Game Info / How to Watch
When? Tuesday, 12/4//18 7:00 P.M., Bryce Jordan Center
Vegas? Penn State -2.5
KenPom Projection? Penn State by 2, 69-67
Indiana’s last trip to Penn State was an emotional roller coaster. On one spectrum, OG Anunoby’s career at Indiana came to an end just before halftime. An hour later, Indiana was walking off the floor in euphoria after a James Blackmon Jr. three-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.
Given Indiana’s current injury criss, they certainly can’t afford that aspect of a whirlwind. And considering how poorly most the shooters for Indiana have been from range tonight, I wouldn’t expect that aspect.
Road conference games are always tough regardless the foe. With Penn State inside the top 40 in KenPom, this could be Indiana’s first KenPom Tier A win of the season (A game in Tier A represents a top 50 opponent adjusting for the location of the game, and Tier B is the same concept for a top 100 opponent).
Onto the numbers
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|INDIANA (#30 adj. offense)||58.3 (7th)||21.1 (269th)||30.7 (125th)||39.0 (90th)|
|PENN STATE (#7 adj. defense)||47.9 (98th)||22.1 (50th)||29.1 (186th)||33.9 (172nd)|
|PENN STATE (#100 adj. offense)||48.7 (233rd)||18.6 (148th)||32.0 (93rd)||29.6 (266th)|
|INDIANA (#30 adj. defense)||46.7 (69th)||23.0 (32nd)||26.5 (98th)||27.6 (51st)|
You’ve seen the stats plenty. We’ll talk about them at a later game. What Indiana got back on Sunday was depth. Devonte Green and Zach McRoberts each played at least 19 minutes. How good or bad they played is really irrelevant. They’re two able-bodied, veteran rotation players that can hang in Big Ten play and add more variety to the team. McRoberts brings his defense and the incalculable grit while Green can give Indiana spacing.
With Indiana in the midst of a tough stretch ahead of the holidays, having bodies in and of itself is a big bonus. Which also makes Juwan Morgan’s looming injury all the more worrying.
Penn State is no stranger to injuries. They’re welcoming back Mike Watkins into the rotation in the front court. Even without him in the lineup, the Lions have a top-10 defense in the nation. The best effective field goal percentage allowed by Penn State was 54.0 percent in the win over Virginia Tech. Indiana’s season average is 58.3 percent.
They’re not spectacular at forcing turnovers. In fact, they excel best at defending the three-point line, a factor that doesn’t really matter considering Indiana is already 100th in the league in three-point shooting.
Lamar Stevens does the heavy-lifting in the offense for Penn State. He shoots an average of 18 times per game, more than the next two players combined. He also scores a lot, averaging 22.4 points per game. If Morgan is healthy, he’ll likely be matched up against Stevens, who draws 6.5 fouls per game. Not a great omen given Morgan’s prowess for fouling.
Penn State does rely heavily on a pair of freshman guards in Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread. Indiana fans have first-hand experience of the up-and-down ride of relying on freshmen guards. The duo shoots an average of 11 threes per game and neither are particularly great from long range, Bolton shooting 34.3 percent and Dread shooting 30.0 percent.
Josh Reaves is the lone regular senior contributor for the Lions, ranking second in scoring at 11.7 points per game.
Things To Watch
- Juwan Morgan - Healthy or not, Juwan Morgan is going to be the focus of the night. First off, his availability will be key for the Hoosiers. If healthy, he’ll have his hands full with the likely assignment of Stevens. Staying out of foul trouble and continuing his strong play defensively will be vital.
- Turnovers - Not much detail needed here. They’re absolutely lethal to any chance of winning, especially on the road.
- Tempo - The Hoosiers are no Runnin’ Rebels but Penn State’s adjusted tempo is 300th in the nation. If Indiana can push the pace and speed the game up, it will likely pay dividends, particularly against a young backcourt.
My prediction largely hinges on Juwan Morgan being healthy. For the sake of optimism, I’ll say he will be. Indiana 71, Penn State 65