Indiana vs. Penn State Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the match-up pitting Indiana (13-8/5-5) and Penn State (11-11/3-8), which tips off Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Penn.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Penn State
Indiana (13-8/5-5) travels to State College, Penn., for a matchup with Penn State (11-11/3-8) at 8 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center. Indiana has long dominated the Nittany Lions since they joined the Big Ten, owning a 23-2 edge in the all-time series. Both of Penn State's wins have come in State College, with the most recent victory coming in 2003. A year ago the two teams met only once, with Indiana pulling out a 68-63 victory in Bloomington.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 109-75 career mark. Indiana has been to the postseason in four of Davis' first five seasons (three NCAA invitations). Penn State, meanwhile, is coached by Ed DeChellis, who is in his third year as Penn State's head coach and 10th season overall. He's compiled a 27-53 record in State College and a 132-146 record overall.

The game will be televised by ESPN-Plus, with Tom Hamilton (play-by-play) and John Laskowski (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Penn State 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (13-8/5-5)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 162, Jr.) – 4.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 31.6% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 48.2% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Roderick Wilmont (6-4, 200, Jr.) 8.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 37.5% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) – 14.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.3 spg, 45.2% 3 pt. shooting
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 18.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.8 bpg, 56.3% FG shooting

Penn State (11-11/3-8)
PG- Ben Luber (6-0, 178, Jr.) – 7.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, 43.3% 3 pt. shooting
SG- David Jackson (6-2, 195, Jr.) – 7.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, 30.2% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Geary Claxton (6-5, 210, So.) – 15.8 ppg ,7.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 46.1% FG shooting
PF- Travis Parker (6-5, 230, Sr.) – 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 44.4% FG shooting
C – Jamelle Cornley (6-6, 235, Fr.) – 12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 53.8% FG shooting

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Penn State 2005-06 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Road, Sweet, Road?– In the wake of what has unfolded in the last week, Indiana probably relishes going on the road instead of facing the pressures of playing in front of the home crowd. The best place for Indiana to be playing a basketball game is probably at the Big Ten venue that is farther away from Bloomington, Ind., than any other, and they'll be doing so in front of a media contingent that is likely also the league's smallest. Considering the circumstances, Indiana and Mike Davis couldn't ask for more.

In a twisted sort of way, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Hoosiers might turn in their best road effort of the year. With Davis' future in Bloomington all but decided, there's no longer the pressure of fighting for their head coach's job. What the players are likely looking to do is figure out a way to play some better basketball on the road and get their head coach into the NCAA Tournament in his final season in Bloomington. Getting a win at Penn State would go a long way towards doing that.

Hit a Couple of Perimeter Shots Early - While the point above is a best case scenario, there's also a possibility that if the Hoosiers get off to a slow start, they could take the opportunity to roll over and play dead. There's every excuse in the book to do so, considering the team's recent struggles. Penn State, meanwhile, is at .500 and is clawing to try to get itself eligible for the NIT. A win over the Hoosiers would be a big step in that direction.

Don't be surprised to see Marshall Strickland be aggressive early. While Indiana has been struggling, the senior guard is playing some of the best basketball of his career in the last two weeks. He's a steadying influence on a team that has been rocked the last couple of weeks. This is also Strickland's final go-around in an IU uniform, and he doesn't want to make it three straight years without a trip to the NCAA Tournament. With Robert Vaden mired in a woeful shooting slump, Strickland might take it on his shoulders to be IU's primary perimeter threat, particularly early in the game. Penn State hasn't been very good at defending the 3-point arc all year, giving up 10 3-pointers per game since league play opened. Their guards aren't overly athletic, so expect Strickland, Roderick Wilmont and Vaden to get plenty of clean looks from outside.

Will Indiana get worked over on the boards? - Penn State is not big up front, but its big men are active. Geary Claxton, Travis Parker and Jamelle Cornley stand 6-5, 6-5 and 6-6, respectively, but they will pound the boards and can be dangerous on the offensive glass. Nearly half of Claxton's 7.1 rebounds/game come on the offensive end, while Cornley also has 50 offensive rebounds. By comparison, Marco Killingsworth is Indiana's leading offensive rebounder with 49 this season, and no one else has more than 30.

Penn State isn't a particularly good shooting team, knocking down only 42.7 percent of its attempts from the field in conference games and 36.5 percent of its 3-point attempts. But if the Nittany Lions can turn a bunch of those misses into easy putbacks or even just second opportunities, it will be deflating to an Indiana defense that has struggled badly on the road. It will be especially important that the likes of Rod Wilmont and Robert Vaden put a body on Claxton when a shot goes up. He'll be relentless in trying to corral Penn State misses, and it will be up to that duo to make sure he isn't given a clear path to the rim.

QUOTABLES
"I am feeling a little better. This (sickness) just comes and goes at this point, but it is much better than what I was feeling like Saturday and Sunday. I had to go see the doctor (Monday) and went back again (Tuesday), so hopefully I can shake it. But I am feeling better right now." – Mike Davis on his health situation.

"Penn State is a very good team. They are the only team this year to win at Illinois, so that goes to show you they are capable of beating anyone at any time. They are a very athletic team and they are similar to us in starting a guard-dominated line up. Playing on the road is always a tough task, but we have to come out strong and establish our tempo, make shots and get it done defensively." – Mike Davis on Penn State.

"We just have to take it one game at a time. That first road win would really boost our confidence. It will help prepare us for the other three conference games we have on the road. It is important to go into Penn State, play hard defensively and score more points." – Marco Killingsworth.

"It is real important for us to go get our first road win and get back in the win column. We just have to go in and play with energy at Penn State." – Marshall Strickland on the importance of the Penn State game.

"It is important and it would be our first Big Ten road win this season. We are looking forward going out and trying to get a win to get things rolling again." – Robert Vaden.

DID YOU KNOW…
Indiana needs one more win to be eligible for the postseason. With 27 regular season games and one guaranteed game in the Big Ten postseason tournament, Indiana must win 14 games to be eligible for the NIT…Marshall Strickland needs 34 points to become the 40th player in IU history to score 1,000 points. He is currently in 43rd on IU's all-time list, and he needs three points to pass Isiah Thomas for 42nd…Penn State's Travis Parker is 10-of-14 from behind the 3-point arc in his last three games. Before this hot streak, Parker was just 12-of-46 from 3-point range in Penn State's first 19 games this season. Overall, Parker is averaging 17.6 points and 5.6 rebounds during the three-game run…Indiana has used nine different starting lineups this season, with no starting five getting the nod more than five times…the tandem of Marco Killingsworth and Robert Vaden is the third-highest scoring duo in the Big Ten. Killingsworth and Vaden combine to average 32.3 points, which trails only Michigan State's Paul Davis-Maurice Ager (37.0) and Wisconsin's Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor (34.4)…Marco Killingsworth and Geary Claxton are two of three Big Ten players to rank in the league's top 10 in both scoring and rebounding. Killingsworth ranks fourth in both with 18.3 points and 8.1 rebounds, while Claxton is eighth in both with 15.8 points and 7.1 rebounds. The other player is Michigan State's Paul Davis who is sixth in scoring (18.1) and second in rebounding (9.3).

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