Penn State Nittany Lions vs. No. 15 Indiana Hoosiers
Thursday, 3/8/12, 1:55 PM EST, TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Point Spread: Indiana -13.5
Current Betting Line: Indiana -13
Opening Total: 137
Current Total: 135
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Penn State will be the No. 12 seed and take on the No. 5 seeded Indiana Hoosiers Thursday afternoon inside Bankers Life Field House in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions tied for last in the conference with a 4-14 record after suffering a fourth consecutive defeat in dropping a 71-65 decision to the Michigan Wolverines as 5.5-point home underdogs. “It’s very easy when you’re in the situation like we were in to mail it in,” commented Nittany Lions head coach Patrick Chambers. Penn State is 5-12 ATS as an underdog this year.
The Nittany Lions dropped both series meetings with the Hoosiers this year, including a 73-54 loss as 15-point road underdogs on Jan. 22. Penn State has gotten a bit better offensively of late, shooting 45.6 percent over the last three games, which is a dramatic improvement from its 39.4 percent mark for the year. Getting the ball inside is key for this program, outscoring its last six opponents in the paint. Junior point guard Tim Frazier is the player to watch, leading the team in scoring 18.6 points per game and pacing the entire conference in dishing out 6.3 assists.
Indiana has won four games in a row and will try to avoid looking ahead to a potential matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers. The Hoosiers are already the most improved team among major conference programs with a plus-12 in the win column from the previous season and the entire locker room is wanting to push it even further. Since beginning a surge on Feb.4 in winning seven of eight, the Hoosiers have outscored opponents by a 76.0 to 61.9-point margin. Indiana is 10-5 ATS as a favorite this year and the “over” is 11-5 in that situation.
The Hoosiers have been one-and-done in Indianapolis in the first three seasons of the Tom Crean era, but this team is much different than the previous ones. Indiana has struggled at times away from its home floor and has gone 5-6 away from Assembly Hall this season. Freshman forward Cody Zeller has scored in double figures 27 times this season and Verdell Jones III is currently 23rd all-time in scoring in the program’s history.
Bettors will likely back the Nittany Lions due to their 5-2 ATS mark when playing at a neutral site, while the Hoosiers are 1-6 ATS when being a favorite in that particular situation.
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