– MSU won the first meeting way back in early January by 27 points.
– PSU has 5 conference victories and hosts Nebraska tonight in what I’m guessing will be their 6th win. They’ve managed to record wins over the top two teams in the conference standings in IU and Iowa, though both of those games took place in Happy Valley. They have only two conference road victories so far, over Minnesota and Rutgers.
– Senior Brandon Taylor is their top scorer and rebounder and can pose some matchup problems at the 4 because he’s a decent shooter (35% from three) and yet has the strength to score at the rim as well. MSU will need good defensive play out of DD, Marv and possibly Gavin to counter him.
– The other Nit in double figures is sophomore guard Shep Garner, a young player I like a lot. He’ll probably be even better next season when they can get him off the ball more often, but for now he’s been a decent floor leader, a solid if streaky shooter, and a consistently aggressive offensive presence.
– As a team, PSU is not good at all from deep…sub 30% on the season. They’re also a middling rebounding team and not particularly great on the defensive end. They do get to the line at a decent rate, though they put opponents there even more. Honestly, when you look at the statistical profile it reminds me a little bit of Nebraska two years ago, where they were winning games in spite of almost every indicator leading you to conclude they should be losing. PSU obviously isn’t winning at quite the clip that team did, but their wins over IU and Iowa show that they’ve been capable of rising up on occasion.
– I expect PSU to try to slow the game down. Generally, I think Chambers wants to play faster than his experience and talent allows this season, but he’s certainly not going to get into a track meet with MSU. He’ll want to keep the possessions in the low 60s if at all possible.
– Hard to see how PSU is competitive in this game unless MSU comes out with a really, really flat effort and even then, I’m not sure that’ll be enough.