Penn State at Indiana Preview: Lions Head to Bloomington Desperate for a Win

By Matthew Filipovits on December 30, 2020 at 9:19 am
Indiana Basketball
© Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
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Indiana Hoosiers
5-4 (0-2 B1G)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
8:30 p.m. EST – Wednesday, Dec. 30
Assembly Hall 
Bloomington, IN
Watch Info: BTN | GAMETRACKER
KenPom Rank: 23
Read: Cockburn, Dosunmu Too Much for PSU

The Nittany Lions (3-3, 0-2) are back on the court Wednesday for just the third game in the past 18 days. They’ll face an Indiana Hoosiers squad (5-4, 0-2) that’s also looking to right the ship in Big Ten play. The Lions and Hoosiers split the series last season and the Nittany Lions have not won in Assembly Hall since 2014.

Penn State was no match for Illinois’ dynamic duo of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, with the pair combining for 53 points in the Illini’s rout of Penn State last week. It was clear the team had some rust to shake off after 10 days without a game, something they’ll need to avoid happening again after another long break.

Indiana is already a battle-tested team, with three of their four losses coming against Top-25 teams (Texas, Florida State, Illinois).

Projected Starters
Penn State INdiana
G Jamari Wheeler - 6'1" - Sr. G Aljami Durham - 6'4" - Sr.
G Myreon Jones - 6'3" - Jr. G Armaan Franklin - 6'4" - So.
G Izaiah Brockington - 6'4" - Jr. G Trey Galloway - 6'4" - Fr.
F Seth Lundy - 6'6" - So. F Race Thompson - 6'8" - Jr.
F John Harrar - 6'9" -  Sr. F Trayce Jacskson-Davis - 6'9" - So.

scouting report

Trayce Jackson-Davis is the focal point for the Hoosiers, with the sophomore leading the way in points, rebounds, and blocks. At 6’9, he’s not the tallest big man the Lions have faced this year, but he’s one of the best frontcourt players in the conference. He does turn it over a good bit, which will make it tempting to go after the ball, but John Harrar needs to stay out of foul trouble or Jackson-Davis could feast like some other opposing bigs have when No. 21 heads to the bench. Redshirt junior Race Thompson will join him in the frontcourt, with the Minnesota native shooting a respectable 58% from the floor.

Armaan Franklin is the biggest threat to hit from deep, shooting 50% from beyond the arc this season. He also leads the Hoosiers in steals and can get hot in a hurry. Aljami Durham does a great job running point and has an assist-turnover ratio of nearly 3:1. He’s only connected on eight of his 31 three-point attempts, but he’ll knock them down if you give him room. Freshman Trey Galloway or junior Rob Phinisse will round out the starting five. While Phinisse is only 6’1, he plays a physical brand of basketball and isn’t afraid to go up against bigger competition. Galloway got the start in place of Phinisse against Illinois and played 32 minutes. It will be interesting to see which way Archie Miller goes against the smaller Lions.

Jerome Hunter is the second guy off the bench, but only averages 15 minutes each game. Miller really leans on six guys to handle the bulk of minutes. That could play to Penn State's favor if the game is up-tempo or they can get the Hoosiers in foul trouble.

keys to the game

  • Get Lundy going. Seth Lundy has gone quiet after starting the season red hot. The sophomore is commanding a lot of attention and that’s not going to stop any time soon. Penn State is at it’s best when the offense runs through Lundy, so Jim Ferry needs to make sure he’s doing everything he can to get him open looks.
  • Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. The Nittany Lions are a not big team, so they need to play a fast and loose brand of basketball when they draw an unfavorable matchup. Jamari Wheeler needs to set the tone defensively and force the Hoosiers into some turnovers and win this game by running up and down the floor. If the Hoosiers are able to settle in, this one could get ugly.
  • Rotate the bigs. John Harrar is a fine big and has done more than anybody has asked of him so far this season, but he needs help. Trent Buttrick and Abdou Tsimbila have proven they can handle this level of competition, so Jim Ferry needs to be comfortable playing them. Harrar cannot be on the bench in foul trouble if this is a close one late, so Buttrick and Tsimbila both need to be ready to play a lot of minutes.

prediction

Penn State isn’t as bad as their performance last time on the court and they’ll prove that tonight. Seth Lundy is going to find his stroke and light it up from deep, with Myreon Jones and Izaiah Brockington also getting into double-figures. Myles Dread hits a three late to put this one of reach and the Lions get back in the win column. Penn State 77, Indiana 70

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