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Penn State at Purdue: Preview, Odds, & How to Watch

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Purdue comes home from a bad loss at Illinois to face Penn State.

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Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

So where does Purdue stand right now? Well, it is not the rollicking team that was crushing skulls and bullrushed into the top 10 a few weeks ago. It is also not the "the sky is falling and we're all doomed to the CBI for a thousand years" team that some believe they are. Yes, I have seen a few "Fire Painter" comments on Twitter since Sunday. That was one of many reasons that I took a Twitter sabbatical for a few days.

The answer is that we don't know. There are 14 regular season games and at least two tournament games (Big Ten plus NCAA) to go. Barring a complete collapse, Purdue is still going to make the NCAA Tournament. What happens in these next 14 games and in those tournaments is to be decided. Purdue has the talent and ability to win many of these next 14 games and a Big Ten title that can come with it. It has the ability to win the Big Ten Tournament, make a deep run in March, and possibly even reach the final weekend. Of course, none of this could happen too.

What Purdue needs to do is figure out some things. It needs to figure out a third aspect of its offense other than 1. Pound the ball inside to Hammons/Haas or 2. Shoot a three. It has athletic players in Johnny Hill, Vince Edwards, and Rapheal Davis that can attack the basket and loosen up defenses. It has a talented freshman that is struggling with turnovers and not playing to his potential. It has shooters that are either not hitting or not being given the minutes to be consistent. Purdue basketball is basically a jumbled puzzle of spread out pieces right now. If Matt Painter can find a way to put it together there is plenty of time to make this season a memorable one.

Fortunately, Purdue has two excellent chances to work on things here. Illinois was supposed to be one of those chances as well, but Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill had other ideas. Penn State and Rutgers are step below Illinois though, and Purdue needs to work on figuring out what it needs to figure out against them.

Opponent

Penn State Nittany Lions

Location:

State College, PA

Date:

1/13/2016

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,846), West Lafayette, IN

TV:

BTN

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 17

Tickets:

As low as $8 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

8:30pm

KenPom Ranking:

151 of 351

RPI:

104

Blog Representation:

Black Shoe Diaries

2015-16 Record:

10-7, 1-3 Big Ten

All-time series

Purdue leads 32-12

Last Purdue win:

64-59 in Chicago (B1G Tourney) on 3/13/2015

Last Penn State Win:

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

2014-15 Record:

18-16, 4-14 Big Ten

Last NCAA appearance:

2011 (9 appearances) 1954 Final Four

Coach:

Pat Chambers (108-110 all-time, 66-82 in 4th year at Penn state, 2-6 vs. Purdue)

First of all, Purdue is a 17 point favorite, at home, against a team that hasn't won in West Lafayette in 10 years and is only 2-18 all-time in West Lafayette. If Purdue blows this we know there are some serious and potentially unresolvable issues.

Penn State enters at 1-3 in the Big Ten, with a win over a Minnesota team that has just had an awful, awful week in getting blown out by Northwestern and Nebraska. The Nittany Lions have been challenging, however. They came within a point of beating a good Colorado team on a neutral floor. They also had Maryland on the ropes in College Park before the officials started giving Diamond Stone the "Blake Griffin in the Garden against Purdue" treatment. If you think I am kidding look at the box score. Maryland shot 38 free throws to Penn State's 16 and Stone had 25 attempts. That, my friends, is a bailout.

Penn state has also had some not-co-good moments. These include home losses to Duquesne and Radford, as well as close calls with Louisiana-Monroe, Depaul, and Drexel.

Senior forward Brandon Taylor leads the Nittany Lions with 15.9 points and 6.3 rebounds. Shep Garner is attempting to become the next Talor Battle Memorial Penn State Guard That Can Win A Game By Himself, following Battle, Tim Frazier, and D.J. Newbill. Garner averages 14.9 points and 2.7 assists as a solid sophomore guard. The third scorer in double figures is Payton Banks at 11.4 points per game.

The only players with size are Jordan Dickerson and Julian Moore, who only average about eight points combined and do not rebound particularly well. If Purdue can solve its post entry problems both A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas should be able to have a veritable feast.

What is going to make things difficult for Penn State (assuming Purdue' defensive performance on Sunday was a fluke) is that they do not shoot well and they don't score a lot. That's kind of important in the game of basketball. They only average 67 points per game and shoot 41.6% from the field and 29.8% from three. This is a bad, bad matchup because they lack size, don't score much, and defense has been an issue in some games.

Of course, Illinois was supposed to be a bad matchup too.