Game Preview: Men’s Basketball vs. Northwestern
Host Jacob Cheris and analysts Dale Ostrander and Adam Babetski preview Penn State’s upcoming game vs the Northwestern Wildcats.
For the final time in the regular season, the No. 20 Penn State Nittany Lions (21-9, 11-8) will take the court, as they play the Northwestern Wildcats (7-22, 2-17). Both teams are coming into this game having not playing their best basketball, as the Nittany Lions have lost four of their last five and the Wildcats have lost 13 of their last 14. However, something has got to give as one of these teams will end the regular season with a win.
Penn State, despite its recent struggles, is still having a very good season. Led by senior forward Lamar Stevens, the Nittany Lions find themselves safely in the NCAA Tournament and currently sit in sixth place in the conference. This also means the Nittany Lions will have a bye in the Big Ten tournament, which is unfamiliar territory for this team.
Penn State also gets back sophomore guard Myreon Jones, who missed a fair amount of time due to an illness. Second, on the team in scoring (averaging 13.8 points per game), getting Jones back is huge for the Nittany Lions as they enter March. Jones had 16 points in his return to the starting lineup against Michigan State on Tuesday. He should resume his big role for the Nittany Lions in this game against Northwestern.
Meanwhile, for the Wildcats, it has been a very long season up in Evansville, Illinois. Northwestern has only two wins in conference play, both of which were against fellow bottom-feeder Nebraska. The biggest problem for Northwestern has been scoring. Averaging only 64.7 points per game, this does not play well for them as the Nittany Lions are very strong on defense.
For the Wildcats, someone who could play a big role in a potential upset could be Pat Spencer. The former lacrosse star from Loyola University has been one of the best players for head coach Chris Collins this season. Spencer is second on the team in points (10.5 points per game), first in assists (3.9 assists per game) and first in steals (0.8 steals per game). His presence could be big for the Wildcats, who hope to get a win on their senior day.
Northwestern will most likely give a good effort out of the gate as it attempts to send its seniors off with an impressive upset victory. However, Penn State will be too much to handle and will get a good number of transition points off of plenty Northwestern turnovers in the second half.
Final Score: Penn State 81, Northwestern 63
Mitch Broder is a sophomore majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.