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Michigan State Basketball: Penn State Preview

MSU looks to finish out the regular season on a 6-game winning streak and Penn State in East Lansing is next up

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Opponent: Penn State

Location: East Lansing, MI

Time: 12:00pm EST

Channel: BTN

KenPom Line: MSU -18

Scouting report

  • 6'6" senior Brandon Taylor is their highest usage guy at 28.7% (1st in the B1G) but he's not overly efficient with a 101.7 ORtg. He provides outside shooting as a 4 at 36.7% but has a pretty low 2P% at 47.5% for a power forward.. He draws a number of fouls but Deyonta Davis has somewhat seemed to have figured out guarding small-ball 4's since the second game against Nigel Hayes that MSU should be okay at home.
  • 6'1" sophomore Shep Garner is their best guard and also has their highest assist rate but it's only 20.6%. As a team Penn State is 10th to last in assist rate nationally and without great offensive playmakers, it leads to a slightly below average offense. Garner is a decent 3 point shooter at 35% but is shooting just 29.1% on 2P jumpers and only 52.8% at the rim.
  • Josh Reaves and Payton Banks are a couple of young wings that need to know they're not good at outside shooting. Reaves is shooting 8% from 3 on 37 attempts while Banks is shooting a relatively scorching 29% on 106 attempts. As a team Penn State is shooting 30% from 3 which probably has a lot to do with their low assist rate. Without moving the ball they end up having to take bad shots than shooting open 3's.
  • 7'1" senior Jordan Dickerson is a solid big who's a bit foul prone but posts a very good block rate of 9.5% which is 4th in the B1G (Deyonta Davis' is 11.0% which is 1st). However, it looks like he's mostly just a shot-blocker and finisher as he has an extremely low-usage at 10.8% (KenPom labels players with an under 12% as "nearly invisible").

Four Factors

MSU on Offense

MSU on Defense

Things to watch for

  • MSU is in just about its easiest stretch of the year in conference play while playing its best basketball. While Penn State (H), Rutgers, (A), and Ohio State (H) shouldn't give MSU much if any trouble, can the Spartans keep up the intensity and show up to play for these games? Izzo got on them during the Ohio State game despite winning by 19 because he knows they have bigger goals and they need to be focused at all times.
  • Deyonta Davis has struggled offensively as of late and didn't have a good game last time out against Penn State (3-7, 6 points). However, it looks as though he played more at the 5 than at the 4 with Schilling starting at the 4. It'll be a good test to see whether or not he able to give senior Brandon Taylor issues at both ends with his size and length or if Taylor's savvy will be able to overcome it.
Bottom Line

MSU has been rolling and Penn State just doesn't have the type of offensive playmakers to keep up.

MSU 85 - PSU 64