College basketball preview capsules
PSU men at Indiana
Tipoff: Noon, Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
Records: Penn State 20-6 (10-5 Big Ten), Indiana (17-9, 5-4)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers is 147-146 in his ninth season at Penn State and 189-174 in 11 seasons overall. Archie Miller is 52-40 in his third season at Indiana and 191-103 in nine seasons overall.
Radio: Penn State Sports Network
Notes: What happens to Penn State now? That’s the big question down the stretch. The Nittany Lions were playing out of their minds with an eight-game winning streak that propelled them to a No. 9 ranking. But they looked bad the last time out at home in a 62-56 loss to Illinois that ended the streak. That kind of loss can have a lingering effect on a team that had been on a roll, especially when the team has to play its next game on the road. Furthermore, Indiana is looking to avenge a 15-point drubbing (64-49) at the Jordan Center last month and has been playing better, winning two of three since a four-game losing streak. The Hoosiers recently beat Iowa at home and are coming off a win at Minnesota. All of that makes this a tough game to predict. … Indiana is favored by 1 point.
Mirror prediction: Indiana 73, Penn State 69
Comment: I hate this pick, honestly. Went back and forth on it. Penn State is the better team. No doubt in my mind. And the Lions’ defense has the ability to shut down the Hoosier guards, which is what happened in the first meeting. But I just have a feeling the loss to Illinois brought PSU back down to earth a bit, and the law of averages will catch up with the Lions down the stretch with another close loss or two.
Mirror prediction record: 16-10
— Cory Giger
LIU at Saint Francis men
Tipoff: 4 p.m., DeGol Arena
Records: Saint Francis (18-8, 11-4 NEC); LIU (13-15, 8-7)
Coaches: Rob Krimmel is 115-131 in his eighth season at Saint Francis and overall. Derek Kellogg is 47-48 in his third season at LIU and 202-185 in 12 seasons overall.
Radio: Online at sfuathletics.com
Notes: Saint Francis is looking for its seventh consecutive win. … The Red Flash can lock up at least the No. 2 seed in the NEC Tournament with a win in this one. Then they’d have two games remaining and would have to win at Robert Morris in the regular-season finale to claim the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the tournament. … The Flash still have a chance to win the NEC outright or to finish tied for first. But they’d need first-place Merrimack (13-3) to lose at least one game. The Warriors close with games at Mount St. Mary’s and at home against Central Connecticut State. Two wins there and they claim the title in their first season in Division I. If Merrimack loses once more and SFU wins out, the teams would finish tied. Merrimack won the lone regular-season meeting, though, which would give it the conference bragging rights. Merrimack is not eligible to play in the NEC Tournament. … Saint Francis lost at LIU, 86-81, back on Jan. 23, in a game the Flash led by double digits early. Isaiah Blackmon had 26 points in that one for SFU, while Raiquan Clark had 28 for LIU. … Clark (20.0 ppg overall) and Blackmon (21.5 ppg in conference games) are perhaps the two leading contenders for NEC Player of the Year. … SFU is favored by 7.5 points.
Mirror prediction: Saint Francis 83, LIU 76
Comment: The Flash are playing great and peaking at the right time of the year, but they still have three tough games left and need to play well today against a good team to keep the winning streak alive.
Mirror prediction record: 20-6
— Cory Giger
LIU at Saint Francis women
Tipoff: 1 p.m. at DeGol Arena
Records: Saint Francis (11-15 overall, 9-6 Northeast Conference); LIU (6-18, 5-8).
Coaches: Keila Whittington is 11-15 in her first season at Saint Francis; Rene Haynes is 6-18 in her first year at LIU.
Live online: www.necfrontrow.com
Notes: Saint Francis leads the all-time series 50-19 … The Red Flash are currently in fourth place in the NEC, while LIU is in a three-way tie for seventh with Wagner and Sacred Heart … The Sharks blew out SFU, 71-53, on Jan. 27. LIU only took 13 3-point attempts in that game, but they made six of them. Meanwhile, Saint Francis was just 4-for-21 … Haley Thomas and Swogger rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the NEC from the free throw line. Thomas is 51-of-58 (87.9%) from the line, while Swogger is 54-of-65 (83.1%) from the charity stripe this season … Ryan Weise hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sharks a 66-63 victory over Sacred Heart in their last game.
Mirror prediction: Saint Francis 58, LIU 56
Comment: The Red Flash won’t shoot as poorly this time around, and will pull out a win with clutch foul shooting down the stretch.
Mirror prediction record: 17-9
— Nate Ritchey