Penn State Nittany Lions
Record: 9-10 (3-5)
KenPom Rank: 107
Under first-year head coach Mike Rhoades, the Nittany Lions have been struggling to get things going in year one.
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Run offense with intention - Penn State hasn’t held a Big Ten opponent to under 1.05 point per possession. Offensively, the Gophers have not been over 1.00 ppp in 4 of their last 5 games. They need to move the ball with purpose, get better shots than they’ve been getting and start to be a little bit efficient on offense.
Take care of the ball - If there’s anything that Penn State does well, it is force turnovers. On the season they are 16th in the country in forcing turnovers and they are first in the Big Ten for Big Ten games only. This may be the single biggest key of the game.
Defend the perimeter - Sophomore Kanye Clark averaged 3.7 points per game last year while only playing about 10 minutes. This year he’s scoring nearly 19 per game and leading his team. He had 27 in the win over Wisconsin. But overall this Nittany Lion offense leads the league in three-point attempts. Qudus Wahab is a double-double threat in the interior, but he’s not likely to carry the PSU offense. The Gopher defense has to start on the outside.
I have some confidence in this game. Penn State is a better team at home, but I feel like the 2nd half of the Badger loss is going to inspire a little run by the Gophers. Much like the 2nd half of the Ohio State loss.
I predict that Garcia has a huge game and the Gopher defense is able to frustrate at least one of the Nittany Lion guards. This is a confidence-boosting win for the Minnesota.
Minnesota - 77
Penn State - 68