Hoop Preview: Big Ten Tourney

The Nittany Lions look for a season sweep of Northwestern in the first round of the league's basketball tournament. Get a preview of how Coach DeChellis' squad matches up against the Wildcats.

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Penn State vs. Northwestern

Big Ten Tournament

Tipoff: Noon at Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

Records: Penn State (14-13, 6-10, No. 8 seed); Northwestern (14-14, 6-10, No. 9 seed).

Coaches: Ed DeChellis is 30-55 in three seasons at Penn State, 0-2 at Big Tens and 135-148 in 10 seasons overall. Bill Carmody is 82-94 in six seasons at Northwestern, 3-5 at Big Tens and 174-119 in 10 seasons overall.

Series: Penn State leads, 18-11.

Last meeting: The Lions beats the Wildcats twice in the regular season, most recently (68-55) at the Jordan Center Feb. 25.

TV: ESPN2 (Brent Musburger play by play, Steve Lavin color).

Radio: Penn State Sports Network (Steve Jones play by play, Dick Jerardi color).

Next up: The winner of this game takes on top-seeded Ohio State at noon Friday (ESPN).

Probable starters:

Penn State

G Ben Luber, 6-0 Jr. (7.3)

G David Jackson, 6-1 Jr. (7.2)

F Geary Claxton, 6-5 So. (15.5)

F Travis Parker, 6-5 Sr. (11.9)

F Jamelle Cornley, 6-6 Fr. (11.5)

Northwestern

G Craig Moore, 6-4 Fr. (6.8)

G Mohamed Hachad, 6-4 Sr. (11.6)

F Vedran Vukusic, 6-8 Sr. (19.4)

F Tim Doyle, 6-5 Jr. (8.3)

C Bernard Cote (4.3)

Notes:

• The last time Penn State beat the same opponent three times in a season? The 1989-90 campaign (George Washington in the Atlantic 10).

• Though the Big Ten tourney was held in Conseco just two years ago (2004), only one Nittany Lion has ever played in the building — Luber. Amazing to think the rest of the roster has turned over in that short span.

• However far State advances in the tournament, all of its games will be on national TV.

• The No. 8 seed is 7-7 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament. The No. 9 seed has lost to No. 8 in six of the eight first-round games, including the last three.

• The 8-9 winner has gone on to beat the No. 1 seed in four of the eight tournaments.

• With a loss Thursday, DeChellis would own the worst record (0-3) of any coach in the nine-year history of the tournament. Tom Davis (Iowa) and Brian Ellerbe (Michigan) are also 0-2, though Ellerbe had to forfeit wins due to NCAA violations.

FOS Prediction: Penn State 68, Northwestern 63.

Comment: Don't buy the argument that it is nearly impossible to beat a team three times in a given season. Penn State matches up extremely well with Northwestern on both ends.

FOS Record: 24-3.

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