The Indiana Hoosiers and Penn State Nittany Lions play in a game serving as a strong litmus test for their Big Ten aspirations.
TV schedule: Tuesday, December 4, 7:00 PM ET, BTN
Location: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pennsylvania
The top and bottom of the Big Ten are fairly clear as the conference embarks on their league schedule. The nebulous middle of the conference is where things become particularly intriguing.
Both teams opened conference play with close games, one finding victory, the other defeat.
Despite an NIT championship last year, Penn State coach Pat Chambers entered this season on the hot seat – it was an NIT championship after all, not an NCAA championship.
Losses to DePaul and Bradley didn’t help his case, but a road victory over the previously undefeated Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge gave the Nittany Lions one of the best true road wins in the country to this point.
Still, they lost their Big Ten opener to Maryland, starting conference play behind the 8-ball.
Indiana began the season with decent-sized expectations, largely brought on by the arrival of future first-round pick Romeo Langford.
Big wins at the beginning of the season – including a dominant win over an NCAA Tournament-bound Marquette squad – blew the hype out of the water for this Hoosiers team. Duke put them back in their place with a 21-point blowout.
Indiana managed to pull out a tight victory over Northwestern, part of a winning weekend where the Hoosiers also secured a top 2019 recruit.
Happy Valley is a misnomer of a name for Penn State’s home dojo, though. It can be quite a hostile crowd for all comers, especially conference foes.
Indiana has a talented roster, but stopping Lamar Stevens is a task too large for most teams – Hoosiers included.
Prediction: Penn State 69 – Indiana 66