Penn State vs Indiana Game Notes
The Penn State Nittany Lions (8-5, 0-1 Big Ten) return to Happy Valley Monday night for their Big Ten home opener against the number five ranked Indiana Hoosiers (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten). Both teams opened the conference schedule on the road; Penn State fell to Wisconsin 60-51 and the Hoosiers took care of business in Iowa City defeating the Hawkeyes 69-65.
Head coach Tom Crean had the Hoosiers sitting atop the college basketball rankings for the first six weeks of season before they were upset in a wild 88-86 overtime thriller by Butler on Dec. 15.
The experienced Indiana squad returns all five starters from last year’s Sweet 16 team. National Player of the Year candidate Cody Zeller leads the team in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg). The seven-foot sophomore anchors an offense that leads the Big Ten in scoring at just under 88 points per game.
The two teams met three times last season including the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hoosiers took all three of the contests but Penn State remained competitive throughout in the lone game played at the Bryce Jordan Center falling 88-82 on Jan. 9. In that game, Indiana connected on 16 of 24 three point attempts including a career high seven by then junior Jordan Hulls.
Now a senior, Hulls has served as a thorn in the side of the Nittany Lions in his first three seasons at Indiana. Hulls is averaging 13.7 points in seven career games against Penn State including a career-high 28 in the Jan. 9 meeting at the BJC last season. The Hoosiers this season have not relied heavily on the three point shot, and at 51% Hulls is the premier threat from behind the arc for Indiana.
Pat Chambers has received unexpected contributions as of lately from senior forward Sasa Borovnjak. Beginning with the 80-76 OT victory over Delaware State on Dec. 15 where Borovnjak saw extended playing time because of an illness to fellow forward Jon Graham, the senior is averaging 11.7 points per game over the past four contests. With the prospects of facing All-Americans in Zeller and forward Christian Watford, Penn State will need Borovnjak to continue producing at the level he has lately.
With the loss of All-Conference point guard Tim Frazier at the beginning of the season, Penn State’s prospects when it came to the conference schedule were bleak. Experts predicted the team to go winless in what is considered to be the best conference in the land. But their performance in the conference opener against Wisconsin can serve as hope for Nittany Lions’ fans.
The Kohl Center is consistently one of the toughest places to play in college basketball and Penn State held their own in the nine-point loss. After falling behind by double digits in the second half, the Lions climbed back to cut the lead to two with 1:30 left before the Badgers eventually prevailed. Penn State was fueled by two highlight dunks by D.J. Newbill and a 19-point effort from Jermaine Marshall.
Penn State and Indiana tip off at 7p.m. Monday night from the Bryce Jordan Center. Coverage on ComRadio begins at 6:30 with the ComRadio Men’s Basketball Pre-Game Show.
Matt Lawrence is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him- e-mail email@example.com.