In a more typical Big Ten season, a trip to Minnesota might not go well for even the best Indiana squads, and a home contest against Penn State the cure for any ails.
But this is no ordinary Big Ten race, and the second place Nittany Lions arrive in Bloomington ranked No. 9 and confident.
Meanwhile IU managed to right the ship a bit in Minneapolis on Wednesday, and now they will look to establish momentum down the home stretch of the regular season and secure an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoosiers will try to knock off a fifth ranked opponent in Bloomington on Sunday. But in order to get that done IU will have to defeat a Penn State club that beat them by 15 points just three weeks ago.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
No. 9 Penn State (20-6, 10-5) at Indiana (17-9, 7-8)
- Tip time: Sunday / Noon ET
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (17,222), Bloomington, Ind.
- Television: FS1 (Stream)
- Series: Indiana leads 39-12 (Last meeting: Penn State won 64-49, 1/29/20)
- Point Spread: Vegas likes IU by around 1 point. KenPom likes PSU by 1.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Penn State Statistical Leaders
- Lamar Stevens (F) 17.5 ppg
- Myreon Jones (G) 14.1 ppg
- Mike Watkins (F) 7.9 rpg
- Lamar Stevens (F) 6.8 rpg
- Jamari Wheeler (G) 3.3 apg
- Myreon Jones (G) 3.0 apg
- Jamari Wheeler (G) 1.6 spg
- Mike Watkins (F) 2.5 bpg
Highlights from the first meeting
A look at KenPom No. 16 Penn State’s noteworthy metrics
Role reversal. A Pat Chambers coached team typically brings to mind high level defense more so than the offense. The defense is still respectable, but Penn State has an offense that ranks No. 3 in Big Ten games in adjusted efficiency and has really fueled the Nittany Lions. PSU topped the 70-point mark in every game during its recent eight game winning streak except for its win over IU.
But not everything is as it seems. Penn State leads the league in steal percentage which leads to a lot of live ball situations going the other way. PSU had 15 steals in the first meeting against the Hoosiers.
Get to the line. You likely know by now that IU emphasizes getting to the free throw line as an important part of its offense. Penn State allows free throws more than any other team in the Big Ten during league games, and a league high 20.8 percent of the points the Nittany Lions allow come from the stripe. IU had just 10 free throw attempts at Penn State three weeks ago.
No giveaways. At 14.2 percent, Penn State has the second best turnover percentage in the Big Ten during league games. Indiana is not good at forcing turnovers, and PSU coughed up the ball just seven times when the teams met in January. A high number of possessions helped the Nittany Lions overcome shooting only 38 percent from the field.
Road warriors. It’s not an advanced metric, but it is worth noting that Penn State has won some very difficult Big Ten road games including at Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions are unlikely to be phased by the crowd in Bloomington.
Top 100 player rankings:
- Lamar Stevens — percent of possessions (No. 64), fouls drawn (No. 52)
- Mike Watkins — offensive and defensive rebounding percentage (No. 92 / No. 23), block percentage (No. 15)
- John Harrar — offensive rating (No. 16), offensive rebounding percentage (No. 57), two-point percentage (No. 27)
- Indiana forwards Jerome Hunter and Race Thompson did not play in the first meeting.
- Former Hoosier Curtis Jones will be in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for a game for the first time since a Nov. 29, 2017 Indiana contest against Duke.
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