After Tuesday’s loss at Maryland we have a chance to regroup. Returning to Mackey is always a blessing, but we only get to do that three more times this year. That makes each game critical if we’re going to get a 24th Big Ten championship. There can be no slipups at home, lest of all against the last place team in the league.
Of course, the Nittany Lions are not your typical last place team. They just knocked off Michigan and took Purdue to overtime. They have often played better than their record, but winning in Mackey would be stunning for them.
From: State College, PA
Date: Saturday, February 16, 2019
Tip Time: 4pm ET
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Television: Big Ten Network
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
Odds: No Line Yet
2017-18 Record: 26-13, 9-9 Big Ten (NIT Champs)
2018-19 Record: 9-15, 2-11 Big Ten
Opponent Blog: Black Shoe Diaries
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 38-12
Last Penn State Win: 79-68 at Penn State on 2/2/2014
Last Purdue Win: 99-90 at Penn State on 1/31/2019
NCAA Tournament History: 9 Appearances, last in 2011. 1954 Final Four
Coach: Pat Chambers (122-137 in 7th season at Penn State. 162-163 overall)
We definitely owe Penn State a debt. While Purdue’s loss at Maryland was not completely unexpected, the Nittany Lions rising up and biting Michigan Tuesday night was a shock. Still, the Mausoleum always seems to get one victim each year. This year it was Michigan, just like it was in 2013. That year an 0-14 Penn State stunned Michigan 84-78 in State College, costing them the Big Ten title a few weeks later. The same could happen this year, with a team from Indiana benefitting once again.
In the game in State College Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline each had a huge night, but Purdue’s defense struggled big time. We gave up 18 points to Rasir Bolton off the bench, and 14 to Myles Dread. Those two combined for 8 of 18 from three and helped Penn State get back in it. Lamar Stevens also shot 17 free throws by repeatedly driving and getting to the line. He was only 4 of 13 from the floor, but finished with 24.
That was the biggest factor in the game. Penn State shot 41 free throws. That is an absurd number for any team to shoot, especially when Maryland shot 15, Ohio State shot 16, Wisconsin shot 19, and Michigan State shot 19 in our last four non-Penn State road games. That was the main equalizing factor in a game that was trending towards a blowout early on.
Honestly, even after Penn State beat Michigan on Tuesday we have no business losing to the likes of Penn State in Mackey. Beating a team on a bad night in an empty arena is one thing. Coming into one of the toughest arenas in all of college basketball and winning is another. My largest concern is that Purdue’s second half shooting struggles from Tuesday might continue. In the final 10 minutes of the second half at Maryland Purdue couldn’t buy a basket. Hopefully that is merely an outlier.
This needs to be a game where Purdue simply gets back on track. Penn State has nothing to lose and is feeling pretty good after Tuesday night. Purdue has a bad taste in its mouth. I think we take care of business quite comfortably.