Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State Basketball Preview: Nittany Lions Host No. 16 Iowa

Game: 16 Iowa (18-6, 7-4 Big Ten) at Penn State  (13-12, 4-8 Big Ten)

Date: February 15, 2014

Time: 1:00 p.m. EST


The Penn State Nittany Lions got back into the win column on Wednesday night with a dramatic comeback victory on the road at Indiana. That win ended a two-game skid that followed a three-game winning streak. The Nittany Lions will look to keep the momentum going, but have to go up against a tough, nationally ranked opponent in the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes enter the contest ranked No. 16 in the nation and our coming off a blowout victory last Saturday against No. 10 Michigan.

This is the only meeting between the two schools this season.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The Nittany Lions have been very inconsistent this season, looking great at times while also finding ways to lose games late. On Wednesday at Indiana, Penn State struggled for much of the game and trailed by 11 points with just over three minutes remaining. However, the Nittany Lions dug deep and battled back, winning the game by a single point on a Tim Frazier layup in the final seconds.

Frazier, the fifth-year senior point guard, has had a fantastic season. He leads the Big Ten in assists per game and has been a reliable source of production for the Nittany Lions. He is second on the team in points (16.1 PPG) , first in assists (6.0 APG), and first in steals (1.7 SPG). His 4.6 rebounds per game is tied for third on the team. Frazier is a complete player who plays a major role in the success of the team.

Penn State’s leading scorer this year is D.J. Newbill, who is fourth in the Big Ten with 17.2 points a game. Penn State has the luxury of sporting one of the best backcourts in the nation and relies heavily on its top two scorers. Newbill, who had been on a tear lately, really struggled to find his shot against the Hoosiers on Wednesday. He managed just seven points in that contest.

The Nittany Lions get most of their production from the backcourt. However, they are most successful when the forwards get involved down low. The combination of Donovon Jack, Ross Travis and Brandon Taylor will look to make an impact Saturday against the Hawkeyes. Travis, who’s fourth in the conference in rebounding, will be a key in this one, as the Hawkeyes rank third in the country in rebounding.

Iowa is a great offensive team, ranking eight in the nation with 83.7 points a game and 44th in field goal percentage, shooting 47 percent. The Hawkeyes are led on offense by Roy Devyn Marble, who averages 16.5 points a game.  The talented guard put up 26 points the last time he took the floor.

Feb 8, 2014; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard-forward Aaron White (30) attempts a shot over Michigan Wolverine guard Nik Stauskas (11) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa defeated Michigan 85-67. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Under the basket is where Iowa is so tough and gives opposing teams trouble. Aaron White is second on the team in scoring (13.2 PPG) and controls the glass, grabbing 6.5 boards a game. When White’s not grabbing the board, it’s Melsahn Basabe and Gabriel Olaseni who hit the glass hard.

Iowa has had a week layoff since beating Michigan at home. The Hawkeyes will look to come out strong on the road and quiet the Bryce Jordan Center crowd.This will be a tough matchup for the Nittany Lions, especially considering that as a team, they usually struggle in the rebounding department. Iowa has shown an ability to put up a lot of points, meaning that Penn State is going to have to try to shut down the Hawkeye shooters while also knocking down shots on the offensive side of the floor.

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Tags: Basketball D.J. Newbill Penn State Nittany Lions Ross Travis Tim Frazier

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