Preview: Penn State Hosts No. 17 Purdue Looking for First Conference Victory

By Matt de Bear on January 31, 2019 at 9:50 am
Jan 15, 2019; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3) races up the court after a steal in the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the 2nd half at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

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Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue Boilermakers
14-6 (7-2 Big Ten)
Roster / Schedule
7:00 p.m. ET - Thursday, January 31
Bryce Jordan Center
State College, Pennsylvania
Watch Info: FS1/Fox Sports Go
KenPom Rank: 9
Vegas Line: Purdue -6

It doesn't take a long look at the schedule to realize that things are not exactly looking up for the Penn State basketball program. After blowing yet another second half lead, this time at home to Rutgers on Saturday, the Nittany Lions are approaching the halfway mark of the Big Ten slate without a win in the league. 

Pat Chambers and co. will look to right the ship tonight against a Purdue team playing their best basketball of the season. Matt Painter's club has won eight of their last nine, including an impressive performance at home on Sunday to hand Michigan State their first Big Ten lost of the season.

Projected Starters
Penn State   Purdue
Jamari Wheeler - 6'1" - Soph. 1 Carsen Edwards - 6'1" - Jr.
Myles Dread - 6'4" - Fr. 2 Ryan Cline - 6'6" - Sr.
Josh Reaves - 6'4" - Sr. 3 Nojel Eastern - 6'6" - So.
Lamar Stevens - 6'8" - Jr. 4 Grady Eifert - 6'6" - Sr.
Mike Watkins - 6'9" - RS Jr. 5 Trevion Williams - 6'9" - Fr.

Scouting Report

The Boilermakers go as star guard Carsen Edwards go. The junior averages over 24 points per game, sixth best in the nation, and the best in the Big Ten by over five points per game. The Nittany Lions will have their hands full in dealing with him on both ends of the floor. Keep an eye on his senior backcourt mate, Ryan Cline. The big guard and Lion-killer is shooting over 42 percent from three this season, and averages over 12 points per game.

Purdue's latest big man up front, 7'3" sophomore Matt Haarms out of the Netherlands, does not start for Matt Painter, but typically plays significant minutes. He averages nearly eight points and five boards, and is sixth in the conference with 1.6 blocks per game. 

If Penn State is going to have a shot to pull the upset, it will start with their own three point shooting. The Boilermakers allow a Big Ten worst 36.8 percent from beyond the arc, and are just 10th best overall in the league allowing 68 points per game, tied with the Nittany Lions. Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread have come on as of late, they'll need to continue their hot shooting on Thursday.

Prediction

The Nittany Lions usually play Purdue tough at home, so yet another close game would not be a surprise at all. It is, however, tough to see how Penn State can slow down Edwards and a pretty potent Boilermaker offense enough to get in the Big Ten win column. Purdue 74, Penn State 68.

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