Big Ten Tournament: Wolverines Rout Penn State, Advance to Face Wisconsin

It just wouldn’t be a 2012-13 Michigan basketball game if they didn’t scare the living daylights out of us somewhere along the line.

The Michigan Wolverines routed the Penn State Nittany Lions 83-66 in their first round conference tournament match-up at the United Center in Chicago. For the third time in a row, though, PSU did not make it easy on the Wolverines.

Penn State jumped out to an early 14-3 lead, prompting most of Wolverine Nation to get very concerned that a second upset was in the works, but Michigan’s offensive talent was just too much too handle. Trey Burke led the team in scoring (also, the sky is blue and grass is green) with 21 points and 3 assists.

The true star of this game in my eyes was freshman Mitch McGary, who was the spark the Wolverines needed off of their bench after falling behind early. He contributed to the cause with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes.

Jordan Morgan continues to struggle around the basket and he is not a very confident player right now. This is something to look out for going forward, because it looks to me as if it’s affecting his confidence on both sides of the floor. I’m not calling for him to start quite yet by any means, but John Beilein cannot let Morgan just be a body out there. Sasa Borovnjak abused him several times early in this game.

Much has been said about the decline of the defense over the course of the season, but today, Michigan just got back to what they do best, outscore you. If they are to make a deep NCAA tournament run, it seems as if their offense is what will get them there. If you think about it, Michigan has not really hit their shots from outside consistently in awhile. If they heat up going forward, who knows what could happen.

Tomorrow is another step to redeeming some of the wrongs from the season as Michigan will take on Wisconsin. You’ll remember the Wolverines had them beat until Ben Brust’s shot from half court in their only meeting of the season. We will see how the Wolverines fare on a neutral court, a place they have performed great all season.

Wisconsin is a team that likes to grind and keep the game low scoring. The key to this game will be winning the battle for all of the loose balls and grabbing rebounds. Bo Ryan always has his teams ready to play, and tomorrow should be no different. Michigan should have left the Kohl Center with a victory, but luck went the way of the Badgers in that game. I expect it to shake out in Michigan’s favor this time around, winning by a score of 68-59. A win tomorrow will set them up for a rematch with Indiana on Saturday.

The game tips at 2pm tomorrow on ESPN.


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