Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/11/14
Penn-state-indiana
On Wednesday night the 18th ranked Michigan State basketball team (14-3, 3-1) will make their way to Happy Valley to take on the lowly Penn State Nittany Lions (8-8, 0-4). The meeting will mark the 38th meeting all time between the two, with Michigan State dominating the series 30-7. Tip off will be at 7:00 PM as the Spartans will be hoping to come away with their second straight road win in Big Ten play and their fourth straight win overall while the Nittany Lions will be fighting just to stay above .500. For Penn State, much of their season has become a lost cause. This due in large part to the fact that their leading scorer Tim Frazier went out with a ruptured achillies tendon in the fourth game of the season. Frazier, a 6’1″ senior guard from Houston Texas, was by far the best player on this Nittany Lions team. Last year he did everything he could to put the team on his back playing in over 37 minutes a game, leading the team in points (18.8), assists (6.2), rebounds (4.7) and steals (2.4). So when Frazier went down 6 minutes into a game against Akron, the hearts of Penn State fans everywhere sunk. Penn State has had to go on this season with out the aid of their best player, Tim Frazier, who last year put up 19 points against the Spartans. (Photo by Al Goldis/AP) Ever since that moment, Penn State has done all they could to find players who could fill the gaping hole that Frazier leaves. Attempting to fill that void though is a pair dynamic scorers who both rank in the top ten in the conference in scoring. These being D.J. Newbill (14.9 ppg) and Jermaine Marshall (14.1), who together form quite an elusive backcourt for the Nittany Lions.  “I look at them a lot like I look at Minnesota,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “They have very good strong guards and they are very well coached and play very well defensively.” For the Spartans, it’s been an up and down season thus far. For the most part, Michigan State has been able to mask a lot of their struggles with a good defense that gives up just 57 ppg and holds their opponents to just 37% shooting from the field. “We’re a grind it out team right now,” was the way how Izzo put it. And while this defensive-minded grind-it-out style of play has allowed Michigan State to get out to a 14-3 record, it doesn’t hide the fact they have struggled in some key areas all season long. For starters, Michigan State has been turning the ball over nearly 15 times a game and at times, they have struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball, sometimes not being able to get a shot to fall at all. At Minnesota, they shot just 3-10 from the free throw line and only scored 4 points in the last 9:30 of the game, letting a game that they very well could have won, slip out of their grasp. And most recently against Nebraska, the guards shot terribly. Highlighted by Gary Harris’ 1-11 night, he, along guards Keith Appling, Denzel Valentine, and Travis Trice combined to go just 4-26 (15.4%)  from the field. And because of these struggles, Michigan State has had a hard time putting away teams that they are clearly better than, which could be seen in each of their last two games against both Iowa and Nebraska. Nevertheless though, in stretches of some of these games, we have seen just how good this Michigan State team can be. And while Izzo believes we have yet to see his Spartans play at their best, it has left some to wonder if they could play like that all the time, who know’s what could happen? But in a game against a sub-par Penn State team, Michigan State will need to tune up on a few things and get a win because it doesn’t get any easier from here. After taking on the Nittany Lions, the Spartans will return home to take on Ohio State, followed by games against Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota.     Follow Ryan Squanda on twitter @squandarunner  
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

Andre Johnson willing to take pay cut with Texans?

Mets star David Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Curt Schilling tweeted advice to Johnny Manziel

Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

The year’s 10 most notable sports media stories

'Roberto' Gronkowski wishes Pats fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

WATCH: LeBron gets standing ovation from Heat fans in return

15 defunct bowls that leave the holidays feeling empty

Should the NFL's playoff seeding system change?

WATCH: Kenny Smith pushes Shaq into a Christmas tree

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Quincy Acy ejected for throwing punch at John Wall

Billy Beane did not want to trade Josh Donaldson

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

'Roberto Gronkowski wishes fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.