College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Somehow, we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later. The cocky - and often sloppy - attitude of the Michigan Wolverines would catch up to them, and, on Wednesday night, it finally did, as Penn State took advantage of home court and 15 Michigan turnovers to upend the Wolverines, 84-78, shining a very bright light on star point guard Trey Burke, who committed six turnovers himself and made just one of four shots from outside the three-point arc.
Michigan took a slim, three-point lead into the break, but the Nittany lions simply outplayed them in the second stanza, making three-pointers and trips to the foul line as they pressured the Michigan defense on each possession. Leading the charge was junior guard Jermaine Marshall, who led all scorers with 25 points on shooting of 8-for-17, nailing six of ten from downtown.
Marshall, the Lions' second-leading scorer among active players at 15.4 ppg (Tim Frazier has an average of 16.3, but has played just four games this season), also grabbed six rebounds, had three assists and a couple of steals in the upset victory.
With nothing to lose, the Penn State players made the most of their opportunity to make headlines. They are 9-18 overall, and, up until Wednesday night, were 0-14 in Big Ten play.
NOTABLE: Still receiving far too little acclaim, the St. Louis Billikens won their tenth straight game, whipping St. Joseph's, 70-53, maintaining their one-game lead in the Atlantic-10 over 10-3 VCU with an 11-2 conference record.
The Billikens haven't lost since back-to-back defeats at Temple and against Rhode Island, back on January 12 and 19 and need to forge wins at George Washington and Xavier before their season finale at home against LaSalle in order to take the conference title outright.
There will be plenty of hand-wringing come selection Sunday for all the teams in the PAC-12 other than the one which wins the post-season conference tournament. That's because the contenders in the conference haven't done much in the way of presenting a strong case by which the committee can single them out for an at-large bid. Currently, Oregon and UCLA lead the standings at 11-4, followed by Arizona and Cal at 11-5 and 10-5, respectively. Colorado is 9-6; Arizona State is 9-7 and USC improved to 8-7 after dropping Arizona Wednesday night, 89-78.
Winning records have been achieved by these seven - each of which believe they are worthy of at-large tourney selections - largely at the expense of Utah, Oregon State and Washington State, the conference cellar-dwellers with a combined conference record of 8-36.