Preview: Penn State at Michigan State

#12 Michigan State (15-5, 3-3 Big Ten) looks to get back on track in the Big Ten as they host Penn State (10-7, 2-4 Big Ten) on Saturday.

EAST LANSING - #12 Michigan State (15-5, 3-3 Big Ten) looks to get back on track in the Big Ten as they host Penn State (10-7, 2-4 Big Ten) on Saturday.

The Spartans have dominated the overall series 22-3; including winning the last six games by an average margin of 23 points a game.

This game is the first of five consecutive games against teams at the bottom of the Big Ten and unranked opponents for the Spartans.

Michigan State is coming off a heartbreaking 72-67 loss at rival Michigan on Wednesday.

MSU is the only team in the country with three players averaging more than 17 points per game. Senior Maurice Ager leads the way with 20.1 points per game, followed by 6-11 center Paul Davis (18.1) and guard Shannon Brown (17.6).

Breslin Center hasn't seen a Spartan loss this season and usually is the cure after a tough loss. Just two week ago, the Spartans snapped out of a two-game funk to open the Big Ten schedule by beating then #8 Indiana.

Penn State sophomore Geary Claxton is averaging 15 points per game and is coming off a 17-point outing in the Lions' loss at Wisconsin on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions also have the leading Big Ten freshman scorer in Jamelle Cornley averaging 13 points per game.

After a crushing loss to rival Michigan, the Spartans can get right back on track in the Big Ten standings in their next 5 games. This comes as a small reward for playing on of the toughest schedule earlier in the year. The Spartans have faced eight ranked opponents this season, with four more upcoming to close the Big Ten schedule.

The biggest thing for the Spartans is staying out of foul-trouble. Although Tom Izzo didn't appreciate the 34 trips the Wolverines made to the charity stripe, he knows that his team cannot let cheap fouls affect their play.

Penn State is the only Big Ten school to not have a player taller than 6-foot-6, but still manages to do a good job on the boards. It will be key for MSU to fight for the loose balls and make their shots over the Lions shorter players.

Predicted to win the Big Ten this season, the Spartans find themselves at .500 two games before the halfway mark of conference play. It will be key for them to regroup and play well, as they have shown glimpses of it throughout the season.

Taking the first step will be facing the Nittany Lions on Saturday, because one game is all it takes to turn a season's fortune around.


Spartan Nation Top Stories