Penn State Nittany Lions (19-9) at Purdue Boilermakers (23-5)
What a brutal way to lose last night. We backed the Texas Tech Red Raiders, playing on the road at Baylor. The Red Raiders lost, by far their best player, Keenan Evans, for the entire second half. But even with the short-handed squad, the Red Raiders were in a great spot to either win or cover, as they possessed the ball down one point 57-58, with just five seconds on the clock.
They were unable to hit a game-winning shot, and instead fouled and sent Jo Lual-Acuil to the line with five seconds left in the game. The big man hit one of two from the charity stripe, and we ended up losing by half of a point.
When you look at how the final two minutes of this game played out it was a devastating way to lose. The Red Raiders were up four points with just over two minutes to play, and we were getting points! Even without their best player for most of the game, Texas Tech should have won this game outright, or at a minimum covered.
We are going to chalk this one up to a bad beat and try and move on with our lives today. Today we focus on two teams heading in opposite directions as the Penn State Nittany Lions face the Purdue Boilermakers.
The Penn State Nittany Lions hit the road and will try and stay hot as they travel to West Lafayette to play the Boilermakers of Purdue. Penn State has caught fire in the Big 10 conference, as they have won six of their last seven games. They have gone from a fringe bubble team, to a squad that is expecting a high seed in the NCAA tournament, in just a couple of weeks.
For the Boilermakers, they are trying to get back on track after a recent slide. Purdue only lost two games over the course of the season’s first three months, yet they have now lost three straight and are seeing their hopes of a number one seed in the NCAA tournament disappear. The Boilermakers are -10-point home favorites tonight. The game total over-under is set at 142 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from Mackey Arena.
What happened to the Purdue Boilermakers this season? This team looked unbeatable two weeks ago, but they have now lost three straight games. Purdue holds wins over Arizona, Louisville, Marquette, Butler, Michigan, and Maryland this year and looked poised to run away with the Big 10 title and a top line seed in the NCAA tournament.
Two of those three recent losses at least make some sense. They lost to Ohio State at home by one point. Tough game against a good team. They followed that one up by losing on the road against a very good Michigan State team. Understandable as well. But in their most recent game, they lost to a downright terrible Wisconsin team. Wisconsin is nowhere near even the bubble at this point at 12-16, and that is a terrible loss that has me wondering, what has gone wrong at Purdue? Winning in Madison is never an easy task, even when the team is down. But you just can’t lose a game like that if you want to be considered for a one seed in the NCAA tournament. They will need to fix what is broken, and in a hurry tonight, if they want to hold off a surging Penn State Nittany Lion’s team.
The Penn State Nittany Lions cemented themselves as a tournament team in their last game when they blew out a very good Ohio State team, 79-56. This completed a season sweep of the Buckeyes and erased all doubt that the Nittany Lions wouldn’t hear their name called on Selection Sunday. Now that they don’t have to worry about missing the Big Dance, they can really focus on winning games down the stretch, in a really good Big 10 conference.
Penn State has won six out of their last seven, with two of those wins coming against Ohio State. The rest of that streak? It might have been more favorable scheduling than anything else. They won at home against Iowa, Maryland, and Rutgers and picked up a road win against cellar-dwelling Illinois.
I am not going to say that any wins in the Big 10 this year are bad wins; the league is very good. But this recent hot streak was against the bottom of the league, excluding the Ohio State wins. When they did play an elite team? They lost to Michigan State on the road.
I was shocked when I saw this number come out. Purdue is in free fall at the moment, having lost three straight games. They are playing a Penn State team that is playing as well as any team in the Big 10 right now and are playing the best basketball they have all season long. That’s why I was shocked when I saw the books hang a double-digit number on this one.
I suppose the Nittany Lions could have a bit of a letdown game after picking up the big win against Ohio State. And I suppose that Purdue is going to come out super fired up at home after losing three straight, especially after getting embarrassed by Wisconsin. But that still doesn’t add up to a ten-point line to me.
I get to back a hot team against a struggling team and snatch up ten points? That is too good to pass up. I have no choice but to grab all those points and hope for a close game. Ten points is a lot for any league game, let alone one between two good teams.
Give me the Penn State Nittany Lions tonight getting ten points!