Sunday evening was a frustrating one for the Nittany Lions. Playing then no. 1 ranked Purdue, Penn State carried a six point lead into the locker room at The Palestra. Unfortunately, things went sideways in the second half as the Nittany Lions fell to the Boilermakers 76-63 for their second consecutive loss.
Wednesday night Penn State will welcome the Indiana Hoosiers to the Bryce Jordan Center. Mike Woodson’s Hoosiers also enter the matchup losers of two games in a row, by a combined three points, and four of their last six.
This will be a good test for Micah Shrewsberry, his coaching staff, and his players. The Nittany Lions are a team battling to make the NCAA Tournament in March, and to make this happen need to avoid losing streaks. Can they get back into the win column against a good Indiana team on Wednesday night? As a wise man once said, only time will tell.
Scouting the Opposition
The Hoosiers are led by one of the conference’s best players in Trayce Jackson-Davis. The senior forward feels like he has been in college for about seven seasons, and is averaging 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game this season. Each of these lead the Hoosiers.
Jackson-Davis is the straw that stirs the Indiana drink. The first step to slowing down the Hoosiers is keeping Jackson-Davis in check. If the Nittany Lions can do that, it will be a big first step toward victory.
As a team the Hoosiers are averaging 80.9 PPG and rank in the top 25 nationally with 17.3 assists per game. Indiana is also a good defensive team, limiting opponents to just 68.3 PPG this season.
What To Watch For
Can the Nittany Lions respond? - When Penn State lost back-to-back games last month they responded by going on the road to upset then no. 17 Illinois. Can Coach Shrewsberry’s squad respond that way again? If so, it go a long way toward the Nittany Lions solidifying themselves as a legitimate NCAA Tournament type squad.
Jalen Hood-Schifino can not be overlooked - While Jackson-Davis is Indiana’s leader, freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino is quickly developing into one of the best guards in the conference. He’s averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game this season. However, in Indiana’s last four games he appears to be turning a corner. Hood-Schifino is averaging 22.3 points and 5.5 assists per game over the course of the last four games. Hood-Schifino is another player the Nittany Lions will need to account for throughout the game.
It’s weird since it’s Penn State Basketball and all, but I have been weirdly confident in this team all season. They play well and bounce back with a big win on Wednesday night at the BJC. Penn State 75, Indiana 72