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Penn State at Indiana Preview: Can Lions Summon Assembly Hall Magic Again?

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(Probably not. That game was crazy).

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Who: Indiana Hoosiers (12-4, 2-1)
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Assembly Hall
TV: BTN
KenPom Rank: 54
Vegas Line: IU -9
Enemy Blog: Crimson Quarry

Let's revisit the recent history that will have absolutely no impact on tonight's outcome: Penn State went to Bloomington last season and were held at arm's length for 37 minutes before Indiana completely collapsed. The Hoosiers failed to successfully inbound the ball multiple times and Tim Frazier's killer crossover and lay-in won the game for the Nittany Lions, who pulled it out despite D.J. Newbill's second-worst performance of the year (7 points, 5 turnovers).

Indiana's a young team with a few freshmen who may or may not recall that game, but they certainly do remember their 69-66 win over Ohio State on Saturday. Tom Crean's men kept freshman sensation D'Angelo Russell from doing much of anything, holding him to 3-15 shooting, If they can find a way to limit Newbill in a similar fashion, it'll be a rough night for a Penn State supporting cast operating a man short for the foreseeable future.

Scouting The Opposition

Like Michigan, Indiana is a little light up front but makes up for it with great guards. Yogi Ferrell and freshman James Blackmon Jr are one of the better backcourt pairings in the conference - both average around 16 points per game and shoot over 40% from beyond the arc. As a team the Hoosiers are 35th in the country in three-point percentage, and their fast-paced style means they have the potential to blow out any inferior opponent. They've yet to shoot over 30% from distance in their three conference games, but that didn't stop Michigan from shooting the lights out against PSU last Tuesday.

Defensively, there are a few vulnerabilities. The Hoosiers don't force many turnovers for a team that plays fast, and Penn State has done a decent job of avoiding giveaways this season. IU does a good job on the offensive glass for such a short team, grabbing an offensive board on 35.9% of possessions, but they haven't been as sharp on their own end - opponents are pulling offensive rebounds down on a third of their possessions.

What To Watch For

Hanner Mosquera-Perea has been Indiana's main inside presence this season, and much like Ricky Doyle before him, he's IU's only player taller than 6-9 (nice) who gets substantial minutes. Mosquera-Perea (7.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.6 bpg) has been plagued by early foul trouble the last few games, and if that scenario comes to pass again Penn State will have to take advantage by slowing the game down, getting to the rim, and getting Brandon Taylor and Donovon Jack involved.

Prediction

Penn State has to be frustrated with their 0-3 start, and if they want to salvage a chance at an NCAA tournament bid a win at Assembly Hall would be a good place to start. Who knows? if Indiana shoots as poorly as they have in B1G play thus far and if Penn State made good use of their weekend off, this might be a close one. But Tom Crean doesn't forget easily, and I doubt he'll let his players take their foot off the gas for a second consecutive year. Indiana 75, Penn State 63.

update: potential helpful news for PSU?