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Penn State vs. Indiana Prediction: Hoosiers Seek Fifth Consecutive Win in Big Ten Tournament Opener

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 14, 2024
10 min read

The Big Ten Tournament is well underway, and the Penn State Nittany Lions easily won their first game against Michigan. Now, the Nittany Lions will face off against the No. 6 seed Indiana Hoosiers, a team they have already beaten twice this season!

Can the Nittany Lions win their third game against Indiana this season to advance to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, or will the Hoosiers finally get their revenge and secure their fifth consecutive win? Check out our Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Indiana Hoosiers prediction, preview, and betting picks below!

Penn State vs Indiana Predictions

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Indiana Hoosiers Betting Odds for Thursday, Mar. 14

On Thursday night, the Penn State Nittany Lions are 1.5-point underdogs on a neutral court against the Indiana Hoosiers in the Big Ten Tournament. During the 2023-24 season, the Hoosiers have a 15-15-1 overall record against the spread. On the other hand, Penn State has slightly outperformed expectations, boasting a 16-14-1 record ATS this season.

Meanwhile, the point total and Moneyline odds for this Big Ten matchup were not out when this article was written. On the season, Indiana has an Over record of 17-14 despite not being a three-point-heavy team, while the Nittany Lions have a 19-11-1 Over record.

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Penn State Nittany Lions +1.5 (-102) N/A N/A
Indiana Hoosiers -1.5 (-120) N/A N/A

Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. Use our FanDuel Link: Bet $5, get $200 in bonus bets.

Penn State vs. Indiana Preview

This Indiana Hoosiers team might have finished sixth in the Big Ten with an 18-13 overall record and a 10-10 record in conference play; however, the advanced analytics (and the people who created them) are not fans of the Hoosiers. 

Despite having the same overall record, conference record, and similar strength of schedule ratings and Quad 1 and 2 records, the Michigan State Spartans are an NCAA Tournament lock. In contrast, the Hoosiers must run through the entire Big Ten Tournament gauntlet to punch their ticket to the “Big Dance.” 

In fact, the Hoosiers and Spartans have the same Quad 1 record (3-8), and Indiana’s Quad 2 record (5-4) is slightly better than Michigan State’s (5-5.) Additionally, IU’s Strength of Schedule Rating (15th) is only three spots behind MSU’s (12th), per KenPom. So, why are the Hoosiers such long shots to make the NCAA Tournament in 2024?

One of the biggest reasons for IU’s long odds is its standing in advanced metrics like KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin (87th) and the NET rankings (94th). The Hoosiers’ reluctance to take three-pointers (and struggle to make the few they do take) and their inability to decimate “buy game” opponents earlier in the season has probably hurt them.

However, Indiana has been terrific recently, winning four consecutive games against Wisconsin (home), Maryland (road), Minnesota (road), and Michigan State (home). Two of those teams (Wisconsin and Michigan State) are tournament-bound, which has substantially helped the Hoosiers’ resume. 

Still, that streak and their recent play won’t be enough unless they string together multiple wins in the Big Ten Tournament, which will create a strong sense of urgency with this squad. It is clear that they are already feeling it.

Indiana has a significant advantage in this matchup, though. In their past three games, the Hoosiers rank 14th in field goal percentage and 28th in three-point percentage; they also have held opponents to 29.3% shooting from behind the arc during that stretch. The key for Indiana recently has been Kel’el Ware, who has had 26 or more points in three of his past four outings and has shot 73% from the field and 57% from deep in those games!

Another positive sign for IU is that Malik Reneau has stayed out of foul trouble in his past two games, accumulating five total fouls. Before that, Reneau had eight consecutive games where he logged four or more fouls, which is extremely poor. If Reneau can continue this trend of only fouling two or three times, then Indiana will be dangerous with its five-star frontcourt of Reneau, Ware, and Mackenzie Mgbako.

The Hoosiers get into trouble when they have to dive into their bench beyond seniors Xavier Johnson, Anthony Walker, and Anthony Leal. When they have to deploy other players, they give away leads or let opponents expand an already-existing lead.

Penn State has actually knocked off the Hoosiers twice this season, once at home and the other time on the road in Assembly Hall. The Nittany Lions took advantage of foul trouble to Mgbako and Ware in their most recent matchup; they also have knocked down a combined 48.8% of their threes in those two games.

Interestingly enough, Penn State was able to beat IU both times without Kanye Clary, who was the team’s leading scorer but then left the program due to undisclosed reasons in February. In his absence, it has been up to Ace Baldwin Jr., Nick Kern Jr., Puff Johnson, D’Marco Dunn, Zach Hicks, and Qudus Wahab to pick up the slack left. 

Find out below if Penn State can pick up where it left off last night against the Hoosiers and win all three of their matchups versus them this season!

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Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Indiana Hoosiers Prediction and Betting Pick

Indiana has had more success on neutral courts this season, holding a 1-2 record, with losses against No. 2 UConn and No. 12 Auburn. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions are 0-4 and have neutral losses against Butler, VCU, Texas A&M, and Georgia Tech. 

Additionally, Indiana is not going to be nearly as bothered by Penn State’s pace (51st in adjusted tempo, per KenPom) with super senior guard Xavier Johnson back in the lineup; he has missed a large portion of the 2023-24 campaign due to various injuries, including both games against the Nittany Lions.

Johnson’s presence matters because it gives the Hoosiers more depth at the guard position, which has caused them issues this year. Between his poise, quickness, ball handling, creation, and point-of-attack defense, the Hoosiers should lock up the perimeter much better than they have in the two previous matchups versus Penn State. 

Indiana’s offense is also finally clicking, as it has shot 53% from the field and 44% from behind the arc in its past three games. The Hoosiers have also shown substantial improvements in their three-point defense, which has cursed them in their two games against Penn State in the 2023-24 campaign.

The rest advantage matters here, too, with Penn State playing its second game in as many days, while the Hoosiers have been able to prepare for several days for the Nittany Lions. Back the Hoosiers in this spot; they are not going home just yet!

How to Watch Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Indiana Hoosiers

  • When: Thursday, Mar. 14 @ 6:00/9:00 p.m. PT/ET

  • Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

  • TV: Big Ten Network

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AUTHOR

Andrew Norton

148 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

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