Penn State basketball (INSERT VERB HERE FOR WHAT PENN STATE JUST DID TO NORTHWESTERN, I PREFER CURB STOMPED) Northwestern in Evanston, 59-32, giving the team a 15-15 (6-11) record during the 2013-14 season. Normally when you see a score that low, you think it was an ugly game.
In this instance, that could not have been further from the truth. From the get go, the Nittany Lions came out and throttled the Wildcats, executing its offense and locking down on defense in a way that Penn State hasn't done this year. Hell, jNW scored the fewest points and made the fewest FGs (10!!!!!) in the Big Ten this season. It was also the fewest points Penn State allowed since Juniata College hung 26 on the Nittany Lions in 1989. The whole thing was insane.
Northwestern came out and scored the first two points of the game. Penn State responded by scoring the next 8, and that was that. The Nittany Lions were in control all game. There are tons of number that can describe how much better Penn State was, but here's the one that I think is the most telling: Northwestern shot 23.3 percent from the field. Twenty three point three.
This was a pick 'em in Vegas.— Chad Markulics (@Chad_BSD) March 7, 2014
Four Factors Analysis
DISCLAIMER: Before you read this, the BSD legal team would like me to recommend that you ignore Northwestern's stats, because they can have the same result as looking into Medusa's eyes.
Like I said, that was UGLY for Northwestern. While the Wildcats did an admirable job on the offensive glass and hit FTs at a rate far better than PSU -- Penn State went 5-for-13 from the stripe, a cool 38.5 percent -- the Wildcat offense was uglier than me. Northwestern has one of the worst offensive games that I could ever remember, while Penn State was solid-but-unspectacular. The team shot 50 percent from the field (24-for-48) and 40 percent from downtown (6-for-15). In a more back and forth game, Penn State would have put up a performance capable of beating a most Big Ten squads. Luckily, Northwestern isn't most Big Ten squads.
Player of the Game
I'll give it to Tim Frazier. His numbers look pretty meh at first glance -- 11 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals -- but as with most point guards, the numbers don't tell the whole story. Frazier was in complete control all game, and while he may not have literally teabagged Northwestern PG Dave Sobolewski, at no point did anyone go "hey, those two guys belong in the same gym." Well done, Timberly. Well done.
- Newbil did Nada - For my money, this was the most surprising thing about tonight. Not only did Penn State throttle jNW, but you would expect that if it was going to, D.J. Newbill was going to be a monster, right? Not quite. Newbill only scored 12 points -- which did lead the team -- and pulled down 4 boards. It was a quiet night for D.J. Which was nice, considering he usually plays approximately 1,944 minutes a game.
- Flipp Cooked - John Johnson had himself a nice ballgame, scoring 8 points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field. He also pulled in 2 rebounds.
- Titty's a Motorboat - Statistically, this was in no way Brandon Taylor's best game. But lost in the 11 points and 5 rebounds he put up was the fact that, outside of Frazier, you can argue pretty easily that he was the best player out there for Penn State. Instead of looking like a frightened lamb, he looked confident and sure of himself. If Penn State wants to make an NIT push, he needs to step up, as the Lions are 10-2 in games where he registers double-digits.
- Zach Cooper! - Zach Cooper played! So did Hoops McGloin!
- What the Shit is Wrong With Northwestern's Court? - It looks like a regular court that someone tried to color in on Snapchat.
The Nittany Lions will try to avenge the 68-65 home loss to Minnesota from earlier this year on Sunday at 5:15. The game is in Minnesota, and will tip off at 5:15 on Big Ten Network. If Penn State wants to make the NIT, this game is massive. A win and the team has a legitimate shot of making it. A loss, and the team is probably out. Commence the drinking now.
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