February 17, 2010

Northwestern Preview: Because Winning 6 of the Last 7 Meetings Has To Mean Something, Right?

So, the Fighting DeChellises pay a visit to Northwestern tonight (8:30 PM ET, BTN) where they face a Wildcat team squarely on the bubble right now, and desperately needing a couple more quality wins while trying to avoid another bad loss like they suffered at Iowa last weekend. As if trying to avoid going winless in Big Ten play isn't enough motivation already for Penn State's players, the chance to prevent the NCAA tournament virgins from finally reaching the promised land should offer yet another incentive to avoid completely throwing in the towel on the season.

As Northwestern blogger extraordinaire Lake The Posts points out in his preview, PSU has won six of the last seven meetings in this series. In fact, you have to go all the way back to February 2007 in order to find the last win from Northwestern, which is due to the fact that the two teams only played each other once the past two years with PSU obviously winning both meetings. It should also be noted that the last time PSU lost to Northwestern, Talor Battle was still finishing his senior year of high school so you can mark down 'Unbeaten streak against Northwestern' as motivating factor #3 for Talor Battle and Co. tonight.

As far as PSU's chances tonight stand realistically-speaking: It depends on whether the typically piss-poor defensive efficiency takes a big enough step up in production to contain Northwestern's trio of double-digit scorers in John Shurna, Michael Thompson, and Drew Crawford. If one or more of those guys starts feeling it, you can forget about getting rid of that '0' in the wins column. Look for Northwestern's Princeton-style offense to also give PSU fits with a variety of backdoor layups and wide-open looks from 3-point range against that soft PSU zone defense and - You know what? Fuck it. Let's just take a look at some Talor Battle highlights and call it a preview.

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