It’s a rare Monday night Big Ten game as No. 5 Indiana visits Penn State in Big Ten action – neither team will play another regular-season game on a Monday. That night is now the province of the Big East and Big 12 generally on ESPN (this one is on Big Ten Network).
Indiana at Penn State Betting Story Lines
Indiana (13-1) remains one of the national title favorites and was preseason No. 1, but the Hoosiers have looked shaky at times. They were beaten in overtime in Indianapolis by Butler and didn’t look great in a 69-65 win at Iowa last Monday in the conference opener and IU’s first true road game. The Hawkeyes were just 3-for-17 from three-point range or might have won the game as Indiana had its worst shooting game of the season (40 percent). Preseason National Player of the Year favorite Cody Zeller had 19 points and 10 boards to lead IU. He leads the nation’s highest-scoring team in scoring (16.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.1) but as of now is probably not the Big Ten Player of the Year – Michigan point guard Trey Burke is. In fact, Victor Oladipo is probably the IU MVP right now. The Hoosiers also lead the country in scoring differential at plus-28.3.
According to the school Web site, IU is 12-9 away from Assembly Hall since the start of the 2011-12 season and has won three of its last four Big Ten road games dating back to last year (Purdue, Minnesota, Iowa). The Hoosiers are the only team in the Big Ten with five players averaging 11 points or better per game.
Penn State (8-5), expected to finish near the bottom of the conference, opened Big Ten play with a 60-51 loss at Wisconsin on Thursday as an 18-point underdog. PSU shot just one free throw in the game compared to 26 attempts for the Badgers. Any realistic chance the Nittany Lions had of getting to the NCAA Tournament – which was probably unrealistic regardless -- ended when leading scorer and preseason All-Big Ten first-team selection Tim Frazier was lost for the season with an Achilles’ injury. The team is now 6-3 without him and, oddly, its scoring output is up about 10 points per game in that stretch. Frazier led the Big Ten last year in assists (6.2 per game), and also led PSU in scoring (18.8 points) and steals (2.4). Backcourt mate D.J. Newbill, a transfer from Southern Miss, is the only Big Ten player to rank in the Top 15 in scoring (15.5), rebounding (6.3) and assists (3.9) in the conference. The Nittany Lions have won five straight at home (3-0 ATS), although it wasn’t exactly against quality competition. Penn State has shot better than 40 percent in the last seven games after shooting under that mark in the first six.
The Hoosiers won all three matchups a year ago (prior to that Penn State had won two in a row and six of seven in the series). Two were blowouts – one in Big Ten Tournament – and the one competitive game was in State College. Almost one year to today, Jan. 8, 2012, the Hoosiers won 88-82. Indiana shot a scorching 16-of-24 from three-point range, led by 28 points from Jordan Hulls. That win ended Indiana’s 16-game losing streak in Big Ten road games, which seems laughable now because of how good the program has become. Just to give you a sense of timing, Penn State had hired Bill O’Brien as the team’s football coach recently before the game, and he was introduced to the crowd at the basketball game.
Indiana at Penn State College Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Indiana is a 16-point favorite with the total at 138. The Hoosiers are 8-4 ATS (0-1 in true road games) and 6-4 “over/under”. PSU is 5-4 ATS (3-1 at home) and 4-3 O/U.
Indiana is 1-4 ATS in its past five road games. Penn State is 4-1 ATS in its past five games. The under is 5-1 in IU’s past six against teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1-1 in PSU’s past seven after a loss. The home team has covered in the past four meetings. The under has hit in nine of the past 10 meetings.
Indiana at Penn State Picks and Betting Predictions
A win here would be semi-historic for Penn State. The Nittany Lions are just 1-11 (lost eight straight) under coach Patrick Chambers against ranked teams, and the highest-ranked team PSU has ever beaten at its Jordan Center was No. 5 Purdue in 1998. But the Lions generally play teams tough there, and IU didn’t look very good in its only true road game. In addition, Indiana might be glancing past this game toward Saturday’s matchup with Top-10 team Minnesota. The Lions won’t win this game, but they should cover a very generous spread. Penn State and the under is the pick.
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