Big Ten Tournament Central - Nittany Lions Take on Hoosiers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A new season is upon all 12 teams in the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament.

Everyone heads to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis with a clean slate and a 0-0 record.

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Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers has said throughout the season that he wanted to see the Nittany Lions play their best basketball of the season in March.  The Lions continue to get better with each passing day, and they will have another opportunity on the floor Thursday (2 p.m. on BTN) when they meet fifth-seeded Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

The Nittany Lions and Hoosiers met twice during the regular season, with IU scoring two wins (88-82 at Penn State and 73-54 at Indiana).  Penn State played three very good halves against Indiana.  If it were not for 16 made 3-pointers from the Hoosiers in the Bryce Jordan Center, the final outcome of the Jan. 8 meeting could have been much different.  At Assembly Hall, Penn State took a 29-27 lead into the halftime break before Indiana pulled away with a 46-point second half.

The Hoosiers enter the tournament on a four-game winning streak, including wins of Michigan State and Purdue in their final two regular season games.  Penn State enters the tournament 2-4 in its last six games with a one-point setback to Northwestern and a six-point setback to Michigan during that span.

VIDEO: Tim Frazier Named First Team All-Big Ten
Penn State junior point guard Tim Frazier is having one of the best statistical seasons in Penn State history, averaging 18.6 points, 6.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.  The Houston, Texas, native was honored for his superb season with well-deserved All-Big Ten first team accolades on Monday night.

Frazier led the Big Ten in assists and steals, and he finished second in the scoring race.  We caught up with Penn State's sixth All-Big Ten first team honoree after practice on Tuesday.


VIDEO: Indiana Preview with Assistant Coach Brian Daly
Following Tuesday's practice, we talked with assistant coach Brian Daly for a video preview of the first-round matchup against Indiana.  Take a look.



Quoting Coach Chambers
Head coach Patrick Chambers met with the media on Monday to preview the Big Ten Tournament.  Take a look through a collection of quotes on the matchup against Indiana and the postseason.

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On the team's season-long improvement...
"I just told the guys...we are getting better.  The results are not what we wanted them to be, but we are getting better.  Ross Travis' production was terrific on Sunday.  Jermaine Marshall, we saw a whole different side of him (against Michigan) and how good he could be in the future.  We know what Tim (Frazier) is going to bring."

On heading into the Big Ten Tournament as the underdog...
"We are playing with house money.  No one expects us to win.  [I told the team] to go out there and play fearless, care-free and just compete.  And then just see what happens.  There is no question we could win four games in a row.  We have to take it one game at a time."

On his first regular season in the Big Ten...
"I haven't had time to process it yet, but I love it.  I absolutely love this league.  I love the styles of each team.  I enjoy battling against these coaches and coming up with gameplans and schemes.  It has been a lot of fun, even with the record - 4-14.  We have enjoyed it, my staff and I.  I remember the Big East very well.  There is more execution in this league.  There are more skilled guys in this league...It is everything I expected, and we really enjoyed it.  We are looking forward to it in the future."

On matching up with Indiana...
"We are a different team now [than when we last played them].  We don't have Cam (Woodyard).  We don't have Billy (Oliver).  They are playing very well.  (Will) Sheehey is playing much better.  (Cody) Zeller has been a rock.  Jordan Hulls is a senior and you know what you are going to get from him.  (Christian) Watford played really well [against Purdue].  We are running into a very hot team, much like Purdue.  So, we have to understand what is about to hit us in Indy."

On Indiana's depth...
"They have weapons.  They have Verdell (Jones III).  They have guys off the bench.  Let's not forget about Matt Roth.  He is shooting 56 percent from three.  That is pretty amazing.  Everybody knows and everybody schemes for it, but he still is able to get shots...We have to play better team defense than we did at Indiana."


Stat Comparison: Penn State and Indiana
Indiana leads the Big Ten in scoring, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage, largely due to a dominant season inside Assembly Hall.  Indiana scored wins over Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State en route to an 18-1 mark at home.  The Hoosiers' numbers aren't quite as good away from Assembly Hall, but Tom Crean's squad is very talented throughout the rotation.  Indiana has not won a Big Ten Tournament game since 2006.  Take an inside look at the numbers in Thursday's matchup at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.


#12 Penn State

 

Big Ten Tournament
First Round

 

#5 Indiana

12-19

 

Overall Record

 

24-7

4-14

 

Big Ten Record

 

11-7

159

 

RPI

 

12

61.9

 

Points Per Game - Offense

 

77.5

65.5

 

Points Per Game - Defense

 

65.4

.394

 

FG Percentage

 

.491

.436

 

Opponent FG Percentage

 

.422

.306

 

3-point Percentage

 

.432

.380

 

Opponent 3-point Percentage

 

.338

.684

 

Free Throw Percentage

 

.759

34.0

 

Rebounds Per Game

 

34.7

+2.5

 

Rebounding Margin

 

+4.0

10.8

 

Assists Per Game

 

13.7

Frazier (18.6 ppg)

 

Leading Scorer

 

Zeller (15.4 ppg)

Frazier (4.8 rpg)

 

Leading Rebounder

 

Zeller (6.4 rpg)

Frazier (6.3 apg)

 

Assists Leader

 

Hulls (3.4 apg)

2-8

 

Record - Last 10 Games

 

8-2

0-2

 

Season Series

 

2-0

9-14

 

Big Ten Tournament Record

 

8-14

0

 

Big Ten Tournament Titles

 

0



Big Ten Tournament Bracket Analysis
While the seeds are different from the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, Penn State's draw is virtually identical in 2012.  The Lions scored three-straight victories over Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State before taking on Ohio State in the championship game last spring.  This year, the Lions again open with Indiana.  The winner of the Penn State-Indiana game moves on to face Wisconsin, which received a bye.  The Nittany Lions played two very competitive games with the Badgers during the regular season.

The highest seed in Penn State's half of the bracket is No. 1 Michigan State, which could be a semifinal opponent for the winner of Friday's quarterfinal game between Wisconsin and Penn State or Indiana.  Michigan State will play the winner of Iowa and Illinois on Friday.


Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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