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Penn State Basketball Preview: Nittany Lions Look to go Streaking Against Purdue

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If one win is fun, two in a row must be fantastic!

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

As we near the end of the Penn State basketball season and likely the Jim Ferry Era, the Nittany Lions are hoping to send the interim coach out on a high note.

Following a win in Lincoln against the Cornhuskers, the Nittany Lions return home to host a Purdue team that is very likely NCAA Tournament bound.

The Nittany Lions, somewhat surprisingly, actually enter the contest as slight, 1.0-point favorites over Purdue, despite dropping four of their last five games.

Last time out, Penn State held on for a narrow 86-83 victory over Nebraska, while the Boilermakers haven’t played since Saturday, when they also topped the Huskers, 75-58.

Scouting the opposition

Matt Painter’s side has been a bit up and down this season, but more the former than the latter. Purdue has won two in a row, including a victory over the now surging Spartans of Michigan State, but prior to that it had dropped two of three in a very competitive Big Ten conference.

The Boilermakers have also struggled on the road thus far, posting just as 4-6 record away from Keady Court at Mackey Arena.

Offensively, Trevion Williams leads the way at 16 points per game. The big man will once again look to expose the Nittany Lions’ lack of front court depth or, really, any size whatsoever.

The Boilermakers are solid, if unspectacular, from beyond the arc, shooting it at 33.5 percent from deep on the year. But they shine on the defensive end, holding opponents to just 32.6 percent on 3-point attempts and just 41.6 percent from the field.

What to watch for

Can the Nittany Lions generate offense if Purdue runs them off the line. Penn State has shown the ability to get red hot at times from 3-point range this season, but if their shots aren’t falling the offense tends to stagnate. Obviously, making shots is a key factor in winning, but can PSU generate offense outside of the 3-point shot if necessary?

Prediction

Penn State is a solid basketball team and for that reason there’s no reason they can’t push the Boilermakers and come out with a victory. But the Nittany Lions, as is seemingly always the case, struggle to close games, whereas the Boilermakers seem to have a nack for doing so this year. I think those elements rear their heads again tonight. Purdue 74, Penn State 68