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1/31 Big Ten Preview: Iowa at Penn State

Preview all of Monday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten’s only game on the docket for Monday is a matchup in State College between the Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes. It’s an important game for both sides with some NCAA implications on the line as well.

Let’s take a look at the matchup.

Game of the Day:

-Iowa Hawkeyes at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Iowa by 3

Iowa and Penn State enter Monday’s matchup heading in different directions. While the Hawkeyes have won three of the team’s last five games, the Nittany Lions enter the matchup having lost three straight and four of the team’s last five games. Those mixed results should add some fire to Monday’s game as both sides have some real skin in the game. Iowa needs this win to continue its rise toward the top 25 and its hops of locking up an NCAA bid, while Penn State needs it to avoid the Big Ten’s cellar.

So, buckle up for some physical play.

This will be the second meeting between Iowa and Penn State this season. The first game happened just over a week ago on January 22nd in Iowa City. Iowa won the game comfortably, cruising to a 17-point game at home. However, this one will be at Penn State. As such, it seems fair to think it will be closer this time around.

On the court, the game is going to rest extensively on Penn State’s wing group. Keegan Murray roasted the Nittany Lions last time and will be expected to do the same this time around. It will be up to players like Myles Dread and Greg Lee to slow Murray down. Iowa was simply too comfortable last time offensively. Penn State needs to step up and put some pressure on Iowa’s ball handlers as well. Unfortunately, that’s going to be an uphill battle as Penn State ranks 341st in defensive turnover rate. Meanwhile, Iowa’s offense ranks second.

The battle in the paint could also be interesting here. Neither team has a great frontcourt, so it seems like an area where either team could have a big performance. John Harrar should be the player to watch. If Penn State’s going to win, it seems like he’ll need a big performance.

All told, this looks like an Iowa win. Penn State fans should hope for a rough shooting performance to keep things sloppy.

  • Pick: Iowa