Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Purdue looks to stay undefeated in conference at Penn State

After arguably the best all-around game Purdue has played in this season against Illinois, the Boilermakers head to Penn State in attempt to start the conference season off 3-0.

Similar to the match-up it faced against Iowa in the first game of the Big Ten season, Purdue visits a team and a atmosphere that can sometimes put you to sleep.

The Nittany Lions (8-7, 0-2) are clearly, with the loss of their prolific scorer Taylor Battle to graduation, one of the worst teams in the Big Ten this year, if not the worst. With the loss of Battle, Jeff Brooks, Andrew Jones and David Jackson, Penn State lost 78% of its scoring from last year. With five seniors graduating from last year's team, Penn State adds seven freshman to its roster.

It goes without saying that this team - as young as they are - is still getting acclimated to Division I basketball and players that were just role players last year are forced to assume bigger responsibilities.

Players like junior Tim Frazier. Frazier, who averaged just 6.3 points per game a season ago, has nearly tripled his average this season at 17.3 a game. That's a huge step for a player that was far from a scorer his first two years at Penn State. At times he was considered an offensive liability because of his size and inability to hit the open jump shot.

A lot has changed for Penn State and Frazier, though.

With tons of inexperience on Penn State's roster, especially in the frontcourt, look for Robbie Hummel to have a big game. Hummel has struggled with his shot ever since the loss to Xavier, but look for him to get going early as the Nittany Lions have nobody that can match-up with him.

Obviously no game in the Big Ten is taken for granted, and on the road it's even more tough. Purdue needs to come out ready to play and sustain it for 40 minutes.

This is another chance for freshman Jacob Lawson to log some more valuable minutes as he continues to get a feel for the competitive nature of the Big Ten, and it also gives a chance to Travis Carroll to get more confidence and continue to get better and improve.

Prediction: Purdue 73, Penn State 56

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