Scouting Report: Penn State

Penn State is still looking for the team's first conference win, as is IU. The Nittany Lions may not be the strongest team in the Big Ten, but on the road, they may pose a tough challenge for the Hoosiers.

Here's a closer look at Saturday's Indiana opponent:

Penn State Nittany Lions (9-7, 0-3)

Last time out: L, 68-65 vs. Minnesota on Wednesday

The Nittany Lions were on their way towards their first conference win of the season at home against the Golden Gophers before poor free throw shooting in the waning minutes allowed Minnesota to take back the lead and pull off a narrow victory.

Penn State began the game in a 7-0 hole before Tim Frazier dropped in a floater for the team's first bucket of the game seven minutes into the contest. Minnesota gained its largest lead at 17-7 before Frazier scored six straight to get them back within four. An 8-3 Penn State run and a strong finish to the half gave the Nittany Lions a 35-30 lead at halftime.

Early on in the second half, Frasier knocked down a 3-pointer to give his team its largest lead of the game 42-34, but Minnesota's Andre Hollins threw down a quick five points to cut it to a one-possession game. The Gophers continued to fight until, with the game tied 60-all, Minnesota took its final lead of the game.

Frazier scored a game-high 20 points with eight assists, and Ross Travis followed with a double-double of 18 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds.

2012-13 season

Record: 10-21 (2-16 in the Big Ten Conference)

The Nittany Lions struggled for much of the 2012-13 season without their star guard, Frazier, who was a preseason candidate for the Wooden and Naismith player of the year awards. In Penn State's fourth game of the season – the final game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off against Akron – Frazier ruptured his left Achilles tendon just five minutes into the game. The injury required surgery and took him out for the rest of the season.

After starting the season 2-2, the Nittany Lions finished their non-conference slate 8-4, including a four-game winning streak at the end, but many of these games were against less than stellar opponents (picture the 2010-11 IU squad).

Penn State would go on to lose 14 straight during Big Ten play, but the team's first win may have made up for all. The Nittany Lions pulled off a win at home in the Bryce Jordan Center against then-No. 4 Michigan 84-78. The team's other conference win fell two games later on the road against Northwestern 66-59 for Penn State's only road win of the season.

The Nittany Lions met up with Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament and fell handily to the Wolverines 83-66 and didn't compete in any post-season tournaments afterwards.

What they do well:

The Nittany Lions all-around are one of the Big Ten's weaker teams, but they provide an ability to stay in the game with the strength of two of the top scorers in the conference: Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill. They average 17.1 and 16.9 points this season, respectively, and rank sixth and seventh in the Big Ten in scoring.

Penn State ranks in the upper half of the Big Ten in scoring as well – fifth, in fact – with 77.4 points per game. Despite the team's struggling record this season, they regularly start a lineup with four players who average double-figures.

The team also ranks last in the conference in scoring defense, but the Hoosiers are only two spots ahead. If Saturday's game gets into a shootout, with Penn State at home, this game could prove to be a trap for IU.

Star players:

G Tim Frazier, Fifth-year Senior

Each of the past two seasons, Frazier has started off the season with high praise, and after coming back from his Achilles injury from last season, Frazier has not disappointed. Although he isn't scoring quite at the mark of his junior season, where he averaged 18.8 points per game, Frazier is still more than able to put his team on his back. He has scored six 20-plus games this season, including two 29-point performances.

Frazier also remarkably leads the conference in assists with 6.9 per game, nearly two more than Ohio State's Aaron Craft, who is second in the conference. Frazier is a seasoned Big Ten player who will be a lot for the Hoosiers to handle, along with the rest of Penn State's scoring options.

G D.J. Newbill, Jr.

Newbill spent his first season playing for Penn State in a much bigger role than expected, taking the starting point guard role after Frazier was lost for the season. He transformed into one of the conference's leading scorers, finishing fourth averaging 16.3 points per game.

The redshirt junior has struggled a bit as of late, scoring just seven points in a loss to Illinois and going scoreless in just 14 minutes against Minnesota while fouling out, but other than those games, he has scored in double figures every game this season, providing a slightly more reliable double-digit scorer next to Frazier.


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