Basketball Preview: Purdue
Zach Seyko, Joe Murphy and Tommy Butler look at the conference matchup between Penn State and Purdue.
After falling to the Indiana Hoosiers 78-75 courtesy of a buzzer beater on dollar hot dog night, the Nittany Lions will look to bounce back as they travel to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers on Saturday.
Penn State is currently 11-8 overall and 3-3 in conference play.
The Blue & White have been stellar over the last few games, defeating Michigan State and No. 24 Minnesota and playing a close one with a talented Hoosier squad.
Penn State’s recent success can be attributed to head coach Pat Chambers and his magnificent finds in freshman guard Tony Carr and freshman forward Mike Watkins. Both players have made it fun to watch basketball in Happy Valley.
Chambers and his crew draw a very difficult match up with the Boilermakers in West Lafayette, IN. Purdue is ranked No. 21 and sports an offense that runs through its 6-9 sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan.
Swanigan is a player that Penn State will have trouble handling, as the beast averages 18.4 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He is also deadly behind the arc sinking 47.2 percent of his three-pointers.
In addition to Swanigan, the Boilermakers will look to their 7-2 junior center Isaac Haas to clean up the glass.
Penn State is a defensive team first, but how will the Nittany Lions neutralize one of the nation’s top forwards?
While Penn State sports a strong backcourt, its frontcourt is weak, which could allow Purdue’s best weapon to turn in an outstanding performance. Purdue’s game focuses on feeding its big men and Penn State lacks height in its rotation to combat the Boilermakers’ biggest advantage.
One player that must step up this Saturday is Watkins, who leads the team in rebounding. Watkins possesses the same size as Swanigan and will most likely be called on by Chambers to shadow the opposing center.
Watkins underperformed against Indiana, but the rest in Wednesday night’s game could play an important role with his time on the court at Purdue.
Besides limiting Swanigan, Penn State is going to have to take high percentage shots to keep pace with the Boilermakers.
Purdue converts nearly 50 percent of its attempted field goals, while Penn State makes close to 42 percent.
The Nittany Lions are carried by the impressive guard play of Carr and junior Shep Garner. The two average more than 23 points per game together and Garner produces more than a steal per game, as well.
Carr and Garner must lead the offensive attack and make a majority of their shots if they want to upset the Boilermakers.
After shooting an abysmal 14.3 percent of three-pointers against the Gophers, the Nittany Lions made key changes and knocked down 40.3 percent of their threes in the Indiana game.
The Nittany Lions are a young and inexperienced team, but they are learning quickly and adjusting to the tough opponents that the Big Ten has to offer.
Purdue is a well-rounded team that is built perfectly to exploit the frontcourt weaknesses of Penn State. The Boilermakers should not have any troubles sending Penn State home with a loss.
Purdue 80, Penn State 71
Zach Seyko is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communication arts & sciences. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.