Penn State 8-13 (0-9 in Big Ten) vs. Purdue 11-11 (4-5 in Big Ten)
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
When: Tuesday, February 5, 7:00 PM
This will be a rematch of a January 13th game at Mackey Arena in which the Nittany Lions got demolished, 60-42. Penn State will be looking for better results this time around. Mackey Arena is one of the tougher places to play in the Big Ten, and Matt Painter is, in my opinion, a top 3 coach in the conference, behind Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan, so losing at Purdue is nothing to be ashamed of. However, even though Purdue is still a good team, they aren’t world-beaters this season, so a win at home against them isn’t out of the question.
In their last meeting, Penn State played the Boilermakers tough in the first half, but ultimately, they couldn’t make any shots. One player in particular that gave the Nittany Lions trouble, and that will likely give them trouble on Tuesday, is A.J. Hammons. Hammons is a 7 foot tall force in the paint that will probably be too much for Sasa Borovnjak and Jon Graham to handle, on the offensive and defensive ends. He is averaging 11 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per contest.
Penn State will once again look for a bunch of scoring from their guards. D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall have been forced to carry the load offensively ever since Tim Frazier got injured. Newbill is averaging 15.7 points per game, along with 5.9 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Marshall is averaging 15 points per game. Marshall and Newbill have been one of the top scoring backcourts in all of college basketball this season.
I actually think that for Penn State to win this game, they will need to play a bit faster than usual. Normally, I want them to play slow, but against another terrible offensive team, I want to see them try to outscore Purdue instead of out-ugly them. However, it if gets out hand early, it would be cool to just see Brandon Taylor hoist half court shots on every possession. I have statistical analysis to show why that would be a good idea: Penn State shot terribly in their last game against Purdue, but they did shoot 100% from behind the half court line.
Obviously that was a joke, but the fact that I even bring that up just shows how bad Penn State has been offensively. Let’s hope that the Nittany Lions come to play a good game tomorrow, because it is one of two remaining (realistic) opportunities to get a Big Ten win. Their next two games are at home against Purdue and on the road at Nebraska. After that, any win would be a miracle upset.
I’m going with the mild upset at home! Penn State 67, Purdue 63