Penn St. Nittany Lions vs. Michigan Wolverines Pick & Prediction JANUARY 7th 2024

Two teams coming off disappointing losses will look to bounce back at one of college basketball’s oldest arenas on Sunday afternoon when Michigan and Penn State meet at The Palestra in Philadelphia.

Michigan (6-8, 1-2 Big Ten) is coming off a 73-71 home loss on Thursday to Minnesota and is reeling while on a three-game losing streak and defeats in six of their last eight contests.

As was the case last year, Michigan is struggling to pull out close games. The Wolverines are 1-5 in games decided by six points or less.

“I know our guys are hurting so bad,” Michigan head coach Juwan Howard said. “Seems like it’s looking like the same pattern as last season when you’re right there. One or two possessions.”

Michigan has been a good offensive team, led by point guard Dug McDaniel (18.3 points per game) and Tennessee transfer Olivier Nkamhoua (17.1). The Wolverines average 82.3 points per game.

Michigan has its issues on defense though, allowing 78.6 points per game.

Playing at The Palestra will serve as a homecoming for Michigan associate head coach Phil Martelli, who spent 24 seasons as head coach at St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia and is a Pennsylvania native. His son, Jimmy Martelli, is an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State (7-7, 1-2) is also looking to rebound after a 92-61 loss at Michigan State on Thursday.

“We’ve got to learn from it,” Penn State head coach Mike Rhoades said. “You can’t complain about anything. You can’t make excuses. You’ve got to move on from the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s what we’ve got to do.”

Penn State is led in scoring by Kanye Clary (18.4 points per game) and Ace Baldwin (12.8).

This will be the fourth time since 2017 that Penn State has hosted a regular-season conference game at The Palestra, which is located on the Penn campus.

The Nittany Lions beat Michigan State there in 2017 and Iowa in 2020 before losing to Purdue last year at the arena.

This will be the only game between the Wolverines and Nittany Lions during the regular season. Michigan leads the all-time series 39-15 advantage but the teams have split the past six games.

–Field Level Media

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