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Penn State at Nebraska Preview: Nittany Lions Look For Another Big Road Win

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Can the Nittany Lions even their conference record with another road win against the Cornhuskers?

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent Summary

Who When: Where: TV: KenPom Rank: Record: Vegas Line:
Who When: Where: TV: KenPom Rank: Record: Vegas Line:
Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday, March 5, 1:00 PM EST Carver-Hawkeye Arena BTN 70 17-13, 9-8 Big Ten TBD

Penn State is on the road again for its first meeting with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Penn State and Nebraska share some similarities this season; they both have beaten some of the top teams in the conference, they both have lost some head scratchers late, and most importantly, they both have given Rutgers a win in conference play. Both teams seem to be able to play evenly with anybody, and anybody truly means anybody.

Nebraska has played every Big Ten game close this season, but they have lost a few by three possessions or more. They haven’t however, been able to win any game by more than three points. This may bode well for a Nittany Lion team feeling confident after its two recent wins, allowing the Penn State every opportunity to take control late if they find themselves in that situation.

The quick turnaround and late-night tilt might affect the Nittany Lions some, but unlike the last time, they’re not coming off a three overtime marathon, and should have fresher legs.

Scouting the Opposition

Everything Nebraska does goes through Tai Webster and Glynn Watson, as they take 28.1 and 21.3 percent of possessions respectively. Watson is a threat from deep, shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc on the season. Lucky for the Nittany Lions, he’s the only Husker above 40% from three this season. In fact, he’s the only Nebraska player going above 35% for the season. The next best three-point shooter, Jack McVeigh, is shooting 34.4% from the arc.

Once you’ve played Purdue, height is more of an afterthought, and Nebraska, with one exception, is no exception. That exception of course is Ed Morrow, who saw his first action last time out against Wisconsin after being sidelined for multiple games with a lower leg injury. In his first game back, he grabbed 13 rebounds and scored five points in 26 minutes of play.

What to Watch For

Penn State needs to stop anything and everything inside. With Morrow back, Nebraska will look to go back to its inside out game, which was effective in wins against Maryland, Indiana, and Iowa to start the Big Ten season. Mike Watkins and Julian Moore (who is back for this game) will need to force the Huskers to shoot from a distance, something they’re not comfortable doing.

Reaves and Carr will have tough assignments in Webster and Watson, and, along with Morrow, limiting those three will go a long way in making this game tough for the home team. If another player gets hot, so be it. But as long as those three aren’t getting whatever they want around the basket, Penn State stands a great chance to come away with a win.

Nebraska, like Penn State, is a great defensive team. Their one weakness is their tendency to allow teams to shoot lights out from outside. Both Shep Garner and Payton Banks have had monster games from outside recently, and this is the perfect opportunity to have them both torch the nets from outside. If either can have a good game, let alone both at the same time, this might not even be a game come halftime. One thing they absolutely cannot do, however, is turn the ball over at the rate they have in the past few games, especially in the second half. Nebraska likes to run just as much as Penn State, so taking care of the ball is of utmost importance.

Prediction

Two similar teams with the tendency to play close games meet tonight. Logic would dictate the game will come down to the last possession, but something tells me that the winning team, whoever it may be, will do so by double digits. Let’s hope my optimism proves fruitful this time around.
Penn State 84, Nebraska 72