3 p.m. Saturday at No. 22 Penn State • Bryce Jordan Center Big Ten Network • 100.3 FM
Lions keep a competitive edge
Preview: Penn State coach Pat Chambers had to figure out something to motivate his team after suffering a third consecutive loss Jan. 15, a 75-69 decision against the Gophers on the road. The Nittany Lions suddenly lost the national ranking that was earned for the first time in more than 20 years. But the Nittany Lions (17-4, 7-4) have won five games in a row since playing in Minneapolis, including road wins at Michigan, Nebraska and recently Michigan State. That has led to a sellout Saturday, Penn State’s first since 2011. Meanwhile, the Gophers (12-10, 6-6) have gone 2-3 since their last meeting with Penn State. But they took their first true road victory of the season Jan. 23 at Ohio State.
Players to watch: Gophers center Daniel Oturu and Penn State forward Lamar Stevens were certainly not best of friends the last time their teams played at Williams Arena. The trash talking between them got so intense that it continued after the game in the handshake line. Oturu, a 6-10 sophomore, was just named a top-10 finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award for the nation’s top center. Stevens, a 6-8 senior, joined Oturu on the top-20 list for the Wooden Award recently. Clearly, both players love to compete, but can they keep it clean Saturday?
Numbers: The Gophers rank last in the Big Ten in three-point shooting percentage (28.2) in league games, but they went 9-for-22 from beyond the arc in Wednesday’s 70-52 win against Wisconsin.