February 10, 2011

A Must Win: Penn State vs Michigan State

Ed DeChellis (right) needs a little magic from Talor Battle (left)
to save the head coach's job. (Photo: PennLive.com)
One road win in seven tries. You think this is a tournament team? Not with that type of stat on the resume.

This is a game Penn State basketball has to have. No excuses. With or without Jeff Brooks, the Nittany Lions must walk into East Lansing and walk out of it with another victory under their belt.

Sure at first glance, it would seem a tall order for the Fightin’ DeChellises to beat Sparty on the road. But this isn't the same Tom Izzo team we've come to know and despise.

MSU has lost five of their last six games, including a 20 point loss to Iowa and a 26 point loss to Wisconsin. Their one win in that stretch? Beating Indiana...by a point.

Without Korey Luscious, who was just kicked off the team, the Nittany Lions have more than just a fighter's chance. They not only have to win, but they are supposed to win.

And obviously, it starts with Talor Battle. The second leading scorer in the Big Ten needs to play well in order for PSU to be successful. The team is 7-4 when the streaky Battle shoots more than 40% from the field.

With an extremely thin bench and the potential absence of Jeff Brooks, Battle's success is even more crucial.

Aside from Brooks, D.J Jackson and occasionally Andrew Jones have come through as the secondary scoring options for Penn State this season. But there were only two players who scored in double figures against Michigan, and the second player is not one that many expected.

Cameron Woodyard scored 10 points filling in for Jeff Brooks in the loss to Michigan. Another strong outing out of him could be a huge boost for the Nittany Lions. With their NCAA Tournament bid potentially on the line, will PSU rise to the occasion? Guess we'll have to wait and see, but my money says they get the W.

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