Penn State will get its last chance to pick up a true road win this season when it caps its Big Ten away schedule with a 6:30 p.m. tipoff against Purdue at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Nittany Lions (12-17, 4-12 Big Ten) earned a 65-45 win in the first game of the season series on Jan. 5 back at the Bryce Jordan Center, but got a lot of help from forward Billy Oliver, since retired due to re-occuring concussion symptoms, who scored 21 points on 7-11 shooting from 3-point territory in that game.
The Boilermakers (19-10, 9-7 Big Ten), meanwhile, have won four of their last five games, their only loss coming against Michigan State at Mackey on Feb. 19. Last time out, they upset No. 13 ranked Purdue, 71-65 in Ann Arbor, derailing the Wolverines' Big Ten title hopes.
Check out some things to watch for in the game below.
When Penn State has the ball...
-Obviously, Oliver leaves a scoring void that someone else is going to have to feel for the Lions to win. Look for Cammeron Woodyard, who missed the first game with an injury, to try and be the guy, though he'll have to overcome his poor road shooting this season to do so.
-Sasa Borovnjak shot 4-4 for eight points in the first game. A similar performance in this one will be a big boost for Penn State.
-Penn State has been susceptible to falling behind big early on, then playing better toward the end of the game, but failing to catch up. A good start will go a long way in this one to help ensure the Lions don't go winless on the road in conference this season.
When Purdue has the ball...
-This will be the last time Penn State has to stop Robbie Hummel. It'll be a shame to watch the 16.5 points per game leave the conference after this season, but I can promise you none of the guys on the team will lose any sleep over it.
-A key part of Penn State's win in Happy Valley was perimeter defense, as the Lions held the Boilers to 6-23 shooting from beyond the arc. The Lions will have to bounce back from allowing 15 3-pointers in a loss to Northwestern on Saturday night, though, to shut Purdue down again.
Penn State spanked Purdue soundly and sent it straight to bed last time, but that was with Billy Oliver in the lineup doing big things. Therefore, this will be a good measuring stick game to see how much this team has grown without the junior forward in the last couple of weeks and what it might be able to do without him next season. Mackey is a tough game and Purdue is playing much better than it was in January, so its hard to see the Lions pulling out a win this time, but expect them to play well. Pick: Purdue, 72-65.