GAME NOTES: The Michigan State Spartans will try to turn things around tonight, as they host the Penn State Nittany Lions in a Big Ten showdown at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans have been one of the most disappointing teams around considering they were one of the top ranked teams entering the 2010-11 campaign. MSU has really struggled of late, losing two straight and five of the past six outings. As a matter of fact, each of the team's last three wins have come in overtime, so things could be a whole lot worse for the Spartans. Most recently, MSU was defeated by Wisconsin, 82-56, on Sunday to fall to just 5-6 in conference play.
On the other side, PSU also owns a 5-6 record in league play following consecutive setbacks. The most recent of those losses came this past Sunday, a narrow 65-62 defeat to Michigan. PSU will now try to bounce back on the road, where it has won just once in seven chances.
As for the all-time series, MSU owns a 28-6 lead over PSU and that includes a 17-1 mark in East Lansing. The Lions however, took the first meeting of the season, a 66-62 triumph back on January 8th.
PSU let a pair of double-digit leads slip away, as it was edged by Michigan this past Sunday. The Lions shot 40.4 percent from the floor, including 10- of-28 from long range, but Michigan made 49.0 percent of its attempts from the field and 9-of-19 from downtown.
Talor Battle was once again sensational in the loss for PSU, as he poured in 31 points and ripped down seven caroms. One of the top players around, Battle ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring at 20.5 ppg and he is also grabbing 4.6 rpg and dishing out 3.2 apg. Battle also enters tonight's game needing just 10 points to pass Joe Crispin (1,986) for second all-time on the Nittany Lions career scoring list. If Battle scores 23 points, he will become the 22nd Big Ten player and second Nittany Lion to record 2,000 career points. Jeff Brooks adds 13.5 ppg and a team-high 7.2 rpg to the mix, but is listed as questionable with a dislocated shoulder. Another option for PSU is David Jackson, who turns in 10.5 ppg and 4.6 rpg.
MSU offered little resistance on defense this past Sunday, allowing Wisconsin to shoot a blistering 59.0 percent from the floor in a lopsided loss. The Spartans, who shot just 43.5 percent from the field, were also outdone from long range, going just 3-of-14 compared to an 11-of-17 effort by Wisconsin. Kalin Lucas paced the team in defeat with 20 points and three helpers, while Draymond Green posted 13 points. For the season, Lucas heads the club in scoring at 15.8 ppg and he is also distributing 3.4 apg. Durrell Summers ranks second with 13.4 ppg and 4.3 rpg, while Green contributes 13.2 ppg and a team- high 8.3 rpg.
The Spartans are struggling right now, but they are still tough at home and should get things headed in the right direction with a win tonight.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Breslin Center (14,759) -- East Lansing, Michigan. Television: BTN. Home Record: PSU 11-4, MSU 9-2. Away Record: PSU 1-6, MSU 1-6. Neutral Record: PSU 0-0, MSU 3-2. Conference Record: PSU 5-6, MSU 5-6. Series Record: Michigan State leads, 28-6.
TSN PREDICTION: Michigan State 72, Penn State 62