Game Particulars: Indiana (6-21/1-14) at Penn State (19-9/8-7)
It's a role reversal of year's past – Indiana and Penn State meet late in the Big Ten season, with one team trying to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume while the other flounders in last place in the league. In years past, Indiana has been the team trying to finish strong and impress the NCAA Selection Committee, while the Nittany Lions have been wallowing through a season to forget. This time around, it's the other way around. It's Senior Night at the Bryce Jordan Center, and the Lions are looking for their 20th win along with a victory that would guarantee them a .500 record in the Big Ten. Indiana, meanwhile, is still trying to end an 11-game road losing streak that dates back to the final two away games of the 2007-08 season.
IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 196-117 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 76-101 mark at Penn State and a 181-194 mark overall..
The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Steve Schlanger (play-by-play) and Jim Jackson (color commentary) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2008-09 Schedule
Penn State 2008-09 Schedule
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 9.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, 41.5% FG shooting
SG – Devan Dumes (6-2, 195, Jr.) – 13.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 36.7% 3 pt. shooting
WG - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 8.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.9 spg, 44.9% FG shooting
PF- Kyle Taber (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 4.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.0 spg, 50.5% FG shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 10.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 50.0% FG shooting
Penn State (19-9/8-7 Big Ten)
PG- Talor Battle (5-11, 165, So.) – 17.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.1 apg, 36.9% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Stanley Pringle (6-1, 180, Sr.) 12.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 spg, 46.0% 3 pt. shooting
SF – David Jackson (6-6, 205, So.) – 3.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 37.8% FG shooting
PF – Jamelle Cornley (6-5, 240, Sr.) – 14.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 52.0% FG shooting
C – Andrew Jones (6-9, 245, So.) – 5.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 59.0% FG shooting
Indiana 2008-09 Statistics
Penn State 2008-09 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
What happens in the game's first five minutes? – Tom Crean said that Indiana was bound to have a game like Wednesday's 22-point home loss to Northwestern, an effort that clearly showed Indiana's young players were running out of steam. With the Hoosiers now slated to be heavy underdogs in each of their remaining contests, the question now becomes whether the Hoosiers will be recharged for the last couple of outings or if they're simply out of gas. The answer to that question should reveal itself in the game's opening five minutes. The Nittany Lions figure to play at a very high energy level, particularly early on since it is Senior Night. If Indiana doesn't match that intensity from the outset it could find itself in a huge hole early. That's what happened when the two teams met last month in Bloomington, as Penn State raced to a 27-13 lead before eventually winning 65-55. That's not a situation Crean's team wants to find itself in again if it has any chance of springing an upset.
What kind of effort will Indiana get out of Verdell Jones on the defensive end? - Devan Dumes generally draws the assignment of the opposing team's top backcourt player, but the Lions have a pair of players in Talor Battle and Stanley Pringle who can penetrate and create for their teammates or score from behind the arc. While Jones has done some very good things as of late on the offensive end, he'll need to do a better job of staying in front of his man and keeping him from breaking down the Hoosiers defensively. In the first meeting between these two teams Dumes did a solid job on the likely All-Big Ten choice Battle, limiting him to 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting. But it was Pringle's 19-point, six-assist performance that led Ed DeChellis' team to its first win in Assembly Hall. It will likely fall on Jones to keep Pringle from having that sort of success again.
Is there anything Indiana can do to get Tom Pritchard going? - The freshman big man started extremely strong at the season's outset, but has faded fast since Big Ten play got underway. The team's leading scorer in the non-conference portion of the schedule at 12.9 points/game, Pritchard is fourth on the team in scoring in Big Ten games (8.1/game). Pritchard has only scored in double figures only once in his last nine games, and he's had five or less rebounds in six of his last seven outings. If the Hoosiers are going to have a chance Saturday night, they probably need Pritchard to double up on his Big Ten averages of 8.1 points and 5.7 rebounds. If he can get back to being a double-double player and Indiana's perimeter players are knocking down shots, Indiana will have a chance to stay in the game with DeChellis' squad.
"Penn State all season long has played with great intensity, great force, great energy and certainly the three people that have done the bulk of the scoring for them would do it for probably just about any program in America. In the case of Talor Battle, Stanley Pringle, and Jamelle Cornley they feed off each others so well and they allow the game to be that much easier for everyone on their team. So we know we are going in to face a very, very tough challenge." – IU Coach Tom Crean
"The biggest thing is your mindset's got to be right and that's where the winning efforts come in. And winning efforts can lead to winning, okay, just as losing efforts can lead to losing. But you have no chance to win unless the effort is there the right way. And that is exactly what we want right now and we don't feel that that has been there as good as it's needed to be." – Crean
"I think the players greatest experiences are being formed right now and they don't even know it. Certainly, road trips are a part of that. You have no chance to be successful unless you do bond together in a very strong way when you are away from home and that's what we want to continue to have these guys learn and understand." – Crean
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