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Northwestern vs. Penn State: TV channel, start time, online streaming, radio, odds, more

The Wildcats look to avenge their January loss to the Nittany Lions.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern men's basketball is in University Park, Pa. — commonly known as Happy Valley — Thursday for its penultimate game of the 2015-16 regular season. The Wildcats take on Penn State in a rematch of NU's worst loss of the season.

There's one big bit of pregame news. Northwestern backup center Joey van Zegeren has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained Monday in practice. That means that van Zegeren, a senior, has played his last minute of college basketball.

Thursday's game is crucial for Big Ten Tournament seeding. With Nebraska losing to Purdue on Tuesday, here are some plausible scenarios, and the resulting seeds:

If Northwestern wins out, it will get the 9-seed and earn a date with the 8-seed on Thursday — and, if it wins Thursday, the 1-seed on Friday.

If Northwestern loses out, it will likely get the 11-seed and play Rutgers on Wednesday. A win would then get it a matchup with the 6-seed on Thursday. Technically, Northwestern could fall to the 12-seed if it loses out and Illinois wins out.

Now it starts getting funky. Let's play some scenarios.

Scenario 1

Northwestern loses to Penn State, beats Nebraska
Nebraska loses to Northwestern, loses to Purdue
Penn State beats Northwestern, beats Illinois

Penn State finishes 8-10
Northwestern finishes 7-11
Nebraska finishes 6-12

Hooray for simplicity. Northwestern takes the 10-seed and plays the 7-seed on Thursday.

Scenario 2

Northwestern loses to Penn State, beats Nebraska
Nebraska loses to Northwestern, loses to Purdue
Penn State beats Northwestern, loses to Illinois

Penn State finishes 7-11
Northwestern finishes 7-11
Nebraska finishes 6-12

Northwestern would avoid playing in the first round, but would not get the 9-seed, having been swept in the season series with Penn State. Ten-seed here we come.

Now let's get weird.

Scenario 3

Northwestern beats Penn State, loses to Nebraska
Penn State loses to Northwestern, beats Illinois
Nebraska beats Northwestern, loses to Purdue

Penn State finishes 7-11 (2-2 vs NU, NEB)
Northwestern finishes 7-11 (2-2 vs NEB, PSU)
Nebraska finishes 7-11 (2-2 vs PSU, NU)

Oh boy. If that all goes down, Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska will all finish with identical conference and head-to-head records, which means we go to the "how did these teams do against the best of the conference" tiebreaker. Penn State has beaten Indiana and Iowa, so the Nittany Lions would have the best shot at the 9-seed. If Indiana wins one of its last two, Penn State would get it.

Northwestern's best win is against Wisconsin. Nebraska's best win is against Michigan State. Therefore, if Wisconsin wins a tiebreaker at the top and gets the 1-seed, Northwestern would get the 9-seed. If Michigan State finishes higher than all of Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana, Nebraska would get the 9-seed. If either Indiana or Iowa finishes highest among the four, Penn State would get the 9-seed. The same tiebreaker would apply to determine which teams get the 10- and 11-seeds.

That would be bad for my health.

Scenario 4

Northwestern beats Penn State, loses to Nebraska
Penn State loses to Northwestern, loses to Illinois
Nebraska beats Northwestern, loses to Purdue

Northwestern finishes 7-11
Nebraska finishes 7-11
Penn State finishes 6-12

Here, Northwestern avoids the first round, but the tiebreaker between Northwestern and Nebraska would be — you guessed it — whoever finishes higher in the standings, Michigan State or Wisconsin. If Michigan State noses ahead, Nebraska gets the 9-seed, if Wisconsin takes the lead, Northwestern does.

Basically, Thursday's result will tell us a lot more about when (and whom) Northwestern will be playing in Indianapolis.

For a preview of the matchup with Penn State, Zach Pereles has you covered. For broadcast information...

Broadcast Information

Game time: 8 p.m. CT
Mobile: WatchESPN app
Radio: ESPN 100, Sirius 93, XM 195
Line: Even
KenPom: Penn State 64-63 (51 percent)

Other Northwestern sports on Thursday

- Northwestern lacrosse is in Louisville, Ky. to take on the 12th-ranked Cardinals at noon CT. Follow @insidenu on Twitter for updates.

- Women's basketball survived and advanced to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, where it will play Minnesota (1:30 p.m. CT, Big Ten Network).