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PSU Basketball

Hoops gameday: Lions on road against Hoosiers

Photo by Penn State Athletics

Penn State plays at Indiana tonight at 8:30 looking for their first Big Ten victory. The Nittany Lions are 0-2 in the league, with losses at Michigan and at home against No. 18 Illinois.

Penn State: The Lions are 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten. They’ve been able to play well early in most games, including their last time out against Illinois as they jumped out to a 16-2 lead. But the Illini roared back and clobbered PSU, 98-81.

Indiana: The Hoosiers are 5-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten, with a home loss to Northwestern and road loss at Illinois. Archie Miller’s team had high expectations coming into this season, so this has been a very disappointing start, as this story points out.

TV: BTN

Line: Indiana by 6

Prediction: Indiana 80, Penn State 70. I see the Hoosiers coming out and playing well after their disappointing start.

Prediction record: 4-2

Lions still looking for consistency within games: It’s doubtful Penn State will get up big in this game, like it did against Illinois and Seton Hall before blowing big leads. Still, it’s possible, as the Lions went on the road at Virginia Tech and destroyed the Hokies from start to finish.

Penn State is ready to play at the start of games — shooting well and executing on defense — but they just haven’t been able to keep their foot on the gas, as interim coach Jim Ferry called it?

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Why not? And how does a coach go about fixing something like that?

“It’s a multitude of things. One thing is keep them fresh. We got to keep fresh bodies in the game. We got to keep our guys in a flow. While you’re trying to keep guys, you’re also trying to keep guys hot, not taking you guys. We’re playing well, but we’ve got to keep our bodies fresh first, especially in the front court. We’re we’re facing some bigger, more skilled guys in front court that are wearing us down a little bit.

“The other thing, too, is us not having as many games. I’ve said this before, we just haven’t played that many games this year. So we’re constantly working on situations throughout practices, really legitimately putting up, up 19 to four with eight minutes to go, let’s figure it out. End-of-game situations, constantly working on end-of-game situations — up eight three minutes to go, down two with four minutes to go. Just putting these guys in as many game like situations as possible, while we’ve not really been able to have the time to do it in games because we just haven’t had games.”

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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