Monday, January 19, 2009

Penn State 65, Indiana 55.

Sigh. IU was more competitive in this one than in the last two games, and certainly didn't quit, but IU never really threatened in this one. And so goes IU's 15-game homecourt winning streak against Penn State, leaving Northwestern as the only Big Ten team that has never won at Assembly Hall (or any other Bloomington venue since 1968). While Penn State's offensive numbers were more impressive than its defense before this game, some combination of PSU's defense and IU's anemic offense accounted for this loss. Penn State didn't shoot or rebound all that well, although the Lions turned the ball over only 8 times in a 64 possession game as opposed to 15 for IU. Penn State's main offensive accomplishment was getting to the line. On the defensive side, this was just another in a long line of anemic offensive performances for IU (.85 points per possession). Matt Roth (2-3) and Brett Finkelmeier (1-1) were the only Hoosiers who shot over 50 percent from the field, and the team overall shot 37 percent and 20 percent from behind the arc.

Of all of the indignities of this season, this one might have been the toughest. By that I mean no disrespect to Penn State, a much improved team with a shot at making the tournament. Still, entering the game, this appeared to be IU's best chance at a conference win, and while IU was by no means embarrassed, Penn State plainly was the better team throughout, even on the road. This one was tough to swallow because before Saturday, I really hadn't accepted 0-18 as a reasonable possibility. It is.

1 comment:

Indiana Fan said...

Penn State is not a great team, but I think they've certainly not been in the conference bottom three yet this season. They went 7-11 in the conference last season and are even better this year. The Lions will be a team that gets occasionally humiliated, and we indeed had a better chance of beating them at home than say, Michigan State, but this isn't a loss to get too down about.

After us, Iowa is the second worst team in the Big Ten, especially with Cyrus Tate out in the short term. And after that, even though they're much improved, Northwestern represents probably our second-best chance for a win. Michigan & Penn State at home were probably our third-best chances, but they're the kind of inconsistent clubs that maybe we can surprise on the road.

0-18 is a possibility, but I still say it's not a probability.