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Penn State vs. Wisconsin Preview: Can the Nittany Lions Bounce Back?

Should I do my usual pessimistic prediction?

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

After a frustrating performance (but a more competitive second half) at Purdue, Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center for an opportunity for a season-altering victory against Wisconsin.

The Badgers have won five straight and 18 of 19 against the good guys. They are a hot-shooting squad, leading the conference at 50 percent from the field, as well as over 40 percent from three-point range.

Scouting the Opposition

Wisconsin is very good. As previously stated, they are one of the most efficient offensive teams in terms of shooting. Guard AJ Storr leads three players in double figures with nearly 15 points per game, while seven-footer Steven Crowl averages almost 12 points and eight rebounds. Graduate student Tyler Wahl rounds out the men in double figures, adding 5.7 boards as well. If all three players are somehow subdued, junior guard Max Klesmit scored 24 points on 9 of 13 shooting in Wisconsin’s hard-fought win over Northwestern.

What to Watch For

Can Penn State create mistakes?

  • Their gaudy shooting numbers not-withstanding, Wisconsin does average nearly 10 turnovers a game. Penn State’s full court trap will again be critical to success.

Start fast, finish fast

  • This goes without saying, but the Nittany Lions need to start strong if they want any hope of victory tonight. This team has come back several times this season, but you don’t want to be fighting back from a deficit against a squad like Wisconsin.

Kanye and Ace, or else a palm-to-the-face

  • Kanye Clary and Ace Baldwin are the X-Factors for Penn State. If they are explosive on offense and disruptive on defense, the Nittany Lions will have a shot.

Prediction

I’m going to try reverse psychology on the basketball universe. I know it’s only a six-point spread, but maybe predicting a 12-point loss will swing those six points the other way?

Wisconsin 78, Penn State 66