Jan30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Bill Carmody reacts in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State At Northwestern Hoops Preview


The Nittany Lions hit the road for the final time this season to face Northwestern.  PSU is looking for Big 10 win #2, and the first road win under Patrick Chambers. Game time is 7:00 on ESPNU.

THE LAST TIME OUT

Can’t I just write about that win against Michigan?  You guys do remember we beat Michigan, right?  That was fun.  Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis was, well, it was the opposite of fun.  It was senior day for the Gophers, and they made it known quickly it would not be 2 straight upsets for PSU.  Minnesota scored the first 16 points of the game, and held PSU without a bucket until there was less than 9 minutes on the clock.  There was a brief moment late in the first half where it felt like the Lions might get themselves back into it, but instead the home team would run of 10 of the final 12 points of the first half, ending all doubt.  Penn State looked like a team exhausted in every sense of the word, shooting just 27% from the floor, and never looking like the team that knocked off the 4th ranked team in the country just 3 days earlier.

ABOUT THE WILDCATS

Nov 27, 2012; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Bill Carmody reacts against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Wildcats will remain the only “major conference” Division 1 school to never make the NCAA Tournament, and that will remain the case this year.  Northwestern has been decimated by injuries and suspensions this season, as they limp towards the B1G finish line with just 4 wins, and now 6 straight losses, and 8 losses in their last 9 games.  However, one of those conference wins came in the Jordan Center back in January, as the Wildcats dominated PSU in a 70-54 win that really wasn’t that close.  They were already without forwards Drew Crawford (shoulder) and JerShon Cobb (academics) in that meeting, and have since lost starting guard Jared Swopshire to a knee injury.  Swopshire had 17 in that meeting, and Dave Sobolewski had 18, leading 4 Wildcats that scored in double figures.  The story for the Lions that night was a familiar one at that point in the season.  They could not make a shot on the offensive end, and could not stop anyone on the other side of the floor.  Keep an eye on Reggie Hearn, who is the leading scorer among the non-injured Wildcats at 13.5 points per game.

THE MATCHUP

It has been nearly two months since the Wildcats came into Happy Valley and handed PSU one of their worst losses of the season.  Saturday’s disaster against Minnesota aside, Penn State is a much more confident team on both ends of the floor, while the Wildcats are quite literally limping towards the finish line.  PSU still needs to put together a complete game on the road, however, and as we’ve seen all season, getting wins away from home in the Big 10 is a tall task.  With that said, I expect PSU to come out fired up after 4 days between games, and assert themselves, especially on defense.  As long as the hot better shooting continues, I think PSU gets not only their 2nd Big 10 win of the season, but gives Coach Chambers road win #1.

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Tags: Basketball Northwestern Wildcats Penn State Nittany Lions