No. 18 Michigan St. at PSU men
Tipoff: 7 p.m., Bryce Jordan Center
Records: Penn State (8-8, 0-4 Big Ten); Michigan State (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten).
Coaches: Pat Chambers is 20-26 in his second season at Penn State and 62-56 in his fourth season overall. Tom Izzo is 426-172 in his 18th season, all of them at Michigan State.
Radio: ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM
Probable starters: Penn State - G D.J. Newbill, 6-4 So. (14.9), G Jermaine Marshall, 6-4 Jr. (14.1), F Ross Travis, 6-6 So. (7.3), F Brandon Taylor, 6-7 Fr. (7.1), C Sasa Borovnjak, 6-9 Jr. (5.5). Michigan State - G Keith Appling, 6-1 Jr. (13.8), G Denzel Valentine, 6-5 Fr. (5.8), G Gary Harris, 6-4 Fr. (12.9), F Branden Dawson, 6-6 So. (10.5), C Derrick Nix, 6-9 Sr. (9.4).
Notes: Penn State is looking to snap a four-game losing streak while Michigan State has won three straight. ... The Lions are being outscored 66.0 to 49.5 in Big Ten play. ... In four Big Ten games, Chambers has played eight different forwards and centers a total of 404 minutes. During that time, the players in question have combined for two assists. That indicates a serious lack of ball movement. ... Three Penn State coaches - Jerry Dunn (117-121), Ed DeChellis (114-138) and now Chambers - are a combined 251-287 since Izzo took over at Michigan State in 1995. ... MSU leads the all-time series 30-7 but the Lions have won two of the last four. The teams met only once last season (a 77-57 Spartan rout in East Lansing).
Mirror prediction: Michigan State 66, Penn State 52
Comment: The Spartans rank among the better defensive squads in the conference, which is bad news for a Nittany Lion outfit struggling to score.
Mirror prediction record: 13-3
- Mark Brennan
Pittsburgh at Villanova
Tipoff: 7 p.m., The Pavillion
Records: Pittsburgh (13-4, 1-3 in Big East); Villanova (11-5, 2-1 in Big East)
Coaches: Jamie Dixon is 251-81 in his 10th year as head coach at Pittsburgh. Jay Wright is 248-135 in his 12th year as head coach at Villanova and 370-220 in his 19-year coaching career overall.
Probable starters: Pittsburgh - G Tray Woodall, 6-0 Sr. (10.8), G James Robinson, 6-3 Fr. (7.2), F Lamar Patterson, 6-5 Jr. (9.6), F Talib Zanna, 6-9 Jr. (12.6), C Steven Adams, 7-0 Fr. (6.6). Villanova G James Bell, 6-6 Jr. (9.8), G Darrun Hilliard, 6-6 So. (9.4), G Ryan Arcidiacono, 6-3 Fr. (12.1), F Daniel Ochefu, 6-11 Fr. (4.0), F Mouphtaou Yarou, 6-10 Sr. (8.3).
Notes: Villanova leads the all-time series, 32-31, but the Panthers have won the last four meetings. All 10 players in Pitt's rotation are averaging at least 4.2 points per game. The Wildcats come in winners of seven of their last eight but have some bad losses this year including an overtime setback to La Salle and an 18-point loss to Columbia. Tray Woodall is probable to play after suffering an injury against Marquette. Woodall said he could have returned against the Eagles, but Dixon didn't want to take any chances with the senior's health.
Mirror prediction: Pittsburgh 66, Villanova 61
Comment: Though Villanova is 2-1 in Big East play, its wins came in OT over St. Joe's and against South Florida, both of which are hovering around .500.
Mirror prediction record: 14-3
- Michael Boytim