Penn State Nittany Lions
Current record: 9-7 (1-2)
Current RPI: 159 (IU is #15)
Current Sagarin: 136 (IU is #4)
Current Pomeroy: 130 (IU is #9)
2010-11 record: 19-14 (9-9), lost to Temple in first round of NCAA Tournament
2010-11 RPI: 39
2010-11 Sagarin: 49
2010-11 Pomeroy: 37
Series: IU leads 28-9 (26-7 since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1992-93)
Last Penn State win: March 10, 2011 (61-55 in Big Ten Tournament, Indianapolis)
Last IU win: 1/21/2010 (67-61 at University Park)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: noon Sunday, Big Ten Network
Blogs: Black Shoe Diaries, Linebacker U, Nittany White Out
As I said in my Michigan wrapup post, I considered writing this preview early, but something held me back. It turns out that last night's win over Purdue, not a fluky close one but a 20-point beatdown, changed the outlook for this game...maybe. Before last night, Penn State had nothing approximating a quality win. The best team Penn State had beaten was South Florida, #110 in Pomeroy, and the Nittany Lions lost at home to #112 Mississippi and #269 Lafayette. Penn State is under the leadership of first-year coach Patrick Chambers, who beat IU in 2009-10 in Puerto Rico when he was the coach at Boston University.
As bad as Penn State has been, the defense has been reasonably respectable. PSU is #80 in the country, allowing only .98 points per possession, although a really bad offense holds the Lions back. Last night, PSU played well on both sides of the ball. The Lions shot only 43 percent from the field, but they made 10-21 three pointers. Most notably, and most concerning for IU, the Nittany Lions absolutely dominated the boards at both ends of the court. Penn State boarded 37 percent of its OR opportunities and limited Purdue to 18 percent. In a game in which Purdue missed 32 field goals, the Boilermakers had only 6 offensive boards. So, while IU will remain heavily favored in this game, PSU's rebounding lines up nicely with one of IU's relative weaknesses. Of course, Penn State's three point flurry against Purdue is concerning as well, but was quite out of character. On the season, Penn State is in the unenviable position of being a well-below-average three point shooting team (32 percent) while taking a well-above-average number of its shots from deep (39 percent). Chambers's BU teams were heavily three point reliant as well, but actually made shots.
If there aren't a lot of familar names on there, that's because Penn State lost nearly everyone from last year's team thanks to graduation and other departures. Penn State is a work in progress, and let's hope that IU can prevent the Nittany Lions from building on the Purdue win, at least for one game.