College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Michigan vs. Penn State (Tuesday, February 8)
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Eli Brooks (Michigan)
- Michigan, which has lost two of its last three, heads to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions in a critical Big Ten duel.
- The matchup that will be spotlighted in this game is Hunter Dickinson vs. John Harrar.
- Doug Ziefel breaks down why Dickinson and the Wolverines should have the upper hand.
Michigan vs. Penn State Odds
-120o / -102u
|Penn State Odds|
-120o / -102u
The Nittany Lions have been an upset-minded team all season, and they like to take down Big Ten contenders in particular.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines have had a streaky campaign and have not lived up to preseason expectations. This matchup is a tough spot for Michigan, as it lies in the middle of a Purdue sandwich, with the Boilermakers being its most recent and next opponent.
The Wolverines may be ripe for Penn State to pick them off after all.
Michigan’s top layer of their Purdue sandwich was an overall success, as it hung tough. While the Wolverines did not win, they covered, which is something they have not done much of this season.
Their big man Hunter Dickinson had yet another strong performance, and this one was impressive considering who he matched up with. He’ll figure to be a big part of this outing, as he’s been the only consistent force in the Wolverines’ rotation.
Penn State will be sure to prioritize Dickinson on the defensive end, as it’s no strangers to slowing down Big Ten stars. We have seen the Nittany Lions stifle the likes of Keegan Murray and Johnny Davis in back-to-back games, but Dickinson presents a very different style of play that PSU will have to adjust to.
So, can the Nittany Lions continue to be a thorn in conference opponents’ sides? Or will the Wolverines rally on the road?
As I eluded to in the open, Dickinson has been on an absolute three-game tear for the Wolverines. He’s coming into this matchup with point totals of 25, 26 and 28 over the last three outings.
Dickinson has been getting his share of buckets regardless of who’s in front of him, but that could change here against Penn State.
Dickinson will be matched up against big man John Harrar. Harrar may not get a ton of press — his scoring is unpredictable — but what he can be counted on for is tenacious effort.
That effort will be displayed primarily on defense and on the boards, which will directly impact Dickinson.
So, with their primary source of offense hindered, the Wolverines’ best method of attack will be to take quality 3s. Penn State has been vulnerable from behind the arc, as it has allowed the country’s 232nd-highest percentage of 3s.
Michigan is plenty capable of knocking down shots from distance, as Eli Brooks, Caleb Houstan and DeVante’ Jones all shoot over 30% from long range.
Dickinson is also not afraid to pull up either, as he’s shooting 38% from there, and made two of his three attempts in the Wolverines’ last game. However, his role may be even more advantageous to his teammates, as he poses to kick the ball outside, especially if Harrar can’t contain him early.
I touched on how Harrar is known for his grit and determination on the floor.
But that also represents what this Penn State team is as a whole, especially at home this season. The Nittany Lions have lulled their opposition into their slow and methodical tempo in their own gym, which not only shortens the game but limits their opponents’ opportunities.
This plan of attack works best for them, as offensive consistency has been hard for the Nittany Lions to find this season.
They have four players who average double figures in points each game, but they have been unable to have multiple of those efforts in one outing.
Take their leading scorer, Seth Lundy, for example. He averages 13 a game, but his last five point totals have been six, 17, eight, five and 10.
For all that being said, Penn State could find success in this matchup if it’s disciplined and doesn’t settle for outside shots. Michigan is 210th in 2-point percentage allowed and 234th in block percentage, so the closer Penn State can get to the basket, the higher percentage its shot becomes.
Michigan vs. Penn State Betting Pick
On the outside, this may look like a tough spot for Michigan, given the schedule and Penn State’s style of play.
Though the Wolverines are well equipped to thrive in a slugfest, Dickinson will have more opportunities to get position down low and should create opportunities for his teammates.
In what could be another ugly one involving Penn State, the Wolverines get the job done.