March 3, 2011

Lady Lions to face Purdue in Big Ten 2nd Round

Purdue was expected to beat Indiana tonight in the opening round of the Big Ten women's tournament. But what wasn't expected was a close 66-62 final score. The Boilermakers had two players scoring in double digits--Drey Mingo (21) and Brittany Rayburn (23, 12 via free throws)--but were out-rebounded 40-30, while Indiana couldn't overcome sloppy turnovers and lower shooting percentage.

This is arguably the toughest bottom-half seed any 2nd round team will face tomorrow. Penn State was swept this season by Purdue, a series which featured one 10-point loss for the Lady Lions, and another 3-point loss that was much worse than it looked (PSU was down big most of the game). But Purdue showed some weakness against Indiana, which could, could be exploited by Penn State.

Making the pressure worse for Penn State against Purdue tomorrow, is that a rather pathetic Illinois (11-seed) upset Wisconsin, eliminating the dangerous Badgers from possibly facing the PSU-PU winner in the semifinal. Michigan (4-seed) should have little trouble dispatching the Illini tomorrow, though that's what we all thought about Wisconsin. Michigan is a much better matchup for Penn State, since the Lions beat the Wolverines twice this season, unlike the 1-1 split PSU had against Wisky.

Should the Lady Lions beat Purdue tomorrow night, it would open a much easier path to reach the finals, and a much better NCAA seed. Should Penn State lose, however, it would severely hurt the NCAA seeding, and possibly (as slim of a chance as it would be) losing out on a berth all together.

Tip off is 11:30 a.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network.

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