Nine down, 11 to go!
Penn State continues its conference slog on Thursday when it welcomes Matt Painter and the Purdue Boilermakers to the Bryce Jordan Center.
Odds say that the Nittany Lions will eventually win a conference game. Odds also say that it will not happen on Thursday.
Scouting the opposition
The Boilermakers are rolling of late led by Wooden Award candidate Carsen Edwards.
Purdue has been impressive on both sides of the floor this year as the Boilermakers ranked fifth in the country in pace adjusted offense and 49th in adjust defense.
One area that Penn State may be able to exploit in order to keep it close is that while Purdue is efficient, it doesn’t play at a high tempo. The Boilermakers rank just 281st in the country in tempo.
Edwards has done a little bit of everything this year, but his key component is scoring. His 24.2 points per game are tops in the Big Ten and sixth-best in the country. He’s shooting a very respectable 37.6 percent from deep on more than 10 attempts per game.
This could be troubling for a Penn State that struggles to defend (anyone) the perimeter.
PSU will also have to deal with 7-foot-2 big man Matt Haarms who’s averaging 7.9 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game on the year. Haarms is not the most athletic big man but his size is definitely an issue for a well undersized Penn State team.
What to watch for
Defending the perimeter: Purdue loves to shoot it from deep. The Boilermakers take more than 25 attempts per game from beyond the arc and are shooting it at a very respective 38 percent clip. If Penn State can’t run them off the line early, it could be over early.
Josh Reaves-Carsen Edwards: Josh Reaves has been discussed as potential 3-and-D NBA prospect recently and Thursday’s game could give him a chance to show why. Reaves should draw the assignment of guarding Edwards and the Nittany Lions will need a sterling performance from their senior swing man to have any shot in this one.
On the boards: Purdue will have a marked size advantage across the front line in this one. Penn State will need to make up for that size mismatch with athleticism in hopes of keep the Boilermakers off the boards and getting second-chance opportunities of its own.
Yikes. Purdue is very good and playing as well as it has all season. Penn State is neither good nor playing well. This could get out of control early.
Purdue 77, Penn State 61.