Indiana vs. Penn State Gameday

One has to go back to the World War II era to find the last time an Indiana basketball team started conference play with five straight losses, and that's what Tom Crean's team is trying to avoid as it prepares for Saturday night's match-up against Penn State…

Game Particulars: Indiana (5-11/0-4) at Penn State (13-5/2-3)
Indiana will be looking to avoid making history on Saturday when it hosts Penn State at 6 p.m. No Penn State team has ever beaten Indiana in Bloomington, going a combined 0-15 since joining the Big Ten Conference. The Hoosiers are also trying to avoid an eighth straight loss, a run that would equal IU's longest losing streak since the 1963-64 season. While the Hoosiers haven't won a game in more than a month, Penn State heads into the contest having lost three out of its last four. The Lions' one win was an impressive one, topping then-No. 14 Purdue 67-64.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 195-107 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Penn State, meanwhile, is coached by DeChellis, who is in his sixth year with the Nittany Lions and 13th year overall. DeChellis owns a 70-97 mark at Penn State and a 175-190 mark overall..

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and Jim Jackson (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2008-09 Schedule

Penn State 2008-09 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (5-11/0-4)
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 8.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 41.4% FG shooting
SG – Devan Dumes (6-2, 195, Jr.) – 12.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 32.7% 3 pt. shooting
WG - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 8.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 46.5% FG shooting
PF- Kyle Taber (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 4.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.0 spg, 48.2% FG shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 12.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 53.2% FG shooting

Penn State (13-5/2-3 Big Ten)
PG- Talor Battle (5-11, 165, So.) – 18.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.5 apg, 41.0% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Stanley Pringle (6-1, 180, Sr.) 14.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, 50% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Jeff Brooks (6-8, 200, So.) – 3.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 38.1% FG shooting
PF – Jamelle Cornley (6-5, 240, Sr.) – 14.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 50.7% FG shooting
C – Andrew Jones (6-9, 245, So.) – 5.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 55.9% FG shooting

Indiana 2008-09 Statistics

Penn State 2008-09 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Devan Dumes' Battle with Talor Battle –Indiana's leading scorer and top perimeter defender will need to play a huge role if Indiana is going to get its first Big Ten. He's consistently drawn the assignment of the opponents' top perimeter scorer, and for Penn State that is sophomore Talor Battle. The 5-11, 165-pound sophomore is one of the league's most improved players, going from 10.2 points/game as a freshman to a Big Ten-best 18.9 so far this season. He's also improved his marksmanship remarkably – his field goal percentage has gone from 34.5 percent last year to 44.1 percent this season, and his 3-point shooting has improved from 28.4 percent a year ago to 41% this season. Dumes' challenge will be to make things difficult on Battle early and keep him from getting on a roll. If Dumes manages to win this head-to-head battle Indiana has an excellent chance to pick up its first Big Ten victory. But if Battle puts up stats that mirror his season averages (18.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.5 apg) it could be another tough afternoon for the Hoosiers.

Who draws the assignment of matching up with Jamelle Cornley? - Penn State's senior is only 6'5", but he's an extremely active frontcourt player who is excellent around the basket, on the offensive glass and at getting to the free-throw line. He'd be an extremely difficult defensive match-up for IU freshman Nick Williams – who generally matches up with opposing ‘4' men when IU goes with four guards - and he's probably too mobile for Tom Pritchard to defend. On paper, the best defensive match-up is probably Kyle Taber. With Pritchard likely drawing the assignment of defending center Andrew Jones, Taber could very well draw his second Big Ten start and would likely be responsible for matching up with Cornley. Taber's challenge would be to keep Cornley from controlling the offensive glass and from making frequent trips to the free-throw line.

Can someone give Indiana a lift off the bench? - It's still uncertain from game-to-game who is going to start for the Hoosiers, but someone who isn't in the starting lineup Saturday night needs to make a significant contribution off the bench if the Hoosiers are going to come away with a win. During IU's seven-game losing streak its bench has been outscored by the opponents' reserves six times (lone exception was a 10-2 IU edge at Iowa) and by an average of 8.5 points per game. The most likely possibilities are guards Malik Story or Matt Roth. After scoring in double figures in both exhibition games and in three of IU's non-conference games, Story hasn't scored more than seven in his last eight games while going just 12-of-41 from the field. Roth, meanwhile, is only 8-of-31 during the Hoosiers' losing streak. Assuming both come off the bench, one or both of them could play a big role in an IU victory.

QUOTABLES
"(on Cornley) He's a match-up nightmare. You guard him with someone smaller, he can overpower them. If you guard him with someone bigger, he can get around them. The one thing that makes him so dangerous are those shot fakes and pump fakes at the end of his move. He's always trying to get you up in the air." – IU Coach Tom Crean

"We haven't won yet, but we're still getting after it. Coach won't let losing set in, and I don't think we will, either. We have to play tough tomorrow and try to get a win." – Nick Williams

"(on PSU guards Talor Battle and Stanley Pringle) What you've got is the speed and quickness factor and the ability to make shots. They are so good at attacking the elbows. When they come down, one guy has the right to left cross over, the other has the left to right, and they want to get to the basket and they want to create." – Crean

"Nick Williams is developing in a lot of ways. Right now we're looking for that consistent energy. There's a big drop-off when he gets in foul trouble and we have to play without him instead of giving him a blow. That happened to us the other night and we didn't pick up the slack." – Crean

"I think it's going to help a lot (to be home). The atmosphere here, all the fans, it really helps us. It's like a sixth man mentality. That's what we need." – Tom Pritchard

"I have to make better decisions. I made some crazy fouls (against Ohio State). I have to be a smarter player when it comes to staying in the game. I know my team needs me." – Williams

NOTABLES: IU's third-leading scorer overall at 8.9 points per game, Nick Williams leads the Hoosiers in scoring in Big Ten games (12.0)…Indiana's back-to-back 20-point losses to Illinois and Ohio State marked the first time IU has lost two straight by 20 or more since the 1978-79 season when IU was beaten by Iowa (90-61) and Michigan State (82-58)…in Penn State's 68-64 win over IU last March, the starting backcourt of Pringle and Battle combined to go 4-of-27 from the field and 3-of-16 from 3-point range…thanks to Penn State's zone defense, more than one-half of IU's field goal attempts in last year's two games were from behind the 3-point arc (56-of-109)…Jamelle Cornley is coming off a career-best 26-point effort in Wednesday's loss to Michigan State…Penn State is 28-6 over the past two seasons when it attempts more free throws than its opponent, and 0-15 when it doesn't…Jamelle Cornley's 1,311 career points is the most among all active players in the Big Ten.

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