For the first time since December 30th, the Penn State men’s basketball team will take the court. The Nittany Lions have had their last four games postponed due to COVID issues but now will need to travel to Mackey Arena in West Lafayette to take on the always tough Purdue Boilermakers.
Scouting The Opposition:
The Boilermakers offensively are not a high scoring team and won’t push the pace by any means. They’re averaging 71.1 points per game this season and their pace is among the bottom third in the country. That being said, they are led by a trio of juniors offensively.
Forward Trevion Williams is the Boilermakers leading scorer entering Sunday, he’s averaging nearly a double-double per game with 15.5 points and 9.6 rebounds on average. Guard Sasha Stefonvic is another player who could prove to be dangerous during the game. Stefanovic is averaging 10.5 points per game this year but is shooting 49.3% from beyond the arc (37-for-75). A tremendous three-point shooter, to say the least, the Nittany Lions will need to keep tabs on him throughout the game.
Eric Hunter Jr. is the only other Boilermaker to average over 10 points or more this season, coming in at 10.4 points per game though he is not doing it effectively, shooting at just a 34.3% clip.
Offensively as noted above, Purdue likes to play a slow and methodic type of basketball offensively. While the Nittany Lions are not a team that plays at that much higher of a pace, they’ll need to push the pace in this one in order to better attack Purdue. If this one gets into shootout territory, the Nittany Lions chances of winning surely would go up.
What To Watch For
The Nittany Lions are coming off a long break while the Boilermakers are coming off their two best wins of the season with a 55-54 win over Michigan State and then an 81-69 win over Indiana. It will be interesting to see if Penn State comes out a bit rusty or if they can avoid doing so.
Coming off nearly three weeks of no action and likely limited practice does not bode well for the Nittany Lions as they face a Purdue team who might be finding themselves as seen by their back-to-back wins over Michigan State and Indiana. If Penn State can get the offense going early, they’ll have a good chance of keeping this close and winning but if they come out rusty, it could be a game that gets out of hand early.
Purdue 75, Penn State 68