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Penn State-Purdue: 5 Things to Know Before PSU’s Tallest Task

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 05: Purdue Boilermakers center Zach Edey (15) talks to guard David Jenkins (14) during the second half in a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 5, 2023, at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State had a disappointing loss to Northwestern this past Wednesday, and today’s opponent will be much more difficult.

Here are five things to know before PSU (8-8, 2-3) takes on No. 1 Purdue (14-2, 3-2) on the road.

PENN STATE BASKETBALL’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: CONSISTENCY

This past Sunday, Penn State was down by 10 at halftime to Michigan and ended up winning. Three nights later, Penn State was up by eight at halftime against Northwestern and ended up losing. Penn State hasn’t put a complete game together in any of its five Big Ten contests, and coach Mike Rhoades knows that has to change. On the road against a team that many feel is the best in the country, Penn State can’t afford to be sloppy for a half.

THE PENN STATE BACKCOURT IS BOOMING

One of the bright sports from Penn State’s 76-72 loss at Northwestern this past Wednesday was the play of guards Kanye Clary and Ace Baldwin. Clary, who leads Penn State and is fifth in the Big Ten, averaging 18.8 points per game, was his usual self, scoring 25. Baldwin scored 19 fewer than that but made up for it with five assists and eight steals.

Baldwin is certainly capable of scoring. In Sunday’s win over Michigan at Philadelphia’s famous Palestra, Baldwin had a game-high 25, and he’s averaging 13.1 for the season. If Clary can repeat what he did against Northwestern and Baldwin can do what he did against Michigan— having eight steals against wouldn’t hurt, either— Penn State wo would make life interesting for Purdue.

THE BIG FELLA

Purdue has one of the most unique players in college basketball history.

Not many players of any era have been named national player of the year and even fewer have been 7-foot-4. Zach Edey checks both boxes and he has a shot of becoming just the third player to be a two-time national player of the year, a feat only Ralph Sampson and Bill Walten have accomplished.

Edey’s leads the Big Ten in scoring average, putting up 21.8 points per game. He also averages 10.4 rebounds, which is 11th in the country. But by his standard, Edey’s been ordinary throughout Purdue’s last two games, scoring 10 points and adding 15 rebounds in a win at Illinois last Friday and being held to 15 and 7 in Nebraska’s upset win in Lincoln this past Tuesday.

BOILING BOILERS

Purdue doesn’t lose too often. It’s only happened twice in 16 games thus far this season, the most recent being Tuesday at Nebraska. Purdue’s other loss took place at Northwestern Dec. 1 in overtime.

Purdue responded with a 19-point home win at Iowa  followed by wins over Alabama and then-No. 1 Arizona. If history repeats itself, Penn State’s in trouble.

HOW TO WATCH

Purdue comes in as 19.5-point favorites according to FanDuel Sportsbook. For Penn State fans who won’t be making the trip to West Lafayette, here’s how to watch and listen to the game.

Time: 2:15

TV: Big Ten Network

TV Announcers: Dave Revsine (PXP), Robbie Hummel (color)

Radio: Penn State Sports Network

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

SiriusXM: Ch. 382, 972 (APP)

 

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