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Penn State-Wisconsin: 5 Things to Know Before PSU Tries to Upset a Top 10 Squad

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Penn State played a top-10 team this past Saturday, and it didn’t go well. 

Now, Penn State (8-9, 2-4 Big 10) has another crack at one of the Big Ten’s best. 

PSU has shown promise in its conference home games thus far, winning two of them and narrowly losing to a strong Northwestern side last week. 

Here are five things to know before tonight’s game against Wisconsin (13-3, 5-0) who is currently atop the conference standings. 

PENN STATE HAS NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP

PSU lost by 17 at Purdue, and it could have been more lopsided. The good thing about lopsided losses is that it’s hard for the next game to be any worse. Wisconsin is a top-10 team, but Purdue is arguably the best team in the country. Plus, Penn State’s playing at the Bryce Jordan Center, where it beat Ohio State and led a quality Northwestern team for an entire half before faltering down the stretch. Penn State may lose to Wisconsin, but it’s hard to picture the team not at least making Wisconsin sweat.

WILL ZACH HICKS GET GOING FOR PENN STATE?

A big reason first-year coach Mike Rhoades and co. went after Temple’s Zach Hicks in the transfer portal was because of his 3-point shooting. 

Hicks shot more than 37 percent from 3 two seasons ago and more than 35 percent last season. But so far this year, he’s shooting 29.3 percent. In the Northwestern loss, Hicks attempted six 3s and made none of them. 

Saturday at Purdue was better, with Hicks going 2-for-4. Rhoades said after the Northwestern game that Penn State collectively hasn’t been as good at shooting the 3 ball as he expected coming into the season. Hicks getting hot would go a long way toward fixing that. 

HELLO, WISCONSIN!

Next to Purdue, Wisconsin could well be the best team Penn State’s played this season. That’s what the rankings suggest, with Wisconsin being ranked No. 11 in the AP Poll and No. 8 in the coaches. Purdue has a superstar in the 7-foot-4 Zach Edey, who’s on his way to becoming the third player in NCAA history– fellow giants Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson being the others– to win more than one National Player of the Year award. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has an ensemble cast, with none of its players averaging 15 points per game. Although Wisconsin doesn’t have a player on Edey’s level, it does have a seven-footer in Steven Crowl. Crowl averages 11.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. 

Saturday, Penn State went small by putting the 6-foot-7 Leo O’Boyle on Edey for periods. We’ll see if it tries something similar against Crowl.

IS PENN STATE FAVORED?

No. Wisconsin is favored by 5.5 according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

HOW TO WATCH

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

Time: 9:00

TV: Big Ten Network

TV announcers: Connor Onion (PXP), Shon Morris (color)

Radio: Penn State Sports Network

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

SiriusXM: Ch. 383, 973 (app)

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