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2023 Big Ten Tournament Championship: Purdue tries for the sweep of Penn State

The Boilers have got the better of the Nittany Lions each time this year. Can they make it a third? PIC: Elizabeth Robertson, Philadelphia Inquirer

We are down to the #1 and #10 seeds in the Big Ten Championship.

We saw #2 Northwestern and #4 Michigan State run into buzzsaws. #3 Indiana had a legitimate claim to the top of many Big Ten brackets, but they couldn't get it done either. Fifth-seeded Iowa and eighth-seeded Michigan were both first-round exits, #6 Maryland had an underwhelming showing. But in the end, two teams remain: Purdue and Penn State.

The Particulars Date: Sunday, March 12

Game Time: 3:30pm ET

Location: United Center (Chicago, IL)

Watch: CBS

Odds (Courtesy of DraftKings SportsBook - BET RESPONSIBLY)

Odds as of 10:30a ET, 3/12

Favorite: Purdue -330 ML

Spreads: Purdue -7.5 (-110), Penn State +7.5 (-110)


  • PSU: Andrew Funk O/U 12.5 points

  • PSU: Jalen Pickett O/U 19.5 points

  • PURD: Braden Smith O/U 10.5 points

  • PURD: Zach Edey O/U 22.5 points

The Case for Purdue

One of the most efficient offenses in the nation is rolling again after a tough month of February. The Boilermakers, who've spent nearly all of this season in the Top Five - and a sizable chunk as the best team in the nation - went 3-4 last month after taking a 22-1 record into the first week of February. But since their last loss to Indiana on February 25th, they're cruising; wins over Wisconsin & Illinois rounded out a 15-5 Big Ten conference record, and wins over Rutgers & Ohio State got the Boilers to the championship game.

Purdue plays exceptionally efficient offense, so a Penn State team that is good...but not great...invites a favorable matchup. The Nittany Lions do not force many turnovers on the defensive end, and the ball in Zach Edey's hand is generally not a great thing. Purdue, on the other hand, allowed eleven threes to Penn State the last time they played, and they still cruised. If the Boilers keep the Nittany Lions out of the paint, which they've had no problem doing the past two matchups, this game belongs to Purdue.

The Case for Penn State

The tip for Purdue was to keep Penn State out of the paint, but they shouldn't have much to worry about as Penn State doesn't have the talent to hang with them down low. Where they most certainly outshine Purdue, though, is from beyond-the-arc; the Nittany Lions are the 8th-best three-point shooting team in the nation. Although this game can't just be simplified to "make your shots," it says a lot that in their last two meetings, Penn State's field goal percentages weren't even that bad, but still wasn't enough to push them over the edge. If they can fire enough threes early, this is going to be a very interesting one. Of course, the usual A-game for Jalen Pickett - who was a standout at Siena and is making a name for himself at Penn State with his three-point prowess - will be necessary for the Lions to even be in this one.


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