What to Expect: Indiana vs. Penn State – Inside the Lobby

Indiana will look to avenge another regular season loss when they face Penn State today in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament at the United Center in Chicago. The Nittany Lions beat Illinois 79-76 on Thursday and Northwestern 67-65 in overtime on Friday.

Today’s game will end around 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS:

Indiana passed its first post-season test late Friday night and eliminated Maryland 70-60 in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Big Ten tournament. There is no rest for the Hoosiers as they will give a pipe in their second game in Chicago 16 hours after their first.

Penn State clinched its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2011 with a pair of wins in Chicago and the Nittany Lions are red with wins in seven of their last eight games. While it might be tempting to consider a potential fight Sunday with Purdue for the tournament title, there’s no looking past the Nittany Lions. Penn State is playing as well as any Big Ten team.

THE FIRST MEETING

Indiana’s 85-66 loss to Penn State on January 11 was one of the low points of the regular season. The loss dropped the Hoosiers to 1-4 in Big Ten play.

The Nittany Lions made 18 3-pointers in the win and shot 58.1 percent from the perimeter. Indiana was trailed by 42 on 3-pointers while the Hoosiers only made four triples.

Seth Lundy made seven 3s and finished with a game-high 25 and Andrew Funk also made seven 3s and scored 23.

Although Indiana managed to score 66 points and scored 1.02 points per possession, it was a night for its two stars.

Trayce Jackson-Davis shot 40% from the field and 60% from the free throw line. He scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, but committed four turnovers while providing four assists.

Jalen Hood-Schifino was 5 for 15 from the field and scored 11 points. At the time, he was still adjusting to his new role as primary ball handler with the injury of Xavier Johnson.

PREVIEW WITHOUT TEMPO

All stats are from conference games only and include the Big Ten’s 20 regular season games.

Penn State relies on 3-pointers as much as every team in the country but one.

According to KenPom, the Nittany Lions are scoring 43.8 of their 3-pointers, the second-highest rate in the nation. The national average is 30.9%. Indiana scores 23.1% of its points from range.

The Nittany Lions prefer a half-court game and average just 63.1 possessions in conference games, the third-lowest average in the league.

Penn State handles the ball — the Nittany Lions have the third-best turnover rate in the Big Ten — and aren’t trying to force rotations. PSU opponents are turning over just 12.5% โ€‹โ€‹of their conference possessions, the lowest rate in the league.

Penn State doesn’t plant offensive panels and sends bodies to defensive panels to limit second-chance points. The Nittany Lions have the lowest offensive rebound percentage in the Big Ten (16.7%) and the third best defensive rebound percentage (24).

The Nittany Lions also rank last in the Big Ten in free throw rate (FTA/FGA), which isn’t surprising with all the 3-pointers they attempt.

WHAT DOES IT CONSIST ON

KenPom’s projection is Indiana by two with a 58% chance of winning Hoosier on Saturday afternoon.

Indiana has several advantages in this game.

The crowd, outside of a small contingent of Nittany Lion supporters and any remaining Purdue fans, should be strongly in favor of the Hoosiers. Penn State is also playing its third game in three days against an NCAA Tournament team. For a team that relies on 3 points to win, fatigue and heavy legs can have an impact.

The Hoosiers also have a clear position advantage with Jackson-Davis, who has taken his game to another level since the loss at State College. Jackson-Davis was brilliant Friday night against Maryland, finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, three blocked shots and three steals in 38 minutes.

Indiana must be connected in coverage against Penn State’s perimeter attack to win. That wasn’t the case in Game 1 as the Nittany Lions picked Indiana apart and shot 3-pointers all night at the Bryce-Jordan Center.

(Photo credit: Penn State Athletics)

Filed in: 2023 Big Ten Tournament, Penn State Nittany Lions

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