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Purdue at Penn State: Preview, TV, Odds, Time, How to Watch

Purdue's trip to Happy Valley is a great chance for a true road victory.

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

So far in Big Ten play the Boilers have enjoyed the comforts of Mackey Arena for three of the four games. The next two are on the road, however, at Penn State and Illinois. Fortunately, Penn State has about the least intimidating home court in all of the Big Ten. It is not Penn State's fault that the Bryce Jordan Center is less intimidating than the 12:30pm game during the first round of the NCAA Tournament. I blame the Big Ten for making them build a gigantic empty arena instead of letting them play in a real gym like Rec Hall.

It is a place where Purdue has struggled in recent seasons, however. The phrase "Must win" has been overused a lot around here for late, but in reality, Purdue needs this game against a Penn State team that has struggled mightily since league play started. It is solid a chance to get a road victory (Purdue is 0-2 this season in true road games), which are like gold in the B1G. Also, I just don't see Purdue getting to the 12 wins it needs in Big Ten play if it drops this one.


Penn State Nittany Lions


State College, PA




Bryce Jordan Center (15,261)



Radio Stream:


Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM


Penn State by 1.5


As low as $10 on Stubhub



KenPom Ranking:

115 of 351



Blog Representation:

Black Shoe Diaries

2014-15 Record:

12-5, 0-4

All-time series

Purdue leads 30-12

Last Purdue win:

65-64 at Purdue on 1/18/2014

Last Penn State Win:

79-68 at Penn State on 2/2/2014

2013-14 Record:

16-18, 6-12

Last NCAA appearance:

2011 (Made 1954 Final Four)


Pat Chambers (92-91 overall, 50-63 in 4th year at Penn State)

Purdue has dominated the series with Penn State since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten. The Boilers have won 14 of the last 17 meetings, but the three Penn State wins have all come in State College. In 2009 the Boilers were ranked 14th when the Nitts upset us 67-64. In 2012 an uninspired Purdue fell by 20 even with Robbie Hummel still playing. Last season Purdue fell in State College by 11 after building an early lead.

Fortunately for us, Penn State has not won two in a row in the series since 2006. This year's edition of Penn State only lost one non-conference game, to UNC-Charlotte on a neutral floor in double overtime 106-97. They didn't really play anyone however. Their best win was a 61-58 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC/B1G Challenge. They also beat a solid George Washington team, but that's about it.

Since starting conference play they have struggled. They lost by four at Rutgers and by three at Indiana on Tuesday night. This is just their second home game, as they lost at home to Michigan by nine. The loss to Rutgers was especially ugly, as it was a 50-46 defeat.

This Penn State team does not share the basketball well, so expect lots of one-on-one matchups. They rank 318th in the country in assists at 10.1 per game. By comparison, Purdue is 29th nationally at 15.7 per game. The focus will be on D.J. Newbill who has taken the mantel from Tim Frazier as the Talor Battle Memorial Penn State Guard That Can Win A Game By Himself. He averages a Big Ten best 20.8 points per game along with 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Like Battle and Frazier before him, he can do a little bit of everything and is a triple-double waiting to happen.

Unlike some of the recent teams Purdue has played, Penn State is not particularly good at the three. They only shoot 31% from long range, so if they are bombing away from deep we should be very concerned. Shep Garner (9.7 points per game) is their best long-range threat, but Newbill and Brandon Taylor (9.6 points per game) are at least threats from outside.

Penn State relies heavily on a top five of Newbill, Garner, Taylor, Geno Thorpe, and John Johnson to do their scoring. Donovan Jack and Ross Travis are accomplished and experienced forwards that cam play both inside and out, but like many teams, there is not much to challenge our size inside. Jordan Dickerson plays a lot of minutes as a 7-foot center, but he averages only 2.3 points and 3.4 rebounds. Freshman Julian Moore provides additional size, too.

When looking at them there isn't anything that stands out statistically other than Newbill. He is an exceptional scorer that is going to get his points. He had 29 against Wisconsin and 35 against Charlotte. When he doesn't score, Penn State struggles. In the loss to Indiana this week he only had 12 points, but did add six points. What really hurt Penn State was that they shot poorly from three-point land. They were only 4 of 24. It seems like they don't know when to stop, but neither do we.

Like so many games, this really depends on which Purdue team shows up. The defensive intensity we have shown in the last two games is critical here, but we also have to get something going on offense. Right now our offense consists of the following:

1.       Chuck it into Haas/Hammons

2.       Stephens shoots a jumper, usually after running through multiple screens

3.       Davis/Octeus drives

4.       Edwards on a putback

If there was a benefit of Haas and Hammons being in foul trouble for so long against Maryland it was that Purdue was forced to find offense without them in the middle. Somehow, it worked. Vince Edwards hit a couple big threes and even P.J. Thompson knocked one down. The Boilers have got to find some more versatility on offense because right now we're more predictable than a Gary Nord screen pass. Edwards needs to be a more consistent threat and Davis has got to be able to at least hit the occasional jumper just to open things up.

I think this is a game Purdue wins as long as it plays with the same focus and intensity that it has brought throughout the Big Ten season. I hope they were able to keep that after a week off.