The Big Ten’s slate on Friday is a bit light, but fans do get to enjoy an intriguing matchup between Purdue and Penn State. Both teams will enter the matchup hoping to improve their postseason positioning.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue by 1
Throughout this season, both of these teams have struggled with inconsistency. Purdue was pretty underwhelming to start the season, but has gained some steam in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Penn State has alternated between great and horrible stretches. So, your opinion on what to expect out of this one could differ significantly depending on when you watched these teams play last. And that’s why it projects as a relative toss up.
For Purdue, this is a chance for the team to grab another solid road win and improve its positioning for the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. The Boilermakers have already locked up an NCAA bid and are out of the Big Ten title race, so this isn’t an all-or-nothing outing. However, a road win like this would valuable on Selection Sunday.
On the other side, Penn State still has some faint NCAA hopes, even if that’s hard to believe with the team’s underwhelming 8-12 overall record. However, it’s going to take a magical run to get there and there’s little debating that would require beating Purdue on Friday night. It’s not a likely route, but it’s on the table.
The matchup is almost certainly going to come down to the battle in the frontcourt. Purdue has a major advantage with Trevion Williams down low, so it’s going to be up to John Harrar and Trent Buttrick to slow him down. Do that and you have a chance. The good news for Nittany Lion fans is Williams has had issues staying on the floor this season. Perhaps Penn State can force him into some early foul trouble.
Fans should also keep an eye on the battle on the boards in this one. Both teams are pretty solid on the offensive boards, but Purdue has a distinct advantage in defensive rebounding. Can Purdue steal some possessions with its offensive rebounding? It could be a key stat to follow.
- Pick Against The Spread: Purdue
Record Against The Spread: 23-23-2