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Indiana Hoosiers v. Penn State Nittany Lions: the Big Ten opener (preview).

Penn State Nittany Lions
Current record: 7-4
Current RPI: 107 (IU is #167)
Current Sagarin: 118 (IU is #90)
Current Pomeroy: 85
2009-10 record: 11-20 (3-15)
2009-10 RPI: 194
2009-10 Sagarin: 131
2009-10 Pomeroy: 97

Series: IU leads 28-7 (26-7 since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1992-93)
Last Penn State win: March 12, 2009 (66-51 in Big Ten Tournament, Indianapolis)
Last IU win: 1/21/2010 (67-61 at University Park)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Big Ten Network
Blogs: Black Shoe Diaries, Linebacker U, Nittany White Out

 

Indiana opens the Big Ten season with a home game against Penn State.  The Nittany Lions have represented both ends of the spectrum for IU over the last two seasons.  In January, IU won 67-61 at Penn State.  That was IU's only true road win of the Crean era and one of only three wins away from Assembly Hall.  That was some degree of revenge for 2008-09, a season in which Penn State won at Assembly Hall for the first and only time and became the first team ever to defeat IU three times in a season. 

Penn State appeared to be turning a corner in 2008-09, when the Nittany Lions won 10 Big Ten games and finished with 27 total wins and the NIT championship.  Last season, as has been typical for Penn State, the team backslid, losing their first 12 conference games on the way to a 3-15 finish. 

The 2010-11 Nittany Lions are 7-4.  Their best win was over #62 Duquesne.  Their worst loss was in the last game, a 10-point home loss to Maine.  One of the reasons the Pomeroy rating for Penn State is so low is because of their margin of victory, or lack thereof.  All of Penn State's losses have been by at least 10 points, including a 23 point home loss to Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  As the Pomeroy profile notes, Penn State is ranked below #300 in possessions per game, and the Lions take very good care of the ball.  They also are above-average rebounders at both ends of the court.  On the negative side, Penn State hasn't shot well from behind the arc (31 percent) but their opponents are shooting 38 percent from three point range. 

 


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Talor Battle 11 35.8 6.9 15.4 45.0 2.7 7.1 38.5 4.1 5.7 71.4 0.9 4.5 5.4 2.9 2.2 0.7 0.1 1.2 20.6
Jeff Brooks 11 30.1 4.8 9.2 52.5 0.7 1.8 40.0 1.9 2.5 75.0 2.6 5.2 7.8 1.7 2.2 0.8 1.5 2.6 12.3
David Jackson 10 27.5 3.3 8.8 37.5 0.8 2.9 27.6 2.8 3.2 87.5 1.6 2.4 4.0 0.6 1.1 0.6 0.5 2.3 10.2
Taran Buie 11 15.2 2.3 6.5 34.7 0.6 2.5 25.0 0.6 1.1 58.3 0.7 1.3 2.0 0.8 0.8 0.3 0.0 1.1 5.8
Andrew Jones 11 29.8 2.5 4.8 50.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.5 52.9 2.2 3.9 6.1 0.6 1.3 0.5 0.4 2.4 5.7
Tim Frazier 11 26.6 1.5 3.6 42.5 0.1 0.6 14.3 1.3 1.9 66.7 0.8 2.4 3.2 4.3 2.4 1.3 0.1 2.2 4.5
Billy Oliver 10 19.0 1.4 3.8 36.8 0.7 2.5 28.0 0.6 0.8 75.0 1.2 0.9 2.1 0.6 1.2 0.4 0.4 3.0 4.1
Cammeron Woodyard 10 11.6 0.5 2.9 17.2 0.4 1.5 26.7 0.8 1.0 80.0 0.4 0.8 1.2 0.2 0.6 0.4 0.1 0.1 2.2
Jermaine Marshall 7 3.4 0.6 1.6 36.4 0.1 0.7 20.0 0.4 0.6 75.0 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.1 1.9 1.7
Tre Bowman 6 6.7 0.5 1.5 33.3 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.3 0.7 50.0 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.7 0.0 0.2 0.5 1.5
Steve Kirkpatrick 8 5.1 0.0 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.5 0.5 1.0 0.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.0
Jonathan Graham 1 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0


For the fourth consecutive year (at least), Talor Battle leads the way for Penn State, averaging over 20 points per game and shooting 38 percent from behind the arc.  Senior forward Jeff Brooks has emerged as a scoring thread for the first time and leads the team in rebounding.  David Jackson is a 6-7 forward who is a perimeter threat. 

It nearly goes without saying that this is a crucial game for IU.  A loss probably would foreshadow a major step back on this program's road to respectability.  Pomeroy says it's  76 percent likelihood.  We need it.