helped them stay loose, and they have started to find themselves as a team, turning into a team nobody wants to play in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
When you look at the box score, the first thing that pops out at you is the bench scoring. Michigan State scored 26 points off the bench to Penn State’s 1, that point coming from a Andrew Ott free throw. If Penn State is going to have success in any shape or form in the Big Ten Tournament, it is going to come from having some sort of offensive production from the bench. Bill Edwards was the only bench player that saw any sort of consistent time and while he didn’t hurt the team while being on the floor, he wasn’t really a factor either.
If anybody gets the gold star of the day it’s Jeff Brooks. He really has the tools to be a great player. I know we kool aid drinkers say that all the time, but you catch glimpses of what he can do when he is on his game. At one point Brooks scored 7 straight points, something that you’d never expect to see, and is usually a sign of a bad game. In this case, it was Brooks calling for the ball, facing the basket, and using his body to score. That is exactly what the team needs from Brooks.
On a whole, there isn’t too much to get worked up about. I’m not suggesting that losing is fun, but Penn State kept themselves in a game on the road, against the 12th ranked team in the country. There is something to be said for that.