Penn State (14-16, 6-11) at Iowa (17-13, 9-8)
Date & Time: March 5th, 12:01 p.m. CT
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
- The senior day meeting is the only meeting between Penn State and Iowa in the regular season this year.
- Both teams start three freshmen, two true and one redshirt.
- Iowa has won their last three games, two of which were on the road and against ranked opponents.
- Penn State has lost 4 in a row and 6 of their last 8.
- Jordan Bohannon is the only freshman nationally with 70+ 3-point makes and 135+ assists.
- Both Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon have made 70+ 3-pointers. That makes them the only duo to do so in the same season in school history.
- Iowa holds a 28-15 advantage is the all-time series and has won 8 of the last 12.
- Iowa holds a 16-3 advantage on games played in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have also won the last 11 meetings inside Carver.
- Two freshman lead the way scoring for Penn State. Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens both average more than 12 points per game.
- Iowa will be honoring Peter Jok and Dale Jones before the game for Senior Day. The first 1,500 fans receive a Peter Jok bobblehead as well.
Jordan Bohannon (FR): You might as well start calling him "big shot Bohannon" after his three point make that gave the Hawkeyes a 2 point lead on the road in Madison on Thursday night. The field goal gave Iowa it's second straight win over a ranked opponent and planted themselves on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
Isaiah Moss (RSFR): Just 18 minutes for Moss against the Badgers, but he did have five points and three rebounds. He was just 2-of-8 from the field and lost minutes to Nicholas Baer, who played the 3 when Iowa went big. There is always potential there for Moss to breakout, but with the minutes he's playing it probably isn't happening.
Peter Jok (SR): Jok really struggled against Wisconsin. He missed that 10-footer at the end that would've given Iowa the lead - which is a shot he normally knocks down - but luckily Bohannon was there to save the day. Jok has had an incredible career at Iowa and deserves to go out with a W on Sunday.
Ahmad Wagner (SO): Wagner lost minutes to Pemsl, but had 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals for the Hawkeyes in limited action. He continues to be a solid role guy for Iowa and probably will into the future.
Tyler Cook (FR): Nine points and eight rebounds for Cook in another nice showing on Thursday. It wasn't quite the output he had against Maryland, but in a low scoring game they got all they need from TC to garner another road victory. If he maintains this aggressiveness on the glass and on offense, look out.
Nicholas Baer (RSSO): He's been a force during Iowa's three game winning streak. He's averaging the fourth most points on the team (11.7). He's second on the team in rebounds per game (4.7) and is playing the fourth most minutes out of anyone (28). He is also hitting 60% of his 3-pointers. That leads the team.
Cordell Pemsl (FR): When they say you can play starters minutes, but not start, that applies to Pemsl and Baer. Pemsl played the 5th most minutes out of anyone on Thursday (20) and had 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting. He was playing late in the game as well, so that means the trust is there with Fran McCaffery.
Brady Ellingson (RSSO): No points in 6 minutes on Thursday, but the pace was so slow that Iowa was getting away with not playing many guys. He could still factor in down the stretch with his scoring ability.
Christian Williams (SO): A couple of rebounds and an assists from Williams in 8 minutes as he gave Bohannon breathers when need be. Williams has only turned the ball over twice in the last five games, which is nice to see.
Ryan Kriener (FR): He played just five minutes and had a rebound against Wisconsin, so not much from Ryan. He's always a threat inside and out, however.
Dom Uhl (JR): A couple rebounds in 9 minutes for Uhl on Thursday as he continues to provide good minutes for the Hawkeyes. Fran was just riding a set number of guys against the Badgers on the road.
Penn State Starters
Tony Carr (FR): Carr has been outstanding in his first season as a Nittany Lion. He's leading the team in points and assists per game and has been the straw that stirs the drink for Pat Chambers. He's scored in double figures in the last 10 and has scored 20+ points in the last 3. He does however shoot just 40% from the field and turns it over about 3 times per game.
Shep Garner (JR): When Shep is on, he's a real scorer. You just never know when he'll be clicking. He averages around 12 points per game and has scored in double figures in the last three, including a 20 point outing in the loss to Ohio State. Whenever I watch Garner he always seems to be hitting his shots, so he'll be a guy to keep an eye on.
Lamar Stevens (FR): Stevens is another outstanding freshman for Pat Chambers. He's second on the team is points per game this season and has scored in double figures in the last 6 games. He plays big minutes and is a really nice player for the Nittany Lions. He is also second on the team in rebounding.
Mike Watkins (RSFR): Watkins redshirted last year and has made an impact in his RSFR season. He is averaging 9 points and 8 rebounds, but does a lot of damage being a rim protector for this team. He is averaging nearly 3 blocks per game. His length and athleticism really helps out this team.
Josh Reaves (SO): Reaves is one of the more disruptive defenders in this league. He averages over 2 steals per game and really get afters you defensively. He also brings 7 points and 4 rebounds per game to the table as well.
What to Watch
Carr, Garner, Stevens
It's really just three guys that make the Nittany Lions go. Payton Banks is a close fourth, but he did not play against Ohio State due to illness, so who knows how he'll be feeling on Sunday. The previously mentioned trio dominates a lot of the shots and they dominate a lot of minutes for this young Nittany Lion team. Garner probably demands most of the volume in terms of shots and might be the most dangerous scorer of the three. Carr and Stevens both like to get to the rim, but can also shoot the outside shot a bit. Penn State has other weapons, but it is these three guys that Iowa needs to hold in check to beat Penn State. You can't let them get going because they possess quite a bit of talent.
Attack that Glass
I really want to see the Hawkeye forwards attack that glass, get offensive rebounds, and then try to get the thin PSU front line in foul trouble. They don't go very deep at all and their rebounding numbers aren't great for the year either. They rank near the bottom of the conference in rebounding defense and offense, so I'd really like to see Iowa crash the glass with the what-seems-like endless supply of 4's they have on their bench. The Nittany Lions can get after you as well in this area, so this is where Iowa really needs to make a statement. Offensive rebounds lead to second chances, which leads to more points, usually. That's how Iowa beat Maryland and they'll need another good effort here against PSU.
By no means is Iowa a top tier team in this conference. They are right in the middle at 9-8, but have been playing like a top tier team lately. This would be a nice way for PSU to end their regular season, so they'll be ready to beat a team that just beat two of the best teams in this conference. If you're Iowa, you can't let them hang around. Once you start letting them hang around into the second portion of the second half and they start hitting some shots, then they have their confidence. Young teams with a bunch of confidence always scares me because they don't have anything to lose on the road against Iowa. The Hawkeyes need to make a statement on Sunday in the first 6-8 minutes of the game.
Given the recent trends for both teams, I don't think there is a way I can justify going against the Hawkeyes here. Their confidence is through the roof right now. They just got done winning two huge road games and now they get to come play in front of their home fans on Senior Day to try to send Peter Jok out on a high note. There is still a chance Jok plays more games at Carver if Iowa gets an NIT home game, but nothing is certain at this point. Everyone is just clicking. Bohannon looks excellent, Cook and Baer have both been stellar, even Cordell Pemsl has been a lightning rod off the bench. Oh, and anytime you have a first team All-Big Ten caliber guy like Jok on your team, he's going to help. Penn State has lost four in a row, Iowa has won three, give me the Hawkeyes to make it four straight to round out the regular season.