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Penn State Basketball Preview: Nebraska

Can the Nittany Lions get off the schneid in conference play when they travel to Lincoln tonight?

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After climbing into the AP Top 25, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have lost two games in a row. Prior to these loses, by two points at Maryland and by nine at Iowa, the Huskers owned an 11-2 record.

After these consecutive losses Nebraska finds themselves at just 1-3 on the season in Big Ten play. With a trip to Indiana and a home game against Michigan State looming this is a vital game for the Cornhuskers. It is also an opportunity for the 7-8 Nittany Lions to play spoiler.

Scouting The Opposition

Nebraska is one of ten teams in the Big Ten that have a legitimate shot at making the NCAA Tournament this season. So far this season head coach Tim Miles and the Cornhuskers have been led by their defense.

Allowing just 61.3 points per game, the Huskers rank 13th nationally in scoring defense. Opposing teams are shooting 38.6% against Nebraska this season which is 18th best nationally and their 8.5 steals per game is 30th nationally and tops in the conference.

Offensively, Nebraska is averaging 79.9 points per game. Their +18.6 scoring margin is 10th best nationally, and second in the conference behind just Michigan State. They are also a disciplined team that has committed the third fewest fouls in the Big Ten and 28th fewest in the country. Additionally, they check in 11th nationally and first in the conference in turnover margin.

Nebraska’s offense is led by James Palmer Jr. who is averaging 20.1 points per game. Isaac Copeland Jr. (14.7 PPG) and Glynn Watson Jr. (13.0 PPG) are scoring threats for the Huskers as well. Junior Isaiah Roby (10.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG) is a player to keep an eye on as well.

What to Watch For

Nittany Lion Shooting Woes - Penn State has been one of the worst teams in the country this season at shooting the basketball. The Nittany Lions are shooting a woeful 41.5% from the field which ranks 301st nationally and their 31.4% three-point shooting ranks 298th. Combine these woes with Nebraska’s defensive prowess and it could be a long night for the offense.

Protecting The Basketball - The Nittany Lions rank 152nd nationally in turnover margin at +0.7. Meanwhile, the Huskers turnover margin of +4.8 is tied for the 11th best in the country. Turnovers have been a major issue for Pat Chambers and his squad this season, and played a big role in getting blown out by Wisconsin on Sunday, while Nebraska is one of the best teams in the country in both protecting the basketball and forcing wasted possessions.

The Return Of Pat Chambers - After serving a one-game suspension for shoving Myles Dread, Penn State’s head coach will be back on the sidelines tonight. Will this invigorate his team? Will it have any impact at all? We will have to wait and see.


Penn State’s offense will have their work cut out for them tonight. Nebraska is one of the best defensive teams they will face this season and they are much better than their 1-3 conference record. Penn State will win a conference game at some point this season, but it won’t be tonight. Nebraska 77, Penn State 65