Last spring, Purdue was Penn State's last home opponent of the Big Ten year. When the Boilermakers invade the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday night at 6:30, however, they'll be the Nittany Lions' first home conference foe of the 2010-2011 season.
Penn State enters the game coming off a loss at Michigan on Sunday evening and the Lions have lost three of their last four. While top scorers Talor Battle, David Jackson and Jeff Brooks have played well in the first two conference games of the season, in which the Lions are 1-1 thanks to a win at Indiana last week, Penn State's role players have struggled in the span, scoring only 12 of 69 points in Bloomington and 7 of 69 in Ann Arbor.
Purdue rides an eight game winning streak into the Jordan Center including wins in the Boilermakers' first two conference games of the season against Michigan and Northwestern. Purdue averaged 81 points in those victories, up roughly five points from the team's average on the season.
Keys to the game after the jump.
When Penn State Has The Ball
- Penn State needs to distribute its scoring a significantly more than it has lately. The Lions can't get by with only three players doing an overwhelming amount of the scoring. Starters Tim Frazier and Andrew Jones need to contribute more and bench players Billy Oliver and Cammeron Woodyard need to be sharper.
- Purdue should look to close down on one of Penn State's three big scorers and force a role player or two to win the game for the Lions.
When Purdue Has The Ball
- The Boilermakers would do well to attack Brooks and Jackson to see if they can get one of them into foul trouble. Penn State has gotten blown out in all three games that Jeff Brooks has needed to come off the floor with early fouls and if Purdue can force him into fouling by driving at him off the tip, it'll be in good position to win comfortably.
- Penn State kept things close in its last game with Purdue by holding E'Twaun Moore to nine points. If the Lions can focus on shutting he, averaging just over 20 points per game, or JaJuan Johnson, averaging just under 20 a contest, down, they could put them in position to pull the upset.
Things were tough for the Boilermakers last spring when they traveled to Happy Valley without Robbie Hummel available. While Purdue clearly has the edge in talent, Penn State could very well keep things tight again if it clamps down on one of Purdue's big scorers. Ultimately, though, it'll probably be a little too hard for a Penn State team that struggled defensively against Michigan to keep those players from getting their points, though, so the Boilermakers should be in good shape in this one.