Indiana vs. Penn State Gameday

Indiana has lost a school-record 24 games this year, and the next setback will end their season. The Hoosiers hope to extend their season at least one more day at 5 p.m. today when they take on sixth-seeded Penn State in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament…

Game Particulars: Indiana (6-24/1-17) vs. Penn State (21-10/10-8)
There will be a lot on the line for both 11th seeded Indiana and sixth-seeded Penn State meet today in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hoosiers are looking to not only extend their season, but also avoid their first-ever Thursday exit from the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State, meanwhile, needs a win to solidify its NCAA At-Large credentials. While the Lions have a win over Penn State and a pair of wins against Illinois this season, a loss today to Indiana would represent back-to-back losses to the the 10th and 11th place teams in the league to end the season – not exactly the type of thing the NCAA Selection Committee is looking for.

IU is coached by Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 196-120 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 79-102 mark at Penn State and a 183-195 mark overall..

The game will be televised by ESPN2 with Brent Musberger (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (color commentary) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2008-09 Schedule

Penn State 2008-09 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (6-24/1-17)
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 10.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 28.1% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Brett Finkelmeier (6-3, 188, So.) – 0.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 6.6 mpg
WG - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 9.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.7 apg, 45.8% FG shooting
PF- Kyle Taber (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 4.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.0 spg, 50.0% FG shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 9.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 49.8% FG shooting

Penn State (21-10/10-8 Big Ten)
PG- Talor Battle (5-11, 165, So.) – 17.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.9 apg, 34.8% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Stanley Pringle (6-1, 180, Sr.) – 12.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.7 apg, 46.9% 3 pt. shooting
SF – David Jackson (6-6, 205, So.) – 3.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 38.1% FG shooting
PF – Jamelle Cornley (6-5, 240, Sr.) – 13.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 50.9% FG shooting
C – Andrew Jones (6-9, 245, So.) – 5.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 61.1% FG shooting

Indiana 2008-09 Statistics

Penn State 2008-09 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
If Devan Dumes is unable to play, can IU's guards keep Battle and Pringle in check? – Crean said he wasn't optimistic that Dumes would be able to play, which makes containing Pringle and Battle that much more difficult. Expect to see Indiana throw a variety of defensive looks at the Nittany Lions, utilizing both man-to-man and zone to try to keep the Lion guards from getting into a comfort zone. One player who will need to play well defensively if IU is going to be successful is Brett Finkelmeier. The sophomore is averaging 21.0 minutes/game in the last two games after averaging only 3.1 minutes/game in the season's first 28 contests. The biggest reason he's on the floor is because outside of Dumes, he's proven to be the team's most reliable perimeter defender. Expect to see him playing a prominent role again today.

Can the Hoosiers get back to being a dominant team on the glass? - For all of Indiana's struggles in the early portion of the Big Ten season, one of the things Tom Crean's team did well was rebound the basketball. The Hoosiers out-rebounded their first seven Big Ten opponents, but have done the same only four times in the final 11 league games. The most recent time was at Penn State, when IU owned a +3 rebounding edge in the 61-58 loss to the Lions. If Indiana is going to pull off a first-round upset, it is going to need to win the rebounding battle, and more than likely it will need to do so by a comfortable margin. If the Hoosiers can win the second-chance points battle by a solid margin, they should give themselves a chance to pull off the upset.

Can Verdell Jones and Nick Williams continue to give the team some perimeter punch? - Penn State plays its share of zone defense, and often forces teams to launch an uncharacteristically high percentage of 3-pointers. If Dumes is unable to play, Indiana will turn to not only Matt Roth, but also Verdell Jones and Nick Williams to take advantage of some open looks. Jones has been at his best getting into the lane and finishing or getting to the free-throw line, but he's also been shooting the 3-pointer better as of late. In his last three games, he's 4-of-8 from deep. Williams, meanwhile, has also been better from deep as of late as well. Roth figures to be the team's primary long-range shooter Saturday, but Jones and Williams are also capable of creating some problems for the Lions.

QUOTABLES
"This time of year, for them to be as excited as they are and continue to improve the way they have is kind of a microcosm of the whole season. We've had our ups and downs, and obviously we've had our poor results, but this team has continued to respond day in and day out. And every time we have gotten down they have come back and been better. Every time we've been worried that they may not capture that enthusiasm again here they come back and they are full of life and energy. And that says a lot about them." – IU Coach Tom Crean

""I think one of the keys is to keep the ball out of Jamelle Cornley's hands and also not let Stanley Pringle and Talor Battle get to the basket. That really hurt us in the first half of the first game and then in the second half of the second game Cornley really got to us with easy post touches so we are going to try to take the ball out of his hands." – Tom Pritchard

"I know they are going to be playing for a lot. But at the same time we are going in there with our mindset as well. We know what we have to do, and that is to not get ahead of ourselves and do everything we can do to get ready to play Penn State. "(Jamelle) Cornley has been a real struggle for us. We have not had a great match up for him in either game." – Crean

"I think we have to be creative (defending Talor Battle). I think we have to continue to move people around. He is a very hard match up. He is a very hard match up for anybody. He is very strong. And the one thing about him is he plays so low to the ground. He pounds the dribble. You don't force him one way or the other. He just knows how to get to the basket. We can't give him a steady diet of anything." – Crean

"I have put a lot of work in the gym, there are no shortcuts. You have to put in the work if you want to get the results. Coach Seltzer and coach Crean have done a great job helping shoot better and I am shooting with more confidence. At the beginning of the year I wasn't shooting with any confidence but my confidence is very high right now." – Verdell Jones

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