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Iowa at Penn State Preview

Who: Iowa Hawkeyes (13-12, 5-7)
When: Tonight, 8:00 PM
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
Radio: Affiliates, Sirius - CH 92, XM - CH 191

The last game between these two was all of 12 days ago. Penn State was a no-show in the first half on the road, and Iowa coasted to an easy 13-point win. The roles are reversed tonight, as we've seen how dramatically different PSU plays at the BJC. In conference play, Penn State is 3-3 at home with only the Minnesota loss being by double-digits (luckily OSU and MSU don't visit this year). Since that game, PSU has lost to MSU while beating Nebraska. Iowa has been sitting around for the last week after getting blown out at Northwestern.

True freshman Aaron White and senior PG Bryce Cartwright dominated PSU's defense for a combined 34 points. I will be shocked if they reproduce that effort tonight. The Hawkeyes' leading scorer Matt Gatens also got his (18 points) against the Nits thanks to 11 FTA. Penn State was sloppy all around, but they gave Iowa 34 free throws. That cannot happen again if PSU wants to win.

PSU (home) Conference-Only Iowa (road)
61.6 Pace 67.1
1.03 PPP 1.04
47.2% eFG% 52.8%
32.8% OReb% 34.9%
18.0% TO% 22.5%
32.8% FTR 39.4%
0.99 Opp PPP 1.20
48.9% Opp eFG% 53.9%
24.4% Opp OReb% 40.6%
20.2% Opp TO% 16.2%
47.3% Opp FTR 36.6%

It doesn't look like Iowa has had any interest playing defense on the road in the Big Ten (although they do have two surprising road wins against Wisconsin and Minnesota). With Iowa's faster pace and PSU's actual efficient home offense, this game could be lead to Big Macs. KenPom gives PSU at 58% chance of victory and predicts a 71-68 PSU win. Vegas also has PSU as a 2.5 point home favorite.

Some keys for PSU is working the interior of Iowa's defense. They've allowed opponents to shoot 58% on 2's on the road. Hopefully PSU isn't put in a position to shoot 29 threes again. It's also important for PSU to get off to a good start, which has to have been a focus for Chambers of late. Even in the Nebraska victory, PSU was sloppy in the first four minutes. They need to come out ready to roll from the get-go. Lastly, Penn State needs to win the rebounding battle, which they didn't the first time around. Iowa is very susceptible to giving up offensive rebounds and second chances.

The Hawkeyes have got some matchup problems for PSU like Aaron White, but if the home effort is there and the rotations are sound, I don't expect the same kind of success for the Iowa offense. Also, if the Cam Woodyards and Jermaine Marshalls get in a rhythm, Frazier should flourish with less on his shoulders. In Iowa City, Frazier had seven turnovers. I would be shocked to see that number again tonight as well.

I'm interested in what the crowd will look like. The Chamburgers seemed to have a positive effect with the students, but THON is starting, the weather is crappy, etc. Hopefully the guys can get a crowd (that's enthusiastic) to feed off of.