Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/16/13
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  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vin Scully will return to the Dodgers in 2016

Rob Gronkowski’s younger brother, Glenn, trying to make NFL as fullback

Michael Bennett fined over $17K for nasty hit on Alex Smith

Cam Cameron battling prostate cancer

RG3 to be held out 1-2 weeks after doctor changes mind

LA Kings offer Peter Budaj a professional tryout

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carlos Boozer hoping roster spot opens on playoff team

Starting EJ Manuel not a bad idea for Bills’ third preseason game

Tim Beckman fired by Illinois amid mistreatment allegations

Chip Kelly reveals thought process behind Bradford trade

Charles Barkley on ex-agent: ‘I’d blow his damn brains out’

Bryce Harper doesn’t seem to care if Nationals make playoffs

Ronda Rousey makes breakfast look good in Carl’s Jr. ad

NFL admits communication breakdown in Pats-Saints game

WATCH: TJ Yeldon gets crushed in brutal goal-line collision

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

PHOTO: Enes Kanter dwarfed by world’s tallest man

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

Jonathan Kraft: Patriots haven’t apologized to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen

Ballmer declines $60M/yr TV deal, could start streaming

Nationals forced to re-issue massive bobblehead order

Jay Gruden would like the media to stop calling him fat

Spieth: New irons the reason for missed cut at Barclays?

Opening Drive: Where have all the great UM tailbacks gone?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

10 NFL players set for down seasons in 2015

Why NFL preseason games matter

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker