Game Preview: Penn State vs. Northwestern
Jake Starr, Andre Magaro, Preston Shoemaker and Matt McClure review Penn State's Monday night showdown with Northwestern. Tune in for keys to the game and predictions:
Penn State Men’s Basketball is still seeking its first conference win of the season, as the team prepares to travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on the Northwestern Wildcats Monday.
Last Time Out
Penn State has lost its last eight games and remain winless in conference play. The Nittany Lions are coming off a home overtime loss to Purdue 99-90, which would have been a huge upset had Penn State won.
Northwestern has lost its last two games to the Wisconsin Badgers and then the Maryland Terrapins. This is a game Penn State really wants to win as the Wildcats are on of the weaker teams in the Big Ten.
At this point, being 0-10 in conference play, Penn State has nothing to lose and should be playing fearlessly. The Nittany Lions have a strong chance at beating Northwestern if they can learn from their mistakes they made at home against a talented Purdue team.
Keys to the Game
The Nittany Lions have a shot at winning this game if Mike Watkins can convert from the foul line as well as win his matchup with Northwestern big-man Dererk Pardon, who leads the team in rebounds with 7.8 per game. Wildcat senior forward Vic Law is Northwestern’s leading scorer, and if Penn State’s Josh Reeves puts the clamps on him and keeps him below the 15 point range, the Nittany Lions have a good chance at their first conference win.
Penn State has to do a much better job defending isolation plays off of screens and defending the 3-point line after giving up 38 points to Purdue guard Carsen Edwards. The Nittany Lions must also not take bad shots and shoot better as a team which mostly includes shot selection and moving the basketball.
If Penn State comes away with the win this game, it will likely be because sharpshooters getting hot. Both Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton shot 4 of 9 from deep, and if matched the Nittany Lions have a strong chance, that is, if Northwestern’s point guard doesn’t explode for 38.
One thing Penn State can’t afford is to let Lamar Stevens try to do too much in terms of taking bad shots late in the shot clock. There is no issue running the offense through him, but if the versatile forward happens to be cold, then the ball must end up in the hands of somebody who is not.
Will the Northwestern Wildcats be the first Big Ten team to fall to Penn State? It is quite possible, but Penn State needs everything to go right in addition to a strong shooting night as the game will be played away from home.
This game should be a close, hard-fought game all the way through with both teams not desiring to be a bottom-feeder in the Big Ten.
David Green is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.