Penn State tries to keep postseason hopes alive versus Northwestern

Story posted March 1, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

Penn State Men’s Basketball travels to Evanston to face off with the Wildcats of Northwestern in a game with huge Big Ten Tournament implications. 

The Nittany Lions enter the game with a 17-12 record overall and 8-10 in conference play. The Wildcats host the blue and white with a record of 20-9 overall and 11-7 in conference play.

Both teams are coming off a loss in their last contest with the Nittany Lions suffering a heartbreaking home loss to Rutgers and the Wildcats getting beat down by a streaking Maryland team.

Currently, Penn State sits 11th in the Big Ten standings, one spot outside of receiving a bye in the first round of the conference tournament.

On the other hand, Northwestern sits 4th in the standings and will receive a bye in at least the first round.

Both teams have a lot on the line as Penn State looks to keep their March Madness hopes alive and improve their seeding in the conference tournament while Northwestern looks to lock up the second seed in the conference and get the double bye.

The Wildcats are in a three-way tie for the second seed with Maryland and Michigan. Iowa and Indiana are creeping behind them as they sit just a half-game behind the purple and white.

The Nittany Lions sit in a tie for 10th with Wisconsin and are two games behind Rutgers, Michigan State and Illinois for the 7th seed.

Each side will look to finish their season strong and secure a stronger spot not only in conference play but in the March Madness tournament as well.

Taking a look at the matchups from last season, Penn State swept the season series first winning in Evanston 74-70 and then again in University Park 67-60.

In the first contest last season, star guards Boo Buie and Jalen Pickett put on a show for their respective sides.

Buie dropped a smooth 22 points on five made three-pointers while Pickett pitched in an efficient 18 points. The star of the game though was Seth Lundy who dropped 23 points and buried five triples.

This year, the two teams will only meet one time in Evanston and the game couldn’t mean more. Penn State has fared well in recent memory against Northwestern and has won six of the last seven meetings.
The Wildcats lost multiple key players from last year’s roster, but have proved the doubters wrong and find themselves in a very good spot.

They have some huge wins against Purdue and Indiana including a season sweep of the Hoosiers.

The purple and white were riding a five-game winning streak before dropping their last two on the road against Illinois and Maryland.

Buie continues to dominate opposing teams and leads the Wildcats with 17.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

Northwestern is 13-4 at home and has displayed a key ability to respond after losses. The Wildcats pose a tough task for any team in the Big Ten.

Penn State failed to take advantage of a Quad-1 win opportunity against Rutgers at home and now must get a road win against Northwestern.

The Nittany Lions were on a three-game win streak before this loss and now look to rebound. The task will be difficult as they struggle on the road with a record of 3-7.

The second-half struggles have doomed the Nittany Lions and they will need to play a strong, complete 40 minutes of play to come out on top.

Jalen Pickett will be the key as he has been all year for Penn State. He is making a case to be an All-American, averaging 18.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.

A huge matchup awaits these two teams with big implications on the line. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. on Big Ten Network.

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