Indiana vs. Penn State Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the match-up pitting Indiana (13-10/5-7) and Penn State (13-11/5-8), which tips off Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST at the Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Penn State
Indiana (13-10/5-7) welcomes Penn State (13-11/5-8) at 7 p.m. to the Assembly Hall for a critical game for both team's postseason hopes. Indiana desperately needs a win to try to resurrect its NCAA tourney hopes, while Penn State suddenly has visions of playing in the NIT. Indiana has long dominated the Nittany Lions since they joined the Big Ten, owning a 23-3 edge in the all-time series. All three of Penn State's wins have come in State College, including a 71-68 victory a week ago. It was during that game that the story first leaked that Mike Davis was set to resign as the Hoosiers' head coach. 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 109-77 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 29-53 record in State College and a 134-146 record overall.

The game will be televised by ESPN-Regional, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and John Laskowski (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Penn State 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (13-10/5-7)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 162, Jr.) – 4.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 46.3% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Lewis Monroe (6-5, 192, Sr.) – 3.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) – 13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 42.4% 3 pt. shooting
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 17.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.8 bpg, 55.5% FG shooting

Penn State (13-11/5-8)
PG- Ben Luber (6-0, 178, Jr.) – 7.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 4.4 apg, 42.4% 3 pt. shooting
SG- David Jackson (6-2, 195, Jr.) – 7.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 31.5% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Geary Claxton (6-5, 210, So.) – 15.7 ppg ,7.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, Big Ten-best 79 offensive rebounds
PF- Travis Parker (6-5, 230, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 apg, 40.0% 3 pt. shooting
C – Jamelle Cornley (6-6, 235, Fr.) – 12.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 53.7% FG shooting

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Penn State 2005-06 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Which Team Plays Like It's Playing for Something?– If Indiana is going to get the wins that it needs down the stretch to give itself a chance to be included in the NCAA field, it has to knock off the Nittany Lions. Indiana has to get four wins before Selection Sunday to give itself a legitimate case for inclusion, and with only four regular season games remaining plus the Big Ten postseason tournament, it's not hard to conclude that a home game against the Nittany Lions is one that has to go in the win column.

That will be easier said than done, though. This is a Nittany Lions team that has already won three Big Ten road games this season, including a victory earlier this month at Illinois. That alone is evidence that they are more than capable of coming to Bloomington and getting their first win ever in Assembly Hall. A win for Penn State would be its third in a row and guarantee Coach Ed DeChellis' team of no worse than a .500 overall record this season. That might be enough for inclusion in the NIT when the field is announced next month.

With that in mind, you can pretty well bank on the Lions playing with the same sort of effort they displayed a week ago, and it will be up to Indiana to match that. Indiana has generally been a team that's needed something good to happen on the floor before it starts playing with emotion, but that could be a dangerous proposition Wednesday.

Will Indiana Be in the Zone? - Indiana's defensive struggles have been well noted as of late. Coach Mike Davis' team is allowing its Big Ten foes to shoot 47 percent from the floor this season, much better than the 41.4 percent clip that IU has been shooting in league games. In an effort to address those struggles IU switched to playing a 2-3 zone for the majority of the second half of the Illinois game, a switch that did have some positive results. Indications are Indiana will stick with that defensive gameplan against the Nittany Lions.

With that in mind, keep an eye on Nittany Lion reserve Mike Walker, who averaged 6.5 points off the bench. He's the team's leader with 35 3-pointers this season, and he'll likely get some quality looks against the zone. Walker hit a couple of big 3s late in Penn State's win at Illinois, and he also scored 13 points in the Lions' near upset of Michigan State in East Lansing. Indiana will need to know where Walker is and get a hand up quickly when he gets the ball on the wing.

Indiana will also have to keep an eye on Travis Parker, the Nittany Lion forward who has suddenly discovered a perimeter game. Parker has a team-high 20 3-pointers during conference games and is shooting 43.5 percent from behind the arc in Big Ten play. In the last five games alone, Parker is 16-of-24 from deep, including a 2-of-3 effort against Indiana a week ago in State College, Penn.

Will Indiana's zone create even more problems on the boards? - Indiana hasn't been a very good rebounding team most of the season, and their problems could become even more profound with the switch to the zone. Penn State is undersized, but it has a trio of very active offensive rebounders in Geary Claxton, Jamelle Cornley and Travis Parker. When the Lions' shots go up, Indiana's players must find a man to put a body on or that trio will get plenty of putback opportunities. Penn State out-rebounded the Hoosiers 33-24 in the meeting a week ago, and Indiana can't afford to get worked over on the boards again.

QUOTABLES
" They are a good offensive rebounding team that hurt us last time. We just have to play hard. Penn State is playing with a lot of confidence and shooting the ball really well. (Geary) Claxton, (Travis) Parker and all those guys are playing well right now." – Mike Davis.

"(A win over Penn State) could get the start of a snowball effect if we could get a win and keep going. It would be good for us, and that is what we are trying to do." – Earl Calloway.

""It is definitely a game where we feel like we need to get a little revenge on them because we felt like we should have won that game (last week). We did not close it out at the end. I think it is a little extra motivation knowing that they beat us last week." – Robert Vaden.

"We need these next two games. They are big for us. Wednesday night is big for us, and we really need to get a win. Hopefully, it can get us started on the right foot for the final four regular season games and the postseason." – Rod Wilmont.

DID YOU KNOW…
Penn State is looking for its fourth Big Ten road win, something no Penn State team has ever accomplished…those three road wins equal the best total in the conference, tying the Nittany Lions with Iowa (3-4) and Ohio State (3-3). Entering the season Penn State was just 2-22 in road games during DeChellis' first two seasons in State College, Penn…on the opposite end of the spectrum, Indiana is one of only two teams without a conference road win. Indiana and Purdue are both 0-6 on the road in Big Ten play…Penn State's Travis Parker is averaging 19.0 points and 3.2 3-pointers per game during his last five contests. That includes a 21-point effort against Indiana a week ago…Marshall Strickland needs 15 points to become the 40th player in IU history to score 1,000 career points…speaking of Strickland, the Hoosier senior has had some of his best games against Penn State. He's scored in double figures in five straight games against the Nittany Lions, and he's averaging 5.0 assists/game in the last four meetings…Robert Vaden has connected on at least one 3-pointer in nine straight games and 21 out of 23 this season. Marshall Strickland has hit at least one 3-pointer in 19 games this year, followed by Rod Wilmont (13), A.J. Ratliff (10), Errek Suhr (9), Ben Allen (7), Lewis Monroe (7) and Earl Calloway (6).

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