Penn State Nittany Lions
Current record: 12-19 (4-14)
Current RPI: 159 (IU is #12)
Current Sagarin: 127 (IU is #9)
Current Pomeroy: 123 (IU is #10)
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 30-9 (27-9 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: 1/22/2012 (73-54 in Bloomington)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: approximately 2 p.m. Thursday, BTN
Blogs: Black Shoe Diaries, Linebacker U, Nittany White Out
Prior Big Ten Tournament meetings: 2003 (IU 77, PSU 49 in Chicago); 2009 (PSU 66, IU 51 in Indy); 2011 (PSI 61, IU 55 in Indy)
Indiana finished the regular season on a tear, winning 7 of 8, and now the Hoosiers turn to an event that has been the bane of their existence: the Big Ten Tournament. This is the 15th Big Ten Tournament, and IU (along with Penn State, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Nebraska) has never won the event. The Hoosiers have reached the weekend, i.e. the semifinals, only four times, and have played for the title only once, when they lost as the 4 seed to 6-seeded Iowa. While that was IU's best performance, it was one of six times that IU has been eliminated by a lower seed. IU has not won a Big Ten Tournament game of any sort since 2006. While I wish, of course, that IU had won a couple more games to move into a tie for the Big Ten title, ultimately I'm not all that broken up that the Hoosiers didn't get a bye. Penn State should provide a good opportunity to get the BTT monkey off our back.
Most of us, for the last couple of weeks, had been rooting for Nebraska to drop to the #12 seed for a couple of reasons. First, playing the Cornhuskers would have allowed IU to avenge the collapse in Lincoln. Second, wins over Nebraska and Wisconsin would have allowed IU to beat every other Big Ten team in a single season for the first time since 1993. That won't happen, barring a miracle run to the title game by IU and NU, but IU does have an opportunity for the rare three game sweep of a Big Ten opponent. Given IU's struggles in this event, it's no big surprise that IU has done such a thing only twice: in 1976, when IU beat Michigan twice in the regular season and then in the NCAA title game, and in 1998, when IU beat Ohio State twice and then in the 6/11 game of the inaugural Big Ten Tournament. One of the indignities of the last three years is that in 2009, Penn State became the first team to ever beat IU three times in a season. Getting a small measure of revenge for that would be nice.
Penn State showed glimmers over the course of the season, most notably with its 20-point beatdown of Purdue in January and a neutral court win over South Florida in November, but in the end, the Nittany Lions returned to earth after earning their first NCAA bid in 10 years last season. Unfortunately for Penn State, it has gotten even rougher over the last few weeks. Penn State lost Billy Oliver and Cammeron Woodyard, both starters, to season-ending injuries. Still, other than a blowout loss at Purdue, the Nittany Lions haven't looked all that bad: they played Michigan tough last weekend, and lost by one to Northwestern the week before. On the downside, Penn State hasn't won a game away from home since they won at Boston College on November 30.
The bright spot has been Tim Frazier. Frazier, who averaged about 6 points per game in his first two seasons, has leaped to 18.6 per game. He isn't the most efficient shooter (42 percent overall, 28 percent from deep), but he shoots 6.4 free throws per game and leads the team with 6.3 assists.
Penn State played IU very tough when IU traveled to PSU in January. The Nittany Lions' season has taken a turn for the worse since then, and hopefully IU will take care of business to win its first BTT game since 2006 and to make it to Friday for the first time since 2008.