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Penn State Vs. Iowa: Lions Look for Another Strong Defensive Turn

The Lions are 4-19 all-time in Iowa City. To win there Saturday, they'll have to stop the Big Ten's leading scorer.

Penn State returns to the road Saturday at Iowa, a place where it has won sparingly in the Big Ten. The Lions also had a short break following the postponement of its midweek home game against Minnesota.

This could be a turning-point stretch for the Lions, who will play three games in nine days (two against Iowa). Here's a look.

Penn State (8-7, 4-3) vs. Iowa (13-5, 3-4)

  • When: 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday
  • Where: Iowa City, Iowa
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • Streaming: fuboTV
  • Radio: Penn State Sports Network
  • Series history: Iowa leads 32-18
  • Last meeting: Iowa 74-68 in February 2021

About the Lions: Penn State had won three of five before the Minnesota postponement, and the losses were by single digits to ranked teams in Purdue and Ohio State. Their January stretch generated notice among the college basketball ranking systems: Penn State is 70th nationally in the KenPom rankings and 83rd on the NCAA NET list. By hanging in that neighborhood through February, Penn State likely will receive an NIT invitation, which would make a difference in coach Micah Shrewsberry's first season. The difference Saturday could be Seth Lundy, Penn State's leading scorer (14.1 ppg) and defender who did not play against Ohio State. Shrewsberry said this week that Lundy was "day to day." The Lions will need him: They are 4-19 all-time in Iowa City, winning just once there in the past 21 years (a 77-73 victory in 2017).

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About the Hawkeyes: Why would Lundy matter so much to Penn State's defense? Iowa sophomore Keegan Murray leads the Big Ten, and ranks second nationally in scoring, at 23.3 points per game. Iowa also ranks second in the Big Ten (and fifth nationally) in team scoring at 83.9 ppg. As a result, Penn State has to limit the Hawkeyes' possessions and Murray's touches within them. Since Lundy guards the opposing team's top scorers, his availability means plenty. Without him, Penn State likely will group-guard Murray. Another player to watch is Jordan Bohannon, a sixth-year player who this month set the NCAA record for career games played (161 and counting).

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