After a solid 10-2 non-conference season that saw the Wolverines reach No. 16 in the polls, Michigan opens Big Ten play tonight at home against Penn State. The Nittany Lions lost quite a bit from a team that made the NCAA tournament last season, and they have struggled mightily in starting 8-5 this season. As Maize n Brew notes, they are expected to be one of the Big Ten's weakest teams in a very strong year for the conference:
The less that can be said about Penn State basketball, the better. After losing the core nucleus of Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, David Jackson and Andrew Jones to graduation and coach Ed DeChellis to Navy (as a side note, how seriously dysfunctional is a basketball program when your coach leaves his alma mater to take several steps down the career ladder to a service academy), it was going to be rough year with Tim Frazier doing it all on the court and new coach Pat Chambers trying to hold everything together.
How bad is Penn State? Most league blogs would not be surprised to see the Nittany Lions finish 0-18 in the Big Ten. Michigan should be able to start the conference season on a very strong note on Thursday night as a result.