The Michigan Wolverines had one of their roughest showings of the season on Wednesday night, losing to Penn State by a score of 72-63 to move to 11-7 overall and 2-5 in Big Ten conference play. Junior forward Isaiah Livers did not dress and missed his sixth-straight game with a groin injury.
Zavier Simpson had 18 points on the night on 8-for-22 shooting with six assists and six turnovers. Lamar Stevens led the Nittany Lions with 19 points in the win.
Michigan’s offense was relatively lifeless throughout the night outside of a few stretches in this game in each half. To use a ton of words to try and expand on what the problem is would be a waste of time for me to write and for you to read. They just are not making enough shots right now and on the flip side their opponents are making tough shots. It simply is what it is.
- For better or worse, this team is what we thought they would be coming into the season, especially without Livers. They lack consistent scoring and a go-to guy. Simpson tries to be that and they sort of need him to be that seeing as he is the primary ballhandler, but he’s not consistent enough with his shot and has stretches where he throws the ball around a bit recklessly. The longer Livers is out, the smaller the margin of error gets. Soon, they will be fighting for their tournament lives.
- Franz Wagner (6 points) and Jon Teske (9 points, 11 rebounds) were basically non-factors on the night and finished the evening a combined 5-for-18 from the floor. Wagner had been playing much better recently but just could not get anything going on the evening. Teske has had some rough outings in the last few and they need him to be a much bigger factor if they are going to get this turned around.
- Colin Castleton and Adrien Nunez did not play at all on Wednesday. Neither have played particularly well recently, so it is not a huge surprise, but both guys were expected to be decent pieces coming into the year and now they are non-factors.
- Saturday will be five weeks since Livers left the lineup and if he does not return and they drop another game at home, things are going to start getting very dicey as it pertains to the postseason. They still feel like a tournament team with Livers in the lineup, but the floor is lower than we may have thought with the way things went in November. When they lost all of their offense from last year’s team and then had to go through a coaching transition, we knew there was a chance this would happen and right now, it’s here. Play through it and develop is all they can do at this point.
Next up for the Wolverines is Illinois at home on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. ET.