It’s a battle of Big Ten foes in the Hoosier State. The Penn State Nittany Lions look to spring another upset as they visit the #6 Purdue Boilermakers Sunday night. Penn State won its fourth straight as they drubbed #8 Ohio State 79-56 at home Thursday night. Purdue dropped its third in a row with a 57-53 road loss to Wisconsin Thursday night. The Boilermakers own a 35-12 lead in the all-time series between the schools and have taken the last five meetings: that includes a 74-70 overtime win on the road in the last matchup on February 21, 2017.
Penn State Nittany Lions Look to Keep Rolling
Penn State strung up their fourth straight win and their sixth victory in seven games as they hammered a top-10 team in Ohio State. The Nittany Lions, who are 19-9 overall and 9-6 in the Big Ten, look to beat another top-10 opponent in this contest. Penn State jumped all over Ohio State early, taking a 24 point lead at the half: they built the lead to 29 in the second half and didn’t let the Buckeyes closer than 16 the rest of the way. The Nittany Lions hit 48.1 percent from the field and went nine of 20 from beyond the arc while winning the rebounding battle 38-30. Tony Carr led Penn State with 30 points in the win.
The Nittany Lions have been above average offensively this season as they come in 110th in the country with 76.2 points per game. Penn State is 150th in rebounding with 35.9 boards a night and tied for 138th in assists with 14.3 per game. The Nittany Lions are well above average on the defensive end, ranking 36th in scoring defense as they give up 66 points per game. Penn State is connecting on 47.3 percent from the field as a team. The Nittany Lions drain 7.2 threes a night while shooting 37.8 percent from beyond the arc. Penn State is below average at the charity stripe as they shoot 69.4 percent from the line as a team this season. Tony Carr leads the team with 19.6 points plus 4.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. Lamar Stevens (15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds) and Mike Watkins (12.9 points, 9.5 rebounds) each are scoring in double figures, as are Josh Reaves (10.9 points, 3.3 assists) and Shep Garner (10.3 points) this season. There is a steep dropoff from that group as only Nazeer Bostick puts up more than 2.5 points a game.
Purdue Boilermakers Hope to Stop Recent Slide
Purdue was flying along with 19 straight wins and a perfect record in the Big Ten before dropping their last three games. The Boilermakers now sit 23-5 overall and 12-3 in the Big Ten, one game behind Ohio State and Michigan State for the conference lead. Purdue was tied at the half and held a six point lead with 6:32 to go before Wisconsin reeled off a 10-0 run: the Boilermakers never led again. In the contest, the Boilermakers shot 39.6 percent from the floor and went four of 17 from three point range in addition to 11 of 17 at the line. Carsen Edwards led Purdue with 22 points in the loss.
The Boilermakers come into this contest 36th in the country in scoring offense with 81.4 points per game. Purdue is tied for 170th in rebounding as they collect 35.7 boards a night and 12th as they dish out 17.4 assists per contest. The Boilermakers stand 16th in scoring defense as they give up an average of 64 points per game. Carsen Edwards leads Purdue with 17.1 points per game a night. Dakota Mathias puts up 11.7 points plus 4.4 assists per game while Vince Edwards contributes 14.9 points and 7.8 boards a night. Isaac Haas (14.9 points, 5.5 rebounds), P.J. Thompson (7.8 points) and Matt Haarms (5.3 points, 3.3 rebounds) are solid options as well. Grady Eifert and Ryan Cline are other key reserves for coach Matt Painter. Purdue is shooting 49.3 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Boilermakers average 9.6 threes a night while shooting 41.9 percent from beyond the arc. Purdue is cashing in on 74.9 percent of their attempts at the free throw line.
- Nittany Lions are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- Nittany Lions are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big Ten
- Nittany Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Sunday games
- Boilermakers are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- Boilermakers are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- Boilermakers are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big Ten
Penn State has been playing well of late with wins over Ohio State bookending both ends of this run. The NIttany Lions are still trying to push their way into the discussion for the NCAA Tournament but still has their work cut out for them. Purdue was cruising along before dropping their last three games and now has to get back on track down the stretch if they want to earn a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers are solid at home with a 14-1 mark: they should win this game outright but the Nittany Lions cover the line.
Pick: Penn State Nittany Lions +10
Talk about two teams going in different directions recently. Penn State has won six of seven with their lone loss in that stretch an eight point defeat to Michigan State on the road. Meanwhile, Purdue has dropped three straight by a combined eight points: the slump started with a one point loss to Ohio State at home. That’s the same Ohio State team that was pounded by Penn State just a couple days ago. The Boilermakers have to get things going again as they are one of four teams within two games of the top spot in the Big Ten coming into this contest.
The under is 4-0 in the Nittany Lions’ last 4 vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 5-2 in their last 7 Sunday games. Purdue has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 Sunday games, 4-0 in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record, 4-0 in their last 4 vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 12-2 in their last 14 against the Big Ten. The teams have stayed under the total in 12 of the last 14 meetings at Purdue and in 20 of the last 26 meetings overall. This one likely follows a similar trend given how the Boilermakers have scuffled for offense lately.