What you need to know ahead of Penn State v. Illinois

Written by Francis Mizner | Edited by Andre Monroe

CHICAGO – No. 10 seed Penn State will kick off its postseason against No. 7 seed Illinois on day two of the Big Ten Tournament. The game will occur at the United Center in Chicago at 5:30 CT on the Big Ten Network.


Despite Penn State having won the last two matchups against Illinois, the Fighting Illini has the series advantage by a 32-21 record. The last time these two met was February 14, when the Nittany Lions shot 50% from three and had four players score double figures. Penn State took care of business at home and won 93-81.

Recent Success

Penn State has won five of its last six games, with two coming in late game-winners. The Nittany Lions are highlighted by its 10.8 3PM per game, ranking them third in the nation. In its 19 victories, Penn State has shot 42.2% from behind the arc, averaging 72.4ppg.

On the other side, Illinois is coming into today’s game losing two of its final three games, including a road loss to top-seeded Purdue. The team is led by All-Big Ten first-team selection Terrence Shannon, who averages 17.1 ppg, and Matthew Mayer, who averages 13.0 ppg.

Projected Starting Lineups

Penn State
G Andrew Funk
G Camren Wynter
G Jalen Pickett
F Seth Lundy
F Kebba Njie

F Coleman Hawkins
F Dain Dainja
F Matthew Mayer
G Rj Melendez
G Terrence Shannon Jr.

What’s Next

If Illinois wins, they will face No. 2 seed Northwestern which will be the third time these two matchups this season. The first game between the two was on January 4 when Northwestern claimed victory 73-60 at home, with G Chase Audige scoring 21 points.

Illinois got even with Northwestern on February 23, when they defeated them 66-62, with Terrance Shannon Jr. scoring a game-high 26 points.

If Penn State wins, they too will go against Northwestern, a team they beat only eight days ago. The back-to-back overtime thriller ended with a Camren Wynter three-point shot. The matchup would be just the second between both teams this season.

Francis Mizner covers Penn State Basketball for Insider Institute, Follow him @MiznerFrancis1.

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