Not too many surprises here. As usual, Penn State’s defensive efficiency stands out as being far worse that their opponents. In their game here in Happy Valley, PSU was surprisingly able to step up their pressure on MSU’s guards, Drew Neitzel especially, forcing MSU into a pretty poor shooting night, particularly from beyond the arc where the Spartans were just 2-14.
Another noticeable difference is the turnover rate delta. MSU gives the ball up much more than they take it away while PSU protects the ball much better, actually averaging fewer turnovers than takeaways. In Happy Valley, turnovers didn’t come into play. For PSU to win in East Lansing, PSU will probably have to win that battle.
Also, Michigan State will put you on the foul line – something they did 51 times in State College and which, almost assuredly cost them the game. You can bet that won’t happen again in East Lansing.
MSU and PSU were also even in the rebounding battle in their previous game. As much as MSU prides themselves on the boards, I would expect Tom Izzo to have made this a focal point this week. With Jamelle Cornley basically playing on one leg, I don’t see how we can match up with the Spartans on the boards this time around.
In my mind, turnovers will be the key this time around. We’ll need to win the turnover battle by a substantial margin. If we do that AND get hot shooting, we’ll have a chance.
Unfortunately, our two young guards have shown a tendency to have a deer in headlights look at the start of road games. I expect MSU to come out hard the first few minutes. Their guards, especially Nietzel, will redemption in mind and I’d expect them to try to turn the tables on Pringle and Battle. How well we weather the first few minutes will be key.