Penn State vs Purdue Odds, Pick, Prediction: Boilermakers to Keep Rolling
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Edey.
Big Ten Tournament Championship
Penn State vs Purdue Odds
|Penn State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Penn State, who would’ve thought?
In hindsight, maybe we should have. The Nittany Lions are primed for upset runs like this with how high variance their brand of basketball is. The spread pick-and-roll offense can be deadly when Jalen Pickett is dealing and shots are falling. Both happened during this tournament run, setting up the perfect three-game storm.
Pickett is unbelievable. He lacks athleticism but is a crafty ball-handler, distributor and scorer, dropping 28 points on Saturday and eight assists in the first round.
Penn State point guard Jalen Pickett is the nation's only player averaging 17 PTS and 7 AST. While not a great athlete, he's so controlled, strong, & crafty on the interior. Great in mid-range, too
Read more on Pickett & other draft sleepers here: https://t.co/W8ykOQlH54 pic.twitter.com/BGE0fHOa0S
— The Box and One (@TheBoxAndOne_) January 31, 2023
So, the first question about any team playing the Nittany Lions is: How is their ball-screen defense?
This is where things get interesting. The Boilermakers have fairly inexperienced guards that struggle to stop dribble penetration, and Zach Edey can struggle to defend out in space.
Theoretically, Penn State’s offense should throw Purdue for fits, but why hasn’t it happened?
Purdue dominated Penn State in both meetings, winning by 13 in University Park and 20 in West Lafayette. The shooting splits weren’t bad, so I’m not chalking up either result to variance.
In reality, Purdue’s ball-screen defense grades out excellent analytically. The Boilermakers also have excellent post-up defensive metrics, which will help against the post-heavy Pickett.
Meanwhile, Penn State’s biggest issue is defense. Specifically, the Nittany Lions’ interior defense is horrendous, grading out as one of the Big Ten’s worst.
Part of it is Penn State’s small-ball nature, which only exacerbates the main issue. Who is going to guard Edey? The answer is nobody — at least well. Edey dropped 30 in the first matchup and 18 in the second on a combined 21-for-30 shooting.
So, looking ahead to this matchup, I expect Purdue to score with uber-efficiency and Penn State to struggle to establish their usual offensive flow.
In my eyes, Penn State is wildly overvalued here.
Penn State has played great during this tournament run, but the Lions were a bit lucky. Illinois, Northwestern and Indiana shot a combined 14-for-59 from 3, good for a 23.7% clip.
Penn State is also the conference’s hottest team, winners of seven of its last eight. However, amazingly, the Lions’ past five wins have been graded as analytical losses by ShotQuality (based on the quality of shots taken and allowed).
Add the matchup issues and the recent history between the teams, and Purdue should roll to a Big Ten tournament championship.
At anything under -7, I’ll be on the Boilermakers.
Lucky for Penn State, this recent run means we’ll see the Nittany Lions in the tournament either way.
Pick: Purdue -5.5 (Play to -6.5)
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