Penn State men vs. Minnesota
First round, Big Ten Tournament
Tipoff: 6:30 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Records: Penn State (15-16, 6-12 Big Ten), No. 10 seed; Minnesota (19-12, 8-10), No. 7 seed
Coaches: Patrick Chambers is 37-57 in his third season at Penn State and 79-85 in four seasons overall. Richard Pitino is 19-12 in his first season as a head coach.
Probable starters: Penn State - G Tim Frazier, 6-1 Sr. (15.5), G D.J. Newbill, 6-4 Jr. (17.8), F Ross Travis, 6-6 Jr. (8.8), F Brandon Taylor, 6-7 So. (9.2), F Donovon Jack, 6-9 So. (6.6). Minnesota - G Andre Hollins, 6-2 Jr. (14.6), G DeAndre Mathieu, 5-9 Jr. (11.9), G Austin Hollins, 6-4 Sr. (11.6), F Joey King, 6-9 So. (6.3), C Elliott Eliason, 6-11 Jr. (5.5).
Notes: These teams meet for the second time in five days as PSU closed the regular season at Minnesota on Sunday. That one was a disaster for the Lions, who fell behind 23-3 to start the game and trailed by as many as 25 in the second half as the Gophers won in a rout, 81-63. Minnesota desperately needs this game as it is one of the most "bubblelicious" teams in the country. ESPN's Joe Lunardi currently has the Gophers just barely missing the field of 68, so close that they are the second team out. A win tonight and in the second round against Wisconsin could get the Gophers in. Given that, Penn State can expect a spirited effort from the opponent and must be prepared with a good effort, something it didn't come close to having Sunday. The Lions would appear to have no shot at the NIT if they lose this game. The NIT no longer requires that a team finish above .500 to get in, but with so many bids now going to smaller teams that won their regular season but not conference tournament, it would be almost impossible for the Lions to get in at 15-17.
Mirror prediction: Minnesota 74, Penn State 68
Comment: This one should be much more competitive than Sunday's blowout, but the Gophers know how important of a game it is and will find a way to win.
Mirror prediction record: 23-8
- Cory Giger
Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh men
ACC TOURNAMENT SECOND ROUND
Tipoff: 2 p.m., Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Records: Wake Forest (17-15, 6-12 in ACC); Pittsburgh (23-8, 11-7 in ACC)
Coaches: Jeff Bzdelik is 51-77 in four years at Wake Forest and is 161-179 in 11 years overall as a head coach. Jamie Dixon is 285-94 in his 11th year as Pitt's head coach.
Probable starters: Wake Forest - G Coron Williams, 6-1 Sr. (9.5), G Codi Miller-McIntyre, 6-3 So. (12.9), F Travis McKie, 6-7 Sr. (11.2), F Devin Thomas, 6-9 So. (11.0), F Arnaud-William Adala Moto, 6-6 So. (6.8). Pittsburgh - G Cameron Wright, 6-4 Jr. (10.8), G James Robinson, 6-3 So. (7.8), F Lamar Patterson, 6-5 Sr. (17.6), F Talib Zanna, 6-9 Sr. (12.5), F Michael Young, 6-8 Fr. (6.0).
Notes: Wake Forest, which beat Notre Dame Wednesday, is coming off its first ACC Tournament victory since 2007. It had been 0-7 since that year. Pitt defeated Wake Forest, 80-65, at the Petersen Events Center on Jan. 11 in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Despite an overall record of 23-8 and an ACC mark of 11-7, ESPN bracket expert Joe Lundari lists the Panthers as still on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament bid. Bzdelik may be coaching for his job as several media outlets have reported that he will be fired following the Demon Deacons season. The winner of this game will play fourth-seeded North Carolina on Friday at 2 p.m. Wake Forest endured a seven-game ACC losing streak before winning three of its last five games, including a triumph over then-No. 4 Duke.
Mirror prediction: Pittsburgh 78, Wake Forest 70
Comment: A victory here should lock up an NCAA Tournament bid, if it isn't locked up already.
Mirror prediction record: 25-6
- Michael Boytim