Penn State at Purdue Preview: Lions Still Looking To End Losing Skid

Purdue Pete could be doing plenty of celebratory air-guitaring tonight. - Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Is this the night PSU finally gets a win in Big Ten play? Probably not, but one can dream, right? Right???

Who: Purdue Boilermakers (12-5, 2-2)
When: Tonight, 7:00 PM ET
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafeyette, IN
TV: ESPNU
KenPom Rank: 84
Vegas Line: Purdue (-7)
Enemy Blog: Hammer and RailsBoiled Sports

[Sigh] Here we go again. A Purdue team on a two-game win streak (including a solid 66-58 win on the road in their most recent game at Illinois) and gaining further confidence is just what the doctor ordered for a Penn State team that can't seem to get out of its own way, all while trying to pull themselves out of a Big Ten death spiral that only seems to spin faster with each new loss. It's going to take a full-on contribution from Penn State's starters and bench in order to pull this one out. Otherwise, you can expect more of the same if Tim Frazier/DJ Newbill/Ross Travis are solely relied upon to do the heavy lifting.

Scouting The Opposition

You can't talk about Purdue without mentioning their backcourt led by Terone Johnson and his younger brother, Ronnie. When they're not busy with classes or filming the latest episode of their buddy-cop show, Johnson 2 Johnson, they're leading the team in scoring (Terone averages 13.4 ppg, whereas Ronnie averages 11.5). A.J. Hammons is another name to keep an eye out for, as the 7-footer has been a scoring (9.8 ppg), rebounding (6.9 per game), and shot-blocking (3.6 per game) stalwart. Hopefully, this means we'll see plenty of run from PSU's own 7-footer, Jordan Dickerson to try and keep Hammons in check as much as humanly possible. Did I also neglect to mention that Purdue is tops in the Big Ten in rebounding margin, with a +8.2 advantage in conference play? To say that PSU will need to step its game up in the low post tonight is like saying that Justin Bieber needs to grow the hell up.

Key Matchup

A.J. Hammons versus any poor soul who dares to go up against him in the paint. Picture it like King Kong swatting away all those airplanes shooting at him from the top of the Empire State Building, except he never ends up falling to his death.

Prediction

It wouldn't shock me if PSU came out sharp by shooting the ball lights-out and playing decent enough defense to jump out to an early lead. Once things settle down though, expect Purdue's rebounding and PSU's overall defensive ineptitude (not to mention its inability to maintain #ATTITUDE for a full 40 minutes) to eventually catch up to Pat Chambers' squad. PSU kind of/sort of hangs around after squandering its early lead, but never manages to reclaim it. Give me Purdue to cover, 75-65.

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