Penn State, Michigan looking to pad NCAA resumes

Michigan and Penn State reach the midway point of the Big Ten schedule Sunday. Both enter the matchup at State College, Pa., having lost four of their past six games and in need of padding their NCAA tournament resumes.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) gave No. 1 Purdue a tussle before falling 75-70 on Thursday. Michigan played without freshman Jett Howard, who was nursing a left ankle injury, but hung around by committing just six turnovers.

That wasn’t any consolation for leading scorer and rebounder Hunter Dickinson. All but one of Michigan’s losses this season have come by single digits and Dickinson saw it as another missed opportunity.

“If you actually look into the games and not into the box scores, you would see that we’re a really good team that just can’t finish games,” said Dickinson, who had 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists against the Boilermakers.

“That’s something that if we want to make this (NCAA) tournament and make a run, it’s something we’re going to have to change. It’s not like we don’t know that we’re letting these games go. We know that as a team and it’s just frustrating.”

Continuing to hover around the .500 mark would put Michigan in a precarious position regarding its postseason status.

“We’ve got to try something new, because what we’ve been doing is obviously not working,” Dickinson said of the team’s late-game failures.

Howard is considered day-to-day.

The Nittany Lions (13-7, 4-5) were held to a season low in points while losing to Rutgers 65-45 on Tuesday. Penn State shot just 33.3 percent overall and 4-for-26 from 3-point range.

“Can’t play soft in this league if you want to win basketball games. One hundred percent fact,” coach Micah Shrewsberry said. “We played soft and got beat by 20.”

Penn State and Michigan met earlier this month in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines prevailing 79-69. Dickinson led Michigan with 17 points and six rebounds, while the Nittany Lions’ Jalen Pickett had 26 points and nine rebounds.

The Wolverines have won the past three games in the all-time series and 11 of the past 13 meetings.

–Field Level Media

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Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.

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