Penn State will look to ride a wave of momentum to another victory on Sunday afternoon when it faces Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison seeking a three-game winning streak. The game can be seen at 4:00 PM on the Big Ten Network.
The Nittany Lions (12-15, 4-10 Big Ten) defeated Nebraska last Saturday and Iowa on Thursday, both at home, giving them their first back-to-back wins this conference season. In those games, they put up an average of 68 points per game, well above their 62.1 average.
The No. 17-ranked Badgers (19-7, 8-5), however, are a cut above the Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes talent-wise, and especially at home, will be a tough matchup for the Lions. Wisconsin took the first matchup between these two teams by 52-46 margin on Jan. 31 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Check out some things to watch for in the game below.
When Penn State has the ball...
-Wisconsin frustrated Penn State senior Cammeron Woodyard the last time, limiting to him five points and forcing him to foul out. Woodyard has been hot of late, however, averaging 13.5 points over the last two games, both wins. If he can keep his solid scoring output going, it'll be a big plus for Penn State.
-Penn State kept the game close last time by limiting itself to nine turnovers and not giving the offensively-deliberate Badgers extra opportunities to run out the shot clock. Similar discipline will be a necessity away from the comforts of the Jordan Center.
-The Lions have done an excellent job of getting to the line lately and hitting the freebies when they get there. Penn State was 12-14 against Nebraska and 22-28 against Iowa. That's an 80.9 percent clip with a bunch of weight behind it. More success from the line will be helpful in any upset bid.
When Wisconsin has the ball...
-The Lions did a nice job of containing Jordan Taylor in the first matchup, for the most part, but he made Penn State pay with the opportunities he did get for 18 points. Keeping the pressure on him again while cutting down on the breakdowns will be key in neutralizing him further this time.
-Penn State has held its opponents to 31.5 percent shooting from deep in the last two games, a big part of coming out on top both times. Perimeter defense like that in this game would be a good start to keeping the winning streak alive in one of the Big Ten's toughest venues.
Wisconsin is always a tough out for Penn State, especially on the road, but don't underestimate what a little confidence can do for a team. For the first time in a while, the Lions are on a bit of a roll on both ends of the floor, and this game is their opportunity to measure how much they've grown in the last couple of weeks since the first game between these two teams. That might not translate into a win, but expect it to keep things close throughout. Pick: Wisconsin 62-55.