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Penn State-Northwestern: 5 Things to Know Ahead of PSU’s 1st Game at BJC in 2024

Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0) January 21, 2023 David Hague/NSN

Penn State basketball has had a “Jekyll and Hyde” start to 2024.

On Jan. 4, it got embarrassed in a 31-point loss at Michigan State.

Three days later, it came back from 14 down to beat Michigan at Philadelphia’s famous Palestra.

Tonight, Penn State (8-7, 2-2) has its first Big Ten game in the Bryce Jordan Center in a month, and it won’t be an easy one. Northwestern (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten) is an NCAA Tournament hopeful.

Here are five things to know ahead of tonight’s game.

WHICH PENN STATE TEAM WILL SHOW UP?

Penn State’s season has been a roller coaster thus far, and Big Ten play has been no exception. The results have been mixed, as the 2-2 record shows, but aside from last week’s 31-point loss at Michigan State, there hasn’t been a game where Penn State has been clearly outmatched. It’s other loss— the conference opener at Maryland last month— went to overtime, and Penn State did beat both Michigan and Ohio State. A key for Penn State tonight will be for the team that outscored Michigan by 16 in the second half this past Sunday at the Palestra to show up, not the one that played at Michigan State.

WILL BALDWIN BE THE PENN STATE ACE AGAIN?

Kanye Clary has been Penn State’s best player through 15 games. But in the most recent one another Penn State guard, Ace Baldwin, was the high scorer with 25 points. Baldwin is used to playing in big games. Over three seasons with Rhoades at VCU, Baldwin became the man, winning A-10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors last season. But this is Baldwin’s first season in the Big Ten, which is arguably the nation’s most prestigious basketball league. Baldwin is capable of playing in the league, and he’ll have a chance to prove it on both ends of the floor against a Big Ten veteran.

WHAT ABOUT BOO BUIE?

It’s growing increasingly rare this day in age for a college basketball player to stay at a school for more than one season. Boo Buie is in his fifth season at Northwestern and has started double-digit games in all five. This season, he’s again been excellent. Buie averages 18.1 points per game, which is sixth in the league, right behind Penn State’s Kanye Clary. Buien is also fifth in the conference in assists, averaging 4.9 per game. Both Buie’s scoring and playmaking were on display in Northwestern’s 14-point win over Michigan State this past Sunday. He ended the day with 19 points and 10 assists. Tonight, Buie will be going against one of America’s best defenders in Baldwin. We’ll see which one gets the best of the other.

WHAT’S THE SPREAD?

Northwestern is a 1-point favorite per SportsLine.

HOW TO WATCH

For Penn State fans who won’t be at the Bryce Jordan Center tonight, here’s more information on how to watch and listen to the game.

Time: 6:30

TV: Big Ten Network

TV announcers: Jason Horowitz (PXP), Stephen Bardo (color)

Radio: Penn State Sports Network

Radio announcers: Steve Jones (PXP), Dick Jerardi (color)

SiriusXM: Ch. 382, 972 (app)

 

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