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YAY HOOPS: It’s Tiebreak Time at the BJC

Iowa and Penn State are both in search of B1G Win No. 6

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State is back home Thursday night - and maybe that’s a good thing? The last time the Lions were home at the BJC, nothing was going right in the final 20 minutes of a home loss against Minnesota. Penn State squandered a sizable halftime lead in about two minutes and watched leading scorer Kanye Clary and do-it-all wing Nick Kern, Jr. exit with injuries.

Since then, Penn State has been downright dominant in a pair of road wins - the first two true road victories of the season. The Lions led pretty much wire-to-wire in beating Rutgers and then played its best half of the year in sending Indiana fans to the exits early on a glorious Saturday afternoon in Bloomington.

Now, the Lions find themselves square on the season at 11-11 and with a chance to to even their league mark at 6-6 with a win against Iowa (13-9, 5-6 B1G).

Feel free to use this as Thursday night’s game thread with all the typical things holding true - be respectful in all ways. But also, look below to read more about the Hawkeyes.

Scouting the Opposition

Lots of good offense and lots of questionable defense - all with a spice of Fran. Iowa is typical Iowa. They’ll score a lot of points, though this year they are doing it less with the 3-point field goal than usual. They rank just No. 11 in the conference in made 3-pointers.

But, they still do have a dynamic guard that will headline the scouting report. Senior Tony Perkins has been great in conference play - averaging better than 18 points per game against B1G competition. He has scored better than 20 points in five consecutive games. Ace Baldwin figures to draw the tough matchup and we’ll get to that later. Payton Sandfort and Ben Krikke also average in double figures for Iowa.

What to Watch For

  • Baldwin on the Ball

Ace Baldwin, Jr. was named this week to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watchlist. Well, we’ll be watching how he fares against the aforementioned Perkins, who has been playing at a high level of late. Meanwhile, with Kanye Clary still out/questionable, there will be pressure on Ace to lead the Lion offense.

  • A Full Game

The cliche of cliches in the basketball writing world is the story of a game being a tale of two halves. But honestly, it sort of has been for Penn State. They’ve been great in games like Ohio State and Indiana in coming away with wins. But, it’s hard to shake just how bad Penn State was in the last 20 minutes against Minnesota. Could we please see more consistency from Penn State in a very winnable game on Thursday night?

  • Transition

According to Synergy Sports, Penn State is a poor offensive transition team, but excellent at stopping teams in transition. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes are categorized as excellent with transition defense, but are below average in transition defense. So, you got it - the game comes down to who wins that battle.

Prediction

It’s a big week in Penn State vs. Iowa athletics - the Lions get the win here.

Penn State 74, Iowa 68