Penn State–Northwestern Preview
Well here we go again; this season is something like banging your head against the wall at the rate of two or three times a week. I think that makes it more painful, I’d rather get beat up all at once rather than a Chinese water torture type of season. My personal torture preferences aside tonight’s game is a must win for Northwestern, after starting 10-1 the Wildcats have had rougher going in the Big Ten but are still on the bubble with a 6-7 record in the Big Ten (17-8 overall). A loss tonight would be devastating to the Wildcats chances at getting to dance, (think Penn State-Iowa Big Ten Tournament type loss.)
So before I give you too many reasons to feel like you should be rooting for Northwestern, let me remind you of the current plight of Penn State basketball. We haven’t won a game folks, in quite sometime actually, so lets talk about what it is going to take to win.
John Shurna has gone from a nobody to one of the top 10 players in the Big Ten. Averaging 17.9 PPG it is going to take a good defensive effort to keep him contained. Northwestern shoots the three like it is their job at a clip of 36% and can play inside and out. If the Lions are going to get it done tonight it is going to take good defense and a balanced offense. This isn’t your mothers Northwestern, they can play ball, so you won’t be able to walk into their gym and expect to come away with the win.
We’re not talking too insightful things right now, basics will get you’re the W. Penn State was out rebounding teams all season, and now they’ve gotten soft on the glass, so if you turn that around you’ve got a few more second chance points. For the most part the Lions have fixed their epic turnover woes, but in most basketball circles, keeping possession of the ball isn’t frowned upon, so look for that to be a key factor in the game.
Expect a smaller starting 5, Battle, Frazier, Babb, DJ, and Jones should get the nod, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see that get mixed up a little bit; even more so if Ott can fight through his shoulder injury.
At this point…I’m just praying.