Penn State visits Northwestern in a big matchup in the Big Ten. Penn State is coming off a close loss home loss to Rutgers, while Northwestern is coming off two straight losses, with the last one coming against Maryland on the road. This is an interesting matchup because Penn State is on the bubble, while Northwestern needs to keep winning to improve their NCAA Tournament seed. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Penn State vs. Northwestern Odds
Northwestern is a 3-point home favorite against Penn State, but there’s no money line available just yet. The over/under is also at 134. It makes sense that Northwestern is favored here because they’re at home and have been the better and more consistent team overall. The over/under also makes sense because these two teams are decent on offense, but Northwestern is better on defense. This spread could also move a bit before tip-off because it’s small.
Penn State vs. Northwestern Prediction & Pick
The pick: Northwestern -3
Northwestern has been great this year by their standards. This will be just the second time that Northwestern will end up in the NCAA Tournament in their school history.
Boo Buie has been the best player for Northwestern this year. He leads the team in scoring and in assists per game for the season. Chase Audige is right behind Buie this year in terms of importance to the team this year. He’s second in scoring on the team and then he also leads the team in steals per game for the season. Ty Berry and Robbie Beran have also been very good for the Wildcats this season on the wing when needed.
As a team, Northwestern excels more on defense than on offense. They need to find more consistent offense to make some noise, but they can defend with the some of the best teams.
On the other side, Penn State has been inconsistent this year. They are on the bubble right now, and need to win more to feel safely in because they are on the outside looking in right now.
Jalen Pickett has done it all for the Nittany Lions this year. He’s been the best player for Penn State this season and done everything for them. He leads the team in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals per game for the season. Seth Lundy has also been very good for the Nittany Lions this season. He’s second in scoring behind Pickett and also leads the team in blocks per game for the season. Andrew Funk and Camren Wynter are also very good on the wing for Penn State this season, when needed.
As a team, Penn State excels more on offense than on defense. They’re very guard-oriented and have a very open offensive system. They need to be more consistent on defense to take that next step though.
This is going to be a very close game because Penn State is fighting for a tournament berth. Northwestern is the play here because they’ve been more consistent and are the better team overall. Another huge factor in this game is the fact that Northwestern is the home team too.
Penn State vs. Northwestern Key Matchups
Can Camren Wynter matchup with Boo Buie? Can Chase Audige matchup with Jalen Pickett?
Boo Buie vs Camren Wynter
Boo Buie has been very good this year and has carried the Wildcats at points. He averages 17 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Camren Wynter most of the game, who averages 8 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds per game for the season. This is a big matchup because of how much offense Buie accounts for with Northwestern. If Wynter can defend him well, then Penn State has a good shot.
Jalen Pickett vs Chase Audige
Jalen Pickett has been doing it all for Penn State this season. He averages 19 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Chase Audige, who averages 15 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds per game for the season. This is a big matchup because of how much Jalen Pickett accounts for with Penn State across the board. If Chase Audige can defend him well at all, then Northwestern should be able to win this game too.