Badgers vs. Nittany Lions: Wisconsin Takes on Penn St in the Big Ten

Wisconsin Badgers at Nittany Lions, Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA
Saturday, January 29, 2011, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Line: Wisconsin -4 1/2
Current Line: Wisconsin -3 1/2
Opening Total: 120 1/2
Current Total: 119 1/2
Money Line: Wisconsin -170 / PSU +150

Jon Leuer and the Wisconsin Badgers take on the Penn St Nittany Lions in University Park in Big Ten action Saturday. The Badgers are 3 1/2 point road favorites.

Wisconsin is ranked #15 in the coaches poll and #17 in the AP poll. They are 15-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten. The Badgers travel to Penn St to take on the 11-8 Nittany Lions, Penn st is 11-8 overall. Wisconsin has losses to UNLV, Notre Dame, Illinois, and Michigan St. All were on the road or at a neutral site, and all were by 8 points or less. Wisconsin has wins over Boston College, NC State, Marquette, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Northwestern. Wisconsin destroyed Northwestern 78-46 last Sunday in Evanston in the last game for the Badgers. Penn St has losses to Ole Miss, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Maine, Michigan, Purdue twice, and Ohio St. Penn St has wins over St. Joseph’s, Indiana, Michigan St, Illinois, and Iowa. Penn St beat Iowa at home 65-51 on Wednesday Night. Wisconsin leads the overall series 25-8 against Penn St and has won 12 in a row by an average of 19 points. Three of the last four have gone under the total.

Wisconsin has no significant injuries right now. Senior Forward Jon Leuer is on the mid-season Wooden Award list for College basketball player of the year. Leuer is averaging 19.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.4 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Leuer is shooting 47.1% from 3-point range and 83% from the free throw line. Guard Jordan Taylor averages 17.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists to lead the team, and 0.8 steals a game to lead the team. Forward Keaton Nankivil averages 9.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks a game to lead the team. all three of the top scorers shoot more than 40% from 3-point range. Wisconsin is outscoring opponents 70-57 on the season. The Badgers shoot 44.3% from the field and 37.1% from 3-point range. Badger opponents are shooting 39.9% from the field. The Badgers make 82% of their free throws. Wisconsin averages 33.3 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +3.5. Wisconsin averages 14 assists and 8.1 turnovers a game. The Badgers force 10.9 turnovers a game on defense. The Badgers average 3.8 steals and 4.2 blocks a game.

Penn St reserve guard Taran Buie has missed the last 8 games due to a suspension. He is not expected to play in this game either. He only plays 15 minutes a game and averages 5.8 points a game. The Nittany Lions are led by guard Taylor Battle. He is averaging 20.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists a game. He leads the team in scoring and assists, and is second in the conference in scoring. Forward Jeff Brooks averages 13.9 points, 7.7 rebounds to lead the team, 2.1 assists, and 1.8 blocks a game to lead the team. Forward David Jackson averages 10.9 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. Tim Frazier leads the team in steals with 1.3 a game. Penn St is outscoring opponents 66-64 on the season. The Lions are shooting 43.5% from the field and 31.9% from 3-point range. PSU opponents are shooting 43.4% from the field. Penn St shoots 73.9% from the free throw line. Penn St averages 33.5 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +2.8. Penn St averages 12.7 assists and 11.7 turnovers a game. Penn St forces 12.2 turnovers a game on defense. They average 4.8 steals and 3.1 blocks a game.

Wisconsin is one of the most disciplined teams in the country as they don’t turn the ball over very much and shoot over 80% from the free throw line. Wisconsin has clearly been the better team, but Penn St has played really well against the elite teams in the conference. The Nittany Lions beat Michigan St and Illinois and lost to Ohio St and Purdue by a combined 4 points. I don’t know what flipped the switch, but Penn St is playing much better now than they were at the beginning of the season. The Lions might even have played themselves onto the bubble for the NCAA tournament.

Our college basketball handicappers are off to a great start in 2011. Don’t miss out on anymore winners this season.

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