Now that we are half way through conference play, I am making a fundamental shift in the analysis. From this point on, the statistics behind the tool will be based entirely on conference play numbers.
A quick look at the numbers for Penn State and Purdue quickly point out the defensive deficiencies that the Nittany Lion’s have. Both teams effective field goal percentage is about the same but there is a glaring difference in the defensive numbers. Teams are shooting at 58.3% rate against Penn State which sounds almost like a lay-up drill. If the Nits are to have any chance tonight they will have to tighten up that number.
Penn State has a very slight edge on the offensive boards but a more noticeable one on the defensive glass. Staying even with MSU last Saturday without Claxton in the lineup is a good indicator that PSU could be expected to maintain that edge against the Boilermakers.
Both teams do an excellent job of protecting the ball but Purdue is much better at forcing turnovers. How well the Lions young backcourt can stand up to the very aggressive, very athletic, but equally young Purdue team will be something to keep an eye on tonight also.
Lastly, the 51 free throws shot by PSU against MSU has moved them out of the bottom of the B10 free throw shooting pack. While I certainly don’t expect those kinds of numbers tonight, Purdue does foul a lot while PSU’s soft zone fouls very little, so, if the Lions can stay aggressive on offense, they may, in fact, be able to pull off an edge in the free throw department tonight.
While Purdue is a formidable foe, tonight’s task doesn’t look quite as Herculean as it did just four days ago.