They say everything can be replaced, yo!
Since we last met: Penn State kept it close but eventually Northwestern pulled away in their only meeting thanks to a then-career high 20 for David Sobolewski and 21 more for Drew Crawford in Penn State's second conference. The Nittany Lions have managed four conference wins, including takedowns of Purdue and Illinois, but for the most part haven't been competitive, losing nine of their 11 conference losses by ten or more. Suckily for NU, all of Penn State's conference wins have come at home.
Who they got?: Penn State can essentially be summarized in "Tim Frazier". Frazier plays 92 percent of Penn State's minutes, has a 45.8 assist rating - No. 2 in the nation - and also takes 29.5 percent of the team's shots when he's on the floor. He's high usage, to say the least.
What are they good at?: Penn State is pretty solid defensively, especially at cleaning up rebounds.
What are they bad at?: Penn State is the worst offensive unit in the Big Ten, and we can figure out why: they're basically just depending on one guy to supply all of their offense, and while Frazier is quite good, he's no world-beater. Nobody on the team can really shoot the three - Cameron Woodyard hits 36 percent for the team-high - and what ends up happening is teams feasting on an undersized PSU in the paint. The Nittany Lions have a 44.6 eFG% - 317th in the country - and get blocked on 13.5 percent of their shots - 341st in the country, aka there are only three teams worse at keeping their shot from getting swatted.
Can NU win? Yes. Hit them with the 1-3-1 to prevent Frazier from creating, make them hit threes, and hope good looks fall offensively. Penn State has played decently at home, but for some reason they got hit with the 9 p.m. Saturday start time, meaning the stadium might be the emptiest of any non-Welsh-Ryan setting in Big Ten history.
Go Cats, yo.