Penn State men’s basketball has a chance to beat the No. 1 team in the country on the road Wednesday night. Here are five things to know about Penn State’s second matchup with Purdue this season.
PLAYING NO. 1
This will be the second time Penn State has played the nation’s top ranked team this year, and both times, Purdue was that team. Purdue is one of two ranked teams in the Big Ten, and the second, No. 21 Indiana, lost at Maryland Tuesday night and is in danger of falling out. Now, the No. 1 team in any sport isn’t always the best team in the nation, but it’s hard to argue that Purdue isn’t college basketball’s best right now. The Boilers are 21-1 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten, with their only blemish being by one-point to NCAA Tournament probable Rutgers.
In short, Purdue was one basket away from entering February undefeated. That’s pretty good, and so is this guy.
EDEY THE GIANT
The best team in the country is led by perhaps the best player in the country. Zach Edey would be talked about a lot regardless of his production.
He’s 7-foot-4, and, well, that’s just not normal. To Purdue’s delight, Edey’s stats are abnormally good, too. He averages 22.3 points (fourth in the country) and 13 rebounds (third). Shrewsberry coached Edey for a season at Purdue, and before the first meeting between the two teams that took place Jan. 9 at Philadelphia’s famous Palestra, Shrewsberry said that Edey is not only big, but “nasty.”
“He doesn’t mind contact,” Shrewsberry told reporters. “He actually likes contact. Where you find some big guys that like to shy away from it a little bit, but he’s a dude that constantly works. He’s a great example for a lot of people. He was never proclaimed to be a good player. He made himself a good player.”
Edey proved his old coach’s point by putting up 30 points and 13 rebounds in a 76-63 win over Penn State.
WELCOME BACK, MICAH
Shrewsberry’s coached against Purdue twice since leaving the school after the 2020-21 season.
The first game was last year at the Bryce Jordan Center, and the second one was last month at the Palestra. Penn State lost both games. Wednesday night would be a fantastic time for Shrewsberry to get a win over his old boss, Matt Painter, who he worked for over two stints (2011-13, 2019-21).
GETTING OFF THE BUBBLE
Penn State is firmly on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament picture. ESPN’s Joe Lundardi (AKA Joey Brackets) has the team in the tournament, and Fox’s Mike DeCourcy has it out of the tournament. Beating Purdue wouldn’t guarantee Penn State anything.
Win or lose, there will be nine games left afterward, all in the Big Ten. But being 15-7 overall and 6-5 in one of America’s toughest leagues with a win over a top-ranked team on the road would put Penn State in great shape to go dancing for the first time since 2011.
HOW TO WATCH
Penn State and Purdue are scheduled to tip-off at 6:30 on the Big Ten Network. Penn State is a 9.5-point underdog according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Here’s more information on how to watch and listen to the game.
TV Announcers: Brandon Gaudin (PXP), Robbie Hummel (color)
Radio: Penn State Sports Network
Radio Announcers: Steve Jones (PXP), Dick Jerardi (color)
SiriusXM: Channel 382, 972 (app)