Free Tickets and Dollar Dogs: PSU-Illinois Preview
Tonight, Coach Pat Chambers and the Penn State Men’s basketball team will welcome the 22nd ranked Illinois Fighting Illini to the Bryce Jordan Center for a Big Ten conference clash. The game is scheduled for a primetime 9 pm start and will be broadcast on ESPN2. For students, if you wear a gray Penn State shirt to the game, attendance is FREE. It’s also Dollar Dog Night, so there is really no reason to miss out on this game.
Illinois (15-3 overall, 4-1 Big Ten) currently sits atop of the Big Ten standings, tied with Michigan State. They’re riding on a three game winning streak, including a huge upset over then-5th-ranked Ohio State that included a monstrous 43-point performance from guard Brandon Paul. The Illini are led offensively by Paul (13.8 ppg), center Meyers Leonard (13.0 ppg), and guard DJ Richardson (13.0 ppg). They have also defeated Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern in conference play this season. However, they were blown out on the road by a Purdue team that Penn State beat convincingly.
Penn State (9-10 overall, 1-5 Big Ten) has dropped three straight Big Ten contests since their impressive beat-down of Purdue. The Lions are led by do-it-all guard Tim Frazier. Frazier leads the team in scoring, assists, rebounding, and steals and will need significant help from his supporting cast if the Lions want to notch the upset.
Guard Jermaine Marshall is second on the team in scoring (10.1 ppg) but has been extremely inconsistent this season. The Lions will need Marshall, along with the outside shooting threats Billy Oliver (7.3 ppg, who may sit out with the flu) and Cammeron Woodyard (8.3 ppg) to perform well to take some pressure off the shoulders of Frazier. Big men Sasa Boravnjak and Jonathan Graham will need to be tough in the paint in order to deal with the 7-foot-1 Meyers Leonard .
Penn State and Illinois have a recent history of close battles. The teams have split the past twelve meetings and nine of those games have been decided by six points or less. Illinois is the more talented team, but don’t be surprised if the Lions pull off the upset.
Students: There is no excuse not to come out and support the team tonight: Free attendance (with your favorite gray shirt), dollar hot dogs, prime time Big Ten basketball, and a nationally-televised Big Ten game. What more could you ask for?