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Free NCAA Pick Wednesday

#714 Penn State -3 over Michigan 6:00 PM CT

Penn State has won six of the last eight to make a late season run in Big Ten play, up to 9-7 and 19-10 overall. The Lions have a few bad losses on the resume to overcome and still have plenty of work to do to make a NCAA Tournament case. Penn State has lost three home games this season but they have won the past four home games and have home wins over Nebraska and Ohio State to take out two of the better teams in the conference. After beating the Buckeyes last Thursday Penn State came up just short at Purdue in what could have been a season-making win for the team.

Purdue was gifted a 27-13 edge in free throw attempts and the Lions have 15 turnovers to offset a big rebounding edge for Penn State and continued strong shooting for the Lions. A lot went right for Michigan’s senior day win over rival Ohio State Sunday and a letdown is very possible tonight back on the road in a more critical game for the host. In Sunday’s narrow win for Michigan the Wolverines hit 17 of 24 from the line despite being one of the nation’s least productive and lowest percentage free throw shooting teams. Michigan was crushed on the boards 40-30 including a 15-4 edge for the Buckeyes on the offensive glass but turnovers and missed layups and free throws burned Ohio State.

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Michigan only has four road wins all season and a Wolverines team reliant on 3-point shooting will face a very strong perimeter defense for Penn State that has held foes to just 34 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Michigan’s defensive profile is vastly overrated through non-conference success against nine teams outside the nation’s top 150. Michigan is 20th nationally in defensive efficiency with the season numbers but just seventh in the Big Ten in the conference season through one of the weaker Big Ten slates. Michigan is 11th in the Big Ten in 3-point defense and there should be a good opportunity for Penn State to continue a strong late season run.

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