For the second time this season Pat Chambers and the Penn State Nittany Lions will do battle against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. On January 11th, the Nittany Lions traveled to Lincoln where they were defeated by the Cornhuskers 70-64. Now, Chambers and company gets an opportunity to exact revenge at home.
Scouting the opposition
Nebraska enter’s Tuesday night’s matchup as winners of back-to-back games. Prior to this, the Cornhuskers had dropped seven games in a row. This seven-game losing streak undid much of the good that the Cornhuskers had accomplished by getting off to a 13-4 start to the season.
There are few teams in the country that are better defensively than Nebraska is. Tim Miles group ranks 18th nationally, and third in the Big Ten, in scoring defense allowing just 63.5 points per game. The Cornhuskers rank 24th nationally in field goal percentage defense (40%) and 41st in three-point field goal percentage (31%). This does not bode well for a Penn State team that is among the worst shooting teams in the country.
Nebraska is averaging just 71.9 points per game which ranks 210th nationally. The team’s top offensive threat is James Palmer Jr. who is averaging 18.8 points per game. Isaac Copeland Jr. (14.0 PPG) and Glynn Watson Jr. (12.1 PPG) can be scoring threats as well.
What to watch for
How will Penn State handle Nebraska’s defense? - Penn State’s 40.9% field goal percentage ranks 320th nationally and dead last in the Big Ten. Their 31.2% three-point field goal percentage is also last in the conference. After shooting just 36.2% from the field in their loss against Nebraska in January, how will the Nittany Lions fair against a strong Cornhusker defense on Tuesday night?
Nebraska on the road - In true road games this season Nebraska owns just a 2-6 record. On the road Nebraska is allowing 68.3 PPG while scoring an average of 60.6 PPG, a drop off from the 61.0 PPG they allow and 76.9 PPG they average at home. The Bryce Jordan Center may prove to be right where the Nittany Lions want to get a second shot at the Cornhuskers.
Will there be much scoring? - Nebraska is a good defensive squad that struggles to score on the road. Penn State’s offense struggles everywhere. Can either team get hot from the field and light up the scoreboard? It seems unlikely.
Penn State has been playing better basketball in recent weeks. That said, Nebraska is a better team and I still struggle to pick this team to win a game.
Nebraska 60, Penn State 57