Spread: Purdue -5; Total: 138
January 17th, 2021. 12 PM CT. Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana
As many of my readers probably know by now, I am a Purdue Alumnus and a diehard Purdue basketball fan. In fact, the cover photo for this article is me and my wife at this exact Purdue vs Penn State game a year ago. Here is hoping for a different result this time as the Penn State Nittany Lions return to action to take on the Purdue Boilermakers.
Purdue Boilermakers (9-5, 4-3)
Welcome home Purdue! After having their home game against Nebraska postponed, the Boilermakers ended up having a 4 game road trip in which they started with tough losses vs Rutgers and Illinois and a terrible first half vs MSU. The last three halves of basketball might have flipped the script on Purdue’s season. They were able to overcome a 17 point deficit to pull off an absolute stolen victory from the Spartans, then the Boilers followed that up with a convincing 12 point victory over arch rival Indiana in Assembly Hall. That gave the Boilers 5 straight wins at Indiana and 8 straight wins in the series vs their biggest rival. All of that happened in large part because of the play of Trevion Williams. He is the straw that stirs the drink for his Boilermaker team. He had 26 points and 9 rebounds vs MSU then followed that up with 22 points and 10 rebounds vs IU. Purdue as a whole is a very balanced team as they rank 36th and 31st in the country in offensive and defensive efficiency respectively. Combine that with a bunch of young players that are starting to click for Purdue and the Boilermakers might start seeing some top 25 votes in the AP poll.
Penn State Nittany Lions (3-4, 0-3)
Welcome back to basketball Penn State. I bet a lot of people may have forgotten about Penn State as they have now had 4 straight postponements. In fact, the Nittany Lions have yet to play in 2021 as their last game was the heart breaking overtime loss to Indiana back on December 30th. Fast forward two and a half weeks later and the Nittany Lions are finally ready to get back on the court to play the Boilermakers. Penn State has a pretty balanced offensive attack as they have 4 players averaging over 12.5 points per game. On the season, Izaiah Brockington leads the team with 15.1 points per game. Penny State has a sneaky good team offense as they even top Purdue ranking at 28th in the country in adjusted offense. The Lions defense leaves something to be desired though as they rank 82nd in defensive efficiency.
Last time in this gym, Penn State absolutely put on a shooting clinic in Mackey as they made 14 three pointers and won by 12 over the Boilermakers. This year’s squads look really different for both teams. Especially with so much time off, I can see Penn State coming out a little rusty in this one. On top of that, Purdue returns hoping looking great riding a 2 game win streak, while covering in both games. Outside of last year’s game, Purdue has owned this series winning 12 out of their last 13 home games vs Penn State. I easily expect Purdue to win this game, but now the question becomes by how much. Purdue ML is a good bet but not the best value at -225. Purdue teased to a Pick’em with the over dropped to 133 is a bet I like as well. However with Purdue’s stout defense combined with the rust from Penn State’s long layoff, I could see the game going under. Therefore, my best bet is Purdue against the spread. Take Purdue -5.
Matthew’s college basketball record 2020: 5-3