Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
"Hey there, Ms. Big Ten Win--Penn State here. So, I was thinkin' about how it's Valentine's Day and all, and, I don't know--maybe we could, like, do something later?"
|Who:||Iowa Hawkeyes (15-9, 4-7)|
|Where:||Bryce Jordan Center|
Barring a TCU-style upset, this is Penn State's best remaining chance at getting a win at home in the Big Ten. This is less of a dig at Iowa, a team that has beaten Wisconsin and been ever so close to that "signature win" multiple times, than it is an indictment of the severity of the Nittany Lions' remaining home schedule. PSU closes out their home campaign against Michigan and Wisky, so this may (once again) be their best shot at appeasing the BJC crowd.
The Hawkeyes come into this one having just beaten Northwestern after back-to-back, nail-biting losses to Minnesota and Wisconsin on the road. Fran McCaffery's team hasn't been great away from Iowa City, posting a 1-6 road record. And needless to say, any hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament would be dashed with a quickness should Iowa stumble in Happy Valley.
Aaron White went off on Penn State in the last meeting between these teams at Carver-Hawkeye, posting a career-high 27 points on 8-15 shooting. Nobody else shot particularly well for Iowa that night, and the Lions actually kept pace in that department as both teams shot 40% from the field. The difference was made up at the line, however, as the Hawkeyes shot an astounding 39 free throws (their season average is 22 FTA per game), compared to Penn State's 16 attempts from the stripe.
After Saturday's dreadful performance in Nebraska, a return to 40% shooting would be welcomed with open arms. Penn State shot a paltry 29% from the floor and at one point late in the second half they had more turnovers than field goals. There's no point in analyzing this any further; if Penn State can shoot well, they have a chance. If not, they'll fall to 0-12.
The lone bright spot from Saturday was walk-on Alan Wisniewski, who posted 6 points and 8 rebounds in 17 minutes as part of Pat Chambers' "throw shit at the wall and see what sticks" plan. Jermaine Marshall had another off night shooting-wise despite putting up 16 points, and nobody other than he and D.J. Newbill (team-high 17 points) had a performance worth mentioning.
As mentioned before on this site, Pat Chambers is donating $10 to THON for every student that shows up and stays up until the 5:00 mark in the second half. Hopefully the team will give the students an effort worth watching, but win or lose, tonight should be very special. And if you, fair student, needed any more incentive, it's also Dollar Dog Night. Now you have no excuses.
Also, if you wanted some long reads to keep you optimistic (or at the very least, non-suicidal), Eric wrote 3,000 words on the state of the program, and Ace Carter of the CDT penned this excellent piece about Philadelphia, Earl "the Pearl" Monroe, D.J. Newbill, and his own journey that is well worth your time.
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