Coming off a crushing loss to Maine at home last week, Penn State will look to snap a two-game losing streak when it opens Big Ten play against Indiana tonight at 6:30 in Bloomington against the Hoosiers on the Big Ten Network.
Indiana is 9-4 so far this season, but 0-4 against top-100 teams, according to Ken Pomeroy, and 2-4 against top-200 teams. The Hoosiers only have two players, forward Christian Watford and guard Verdell Jones III, averaging double-figure scoring, though they do have six players who average more than seven points per game.
At 7-4, Penn State needs to take advantage of what looks to be a vulnerable opponent if it wants to have any postseason hopes whatsoever. A win in this game would keep the Lions alive for another day. A loss with a much more difficult Big Ten schedule ahead would be very damaging.
The Lions are likely hoping to keep forward Jeff Brooks on the floor in this game. With him safely out of foul trouble, Penn State has dropped only one game this season, a road loss at Mississippi. With him in foul trouble, Penn State has gotten blown out three times against Maryland, Virginia Tech and Maine.
Penn State will also be looking for some contributions off the bench. Sixth and seventh guys Billy Oliver and Taran Buie have had some good moments in the early going, but they've also tended to disappear on offense at times and take bad shots. Look for them to stay within the offense a little bit more as things tighten up in league play.
One final note, Talor Battle is expected to play in this game after injuring his hand against Maine. The senior guard was x-rayed following the game, but they came back negative and he should be good to go this evening.
For more on this game, check out Black Shoe Diaries.