Penn State Men’s Basketball vs. No. 3 Purdue Game Preview

Story posted January 8, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Austin Groft

Coach Matt Painter heads to State College to take on Penn State and his former associate coach Micah Shrewsberry. This is Painter’s first ever matchup against a former assistant coach on the other sidelines.

Penn State is on a two-game winning streak in the Big Ten after a 22-day layoff with wins over Indiana and Northwestern.

The break has benefitted the Nittany Lions. Guard Jalen Pickett mentioned it gave them more time to work on themselves and build team chemistry.

Both Pickett and Seth Lundy combined for 41 of Penn State’s 74 points in the win over Northwestern. Pickett, who transferred from Siena College heading into this campaign is averaging 17 points in the last five games.

After seeing some minutes against Michigan State, forward Greg Lee has started in the past two games and is the missing piece Penn State needed at the beginning of the season. He is averaging 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds.

Lee brings extra height in the interior and is another perimeter offensive threat. While forward Jalanni White brings a lot of energy and length, he doesn’t have the scoring abilities that Lee provides.

The rebounding battle has been a big reason for Penn State’s success outrebounding Northwestern and Indiana by 10+ rebounds. This will be tough to duplicate against Purdue who is ranked third in the nation with a rebound margin of +13.8.

If Penn State wants to win this game, they will have to do it just like their previous wins. They need to play gritty defense against the fourth-best scoring offense in the nation.

Penn State will look to follow a similar game plan that allowed Wisconsin to be successful. Just like the Badgers, Penn State has a team filled with veteran players who have the experience to challenge highly ranked opponents.

Scouting Purdue

There is no question that the Boilermakers have a talented roster. Coming into the season they were one of the favorites to win the Big Ten since they returned their top eight leading scorers from last season.

Star players Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey were all named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list on Jan. 5, making them the only school with three players named.

Their offense has been impressive to watch and is arguably one of the best in the nation. They lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage, three-point percentage and assists.

Edey and Williams allow the Boilermakers to apply constant pressure inside the paint. Both are talented scorers that give them an interior presence the entire game that other teams across the nation can’t replicate.

Although Edey and Williams attract a lot of attention, the best player on Purdue is Jaden Ivey. He averages 16.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists a game.

Ivey has already improved his game vastly from last season and is looking to be a top-five pick in the 2021-22 NBA draft. Penn State will need to prevent him from driving into the lane since he creates great opportunities for his other teammates.


Penn State is 1-25 all-time against teams ranked in the top three of the AP Poll. However, three of Purdue’s last four wins in Happy Valley have been tough overtime wins.

Shrewsberry will have an elite scouting report prepared to play against a team he had a significant role with in the past. Penn State’s video coordinator Grady Eifert also spent the previous two years with Purdue as a graduate assistant.

The only way this game stays close is if Penn State can control the tempo and prevent Purdue from exploding on big runs. Expect Shrewsberry to have his guys ready to put up a battle in a close game. 

Purdue 72, Penn State 70

Austin Groft is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email