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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nittany Lions Have a Tough Road Ahead

The Nittany Lions after 8 days off, head to Minnesota to face the Gophers who are undefeated this year on their home court. It is the BigTen opener for both teams.

Minnesota leads the series history 16-4. Three of the wins for the Nittany Lions were at the Bryce Jordan Center. Minnesota has won 9 of the last 10 games against Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have won their last three BigTen season openers and look for their third straight win with a victory tonight.

It won't be an easy task for the Nittany Lions. Some argue rest is good, others argue rest creates rust. A potential rusty team on the road against an undefeated home team will be tough. However, with winter break still on, the Nittany Lions may not need to deal with as many rowdy fans in Minnesota.

As usual, Talor Battle is going to need to step up along with his other starters. But the big key for the Lions will be their bench. Andrew Ott has played really well in the last 2 games. Against Gardner-Webb, Ott managed 12 points, 8 of which came from the foul line. The Lions will need to continue to get the ball inside, be physical, and draw fouls. Ott managed 7 points in the win over American.

The Lions are shooting 73% from the foul line this season.

The Gophers leading scorer, Lawrence Westbrook, averages 12.9 points per game compared to Nittany Lions' Talor Battle who is averaging 18.8 points per game.

Penn State is 8-4. Minnesota is 9-3. The game can be watched on ESPN2 at 9pm ET. Follow the game here on the Hoops Blog as well as members of the staff will be conducting a live blog throughout the game. Comments are welcome.

--Mark Elliot Wishnia--

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