College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Penn State vs. Indiana (Wednesday, January 26)
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Micah Shrewsberry (Penn State)
- Indiana takes on Penn State after getting dismantled by Michigan.
- The Hoosiers will need more consistent play from their guards to go along with Trayce Jackson-Davis & Co.
- Tanner McGrath dives into this Big Ten affair and offers up his best bet.
Penn State vs. Indiana Odds
|Penn State Odds|
-106o / -114u
-106o / -114u
Back on Jan. 2, Penn State managed to hold off Indiana in University Park for a 61-58 win. The Nittany Lions have pulled off conference wins against Northwestern and Rutgers since.
So, are we expecting a revenge game for Indiana in Bloomington? I might, especially since Indiana is coming off of an 18-point home loss to Michigan.
Let’s dive into this Big Ten matchup.
In Micah Shrewsberry’s first season, he has the Nittany Lions quietly exceeding expectations.
Penn State is 3-5 in conference play, but the wins have the Nittany Lions in the middle of the Big Ten pack. It’s a good floor for Shrewsberry to build on.
I also love the way Penn State plays.
The Nittany Lions share the ball well and play great team basketball, and four players are averaging double-digits in scoring as a result.
The team works slow (347th in tempo) and has been good inside the arc (top-100 in both 2-point shooting and 2-point defense). Plus, PSU is pretty good on the boards (fourth in the Big Ten in opponents’ rebounds allowed).
All together, Shrewsberry’s team is great to back as an underdog. Penn State will muck things up, and it is 5-3 ATS as an underdog as a result.
While it’s a team effort, Seth Lundy is the Nittany Lions’ highest-usage player. Lundy takes almost 27% of the team’s shots and is scoring 13.7 points per gamae.
However, John Harrar is the Nittany Lions’ most effective player. He’s posting 10.1 points a night (with a 119.1 ORtg) while adding 9.6 rebounds at uber-efficient rates.
Penn State likely won’t ever be in serious contention, but it’s worth watching this team play. It’s enjoyable basketball.
At 5-4, Indiana is exactly where I expected it to be.
Indiana isn’t exactly high-variance, but the Hoosiers can be inconsistent. They’ll play up-and-down to competition often — like losing to Syracuse and beating Purdue.
It’s all guard play. The frontcourt in Bloomington is awesome, but I’ve never been a believer in the guards. Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee don’t grade out well in the advanced metrics, and neither inspire much confidence.
But those two showed out in the Purdue game. Johnson and Phinisee combined for 38 points and zero turnovers while shooting 15-for-30 from the field (50%) and 6-for-11 from 3 (54.5%).
When those two are rolling like that, Indiana is unstoppable.
That’s because Trayce-Jackson Davis is one of the best players in the nation, Race Thompson is a great interior defender and Miller Kopp is a lights-out spot-up shooter.
Good guard play would round out the roster and make Indiana a threat in March.
I’m not yet a believer in Indiana’s guard play — the year-long numbers are still deflated — but I’ve now seen the ceiling. Hint: it’s very high.
Penn State vs. Indiana Betting Pick
Eight points are too many in a Big Ten battle when the total is just 127.5.
Penn State is great to back as an underdog, and it has now covered in four of its last five games. But it’s also coming off of two straight losses.
I’m expecting Indiana’s best effort here after getting blown out by Michigan. But I’ve seen Indiana play up-and-down to competition this season, and I can easily see coach Mike Woodson playing down to Shrewsberry.
I’ll take the Nittany Lions at anything better than eight points. But I’ll keep this play light and won’t touch it under that number.
Pick: Penn State +8
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