Penn State Battles Northwestern in Quarterfinals of Big Ten Tournament

Story posted March 10, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

March is on inside the United Center in Chicago, Illinois and this year’s Big Ten Tournament has already made history.

For the first time ever, the lower seeds in the first five games played came out on top and advanced to the next round.

One of those teams was Penn State who defeated Illinois 79-76 in the second round. The Nittany Lions now get a second clash with the Northwestern Wildcats, a team they upset in overtime just over a week ago.

Let’s take a look at five things to watch for in this quarterfinal matchup.

Cam Wynter

Wynter has been on an absolute tear for Penn State in the last six games. He has scored double-digits in five and hit game-winning shots in two, including the one against Northwestern.

The last contest against the Wildcats boded well for the Drexel transfer as he finished with 24 points, four rebounds and five assists while drilling a season-high four triples.

He got out to another fast start in yesterday’s matchup with the Fighting Illini and chipped in eight points in his first seven minutes of action.

Wynter seemed comfortable on the court in the Windy City and finished with 18 points and five rebounds in the win.

Boo Buie vs. Jalen Pickett

The two stars have shined for their respective teams all season, and now get to battle it out on a big stage in the conference tournament.

Both players were selected to the All-Big Ten First Team by the media, with Pickett being a unanimous selection as a first-team candidate.

In the first matchup, both players performed well with Pickett notching just seven points, but dishing out 11 assists and Buie scoring 20 points and picking up eight dimes.

Buie versus Pickett will be the matchup to watch all night and fans can be sure that these two top-tier players will make a big impact in this game.

Three-Point Shooting

It was raining threes in Evanston, the first time these two teams battled it out. They combined for 25 made three-pointers with Penn State hitting 13 and Northwestern drilling 12.

Both teams caught fire early and didn’t look back. Penn State had three different players knock down four threes while Northwestern’s Brooks Barnhizer led the way and hit five himself.

The three will be key tonight as the Nittany Lions didn’t have to force triples against Illinois and only made eight, with six of them coming in the second half.

Northwestern will need to hit threes early to open up driving lanes later in the game.

Northwestern’s First Game of Big Ten Tournament

The Wildcats were able to secure the second overall seed in the tournament and earned themselves a double-bye.

This will be the first time that Northwestern plays on the court in the United Center which will be an interesting factor in this game.

They have played two games at neutral sites this year and are 1-1. The first contest was a 66-52 win over Liberty and the second, a 43-42 loss to then-No. 13 ranked Auburn.

Turnover Battle

Turnovers played a big role in the first matchup between these two on March 1. Northwestern won the battle handedly forcing 13 Nittany Lion turnovers while only committing five.

The Wildcats turned those 13 turnovers into 12 points while the Nittany Lions only found themselves with three points off turnovers.

Penn State is one of the top teams in the country in ball security this season, only committing 8.8 turnovers per game. But they have been sloppy as of late.

The Nittany Lions will need to keep their turnover count to single digits while the Wildcats will look to force 10 or more to secure the win.

Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. EST inside the United Center.

Thomas English is a second-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email