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IU Basketball Game Day: Indiana vs. Penn State Essentials and Analytics

(UPDATE:  This game, and the remainder of the 2020 Big Ten men’s basketball tournament has been canceled.)

A lot was lost in the chaos and confusion at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

IU head coach Archie Miller secured his fist ever Big Ten Tournament win after an 89-64 triumph over Nebraska.  Indiana recorded its 20th win of the season.  And the Hoosiers likely avoided dropping out of the NCAA Tournament field by dodging a so-called “bad loss” by selection committee standards.

While nothing feels certain until the ball tips, the Big Ten Tournament is expected to continue on Thursday with no fans in the arena due to concerns about the coronavirus.  The action starts at Noon ET with a game between Rutgers and Michigan.  Indiana and Penn State will meet for the third time this season in the final game of the second round in Indianapolis.


BIG TEN TOURNAMENT GAME DAY ESSENTIALS

No. 6 Penn State (21-10, 11-9) vs. No. 11 Indiana (20-12, 9-11)

  • Tip time:  Thursday / 9:00 p.m. ET (tip-time approximate)
  • Location:  Bankers Life Fieldhouse (20,000), Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Television:  BTN (Stream) Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo
  • Series:  Indiana leads 40-12 (Last meeting: Indiana won 68-60 on 2/23/20)
  • Point Spread:  KenPom likes Penn State by 2.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Penn State Statistical Leaders

POINTS

  • Lamar Stevens (F) 17.6 ppg
  • Myreon Jones (G) 13.3 ppg

REBOUNDS

  • Mike Watkins (F) 7.6 rpg
  • Lamar Stevens (F) 6.9 rpg

ASSISTS

  • Jamari Wheeler (G) 3.2 apg
  • Myreon Jones (G) 3.0 apg

STEALS

  • Jamari Wheeler (G) 1.5 spg

BLOCKS

  • Mike Watkins (F) 2.2 bpg

Highlights from the first two meetings

A look at KenPom No. 26 Penn State’s noteworthy metrics vs. No. 34 Indiana

Foul play.  Penn State sends teams to the line more than anyone else in the league.  Free throw attempts are 33.8 percent of Nittany Lion opponent field goal attempts.  That’s the worst percentage by a Big Ten team in conference games.  19.9 percent of total points scored against Penn State have come from the foul line in league games.  That mark is No. 2 in the Big Ten.  IU got just 10 free throw attempts in the loss at Penn State, and 22 in the win in Bloomington.

Taking care of the ball.  The Nittany Lions have an impressive turnover percentage of just 14.3 percent in conference contests (that is good for No. 3 in the league) and they are No. 20 in all games nationally at 14.2 percent.  Penn State turned it over only 7 times in their win over IU at University Park, and they coughed it up 15 times in their loss at Indiana.

Uptempo style.  In terms of overall tempo, Penn State is No. 2 in the Big Ten.  Much of that stems from an offense that averages just 16.7 second possessions.  And much of that comes from a defense that creates live ball turnovers and scores in transition.  Indiana had 18 turnovers in their loss at Penn State and managed to cut that figure down to 12 in their win over the Nittany Lions a few weeks later.

I’ll take that.  With a 9.2 steal percentage, Penn State is No. 2 in Big Ten games.  Steals defined PSU’s win over IU in January as the Nittany Lions had 15 swipes, constituting an incredible 21.4 percent of Indiana’s possessions.  The Hoosiers were able to limit PSU to 6 steals in Bloomington.

Top 100 player rankings:

  • Lamar Stevens is the centerpiece of the Penn State attack, as evidenced by his No. 49 spot for possessions used and No. 76 standing for percentage of shots.  Stevens is also No. 39 is fouls drawn per 40 minutes.  He attempted 8 free throws in both meetings with IU.
  • Mike Watkins is No. 25 in defensive rebounding percentage and No. 23 in block percentage.  Watkins was suspended for Penn State’s final regular season game due to a violation of team rules, but he is expected to play on Thursday.
  • John Harrar is No. 29 in offensive rebounding percentage and No. 55 in two-point field goal percentage.
  • Jamari Wheeler is No. 87 in steal percentage.

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