but don't take the 6-11 [0-4] Penn State Nittany Lions for granted - they lost their last two games - against Texas A&M and Michigan by a total of 6 points
So the issue for both teams [according to the coach, Ed DeChellis] might just be confidence.
"That confidence is a very, very delicate thing. We just try to be positive with our players."A big disappointment and confidence shaker for the Lions was the discovery of a blood clot in Marlon Smith's head. He'll be all right down the road, but is on blood thinners that won't let him play the rest of this season.
Adding to that fragility might be the two freshman starters - forward Geary Claxton [right], and guard Danny Morrissey [6-3], who are joined off the bench by guard Mike Walker [6-2].
Smith's injury forced Soph guard Ben Luber [left] to take over all of the point duties.
Star in the making is Frosh forward Geary Claxton [6-5] - averaging just under 12 on the season, but almost 16 in the Big 10.
Penn State also has 4 players averaging double figures and scoring leader Aaron Johnson [right] is one tenth of a rebound from averaging a double double.
- Aaron Johnson's play up front - almost averaging a double double
- Claxton's overall play - 11.7 ppg and 6.2 rebounds compliments Johnson in a big way.
- The Nittany Lions have held on against two decent teams - they played Michigan even until 9:28 in the 2nd half, even got within 2 points with 1 minute to play, when the Wolves finally put it away.
- Their T. Parker also has recovered from his bout with the flu - he was the leading scorer against Michigan.
- 16.2 Turnovers per game.
- Loss of Marlon Smith - one of last year's "super frosh" guards who was averaging 11.8 ppg.
- Size - These guys are short. Johnson is 6-9, the other starting forwards are both 6-5.
- Smith's injury has put a lot of pressure on the team's practices - the Lions are limited in the number players available.
- Soph Guard Marlon Smith is done for the season
- Frosh starter Danny Morrissey injured his shoulder last week during a 2 on 2 drill. Geary Claxton's elbow landed on his shoulder, but x-rays were negative.
|The Big Gun||Aaron Johnson
||14.7 Points per game
|Deadeye Dick||Geary Claxton
||47.8% FG Average
|The Bomber||Danny Morrissey
||72 shots from the arc
|Off the Boards||Aaron Johnson
||9.9 rebounds per game
||Hits 87.9% of his FTs
|Super Sub||Mike Walker
||26.4 mins - 6.1 ppg
|Pickpocket||Travis Parker &
|Both have 17 Steals this year
|Helping Hands||Ben Luber
||43 Assists/2.5 per game
||16 Blocks/9 Steals
|Forward||#5 Geary Claxton [Fr 6-5]
#00 Aaron Johnson [Jr 6-9]
#11 Travis Parker [Jr 6-5]
|Guard||#3 Ben Luber [So 6-0]
#25 Danny Morrissey [Fr 6-3]
|Forward||#45 Jason McDougald [Sr 6-9]
#23 Brandon Hassell [Fr 6-9]
|Center||#24 Kevin Fellows [Sr 6-10]||9.1||.4||1.3|
|Guard||#4 Mike Walker [Fr 6-2]
Penn State was playing a 7 man rotation with a few other subs when Smith got hurt - they're now down to 6 players averaging over 20 minutes a game.
Challenges for the Wildcats:
- Get back to playing defense - Shut down the scoring of more than one player.
- Control the flow of the game - Don't let the Lions get running
- One more Wildcat has to step up - I don't think anyone cares who it is, but T.J., Vedran and Mike can't carry it all.
TV: ESPN2 - Dr. Jerry Punch and Tim McCormick
Radio: WGN [and XM Satellite Radio 187] with Dave [Mr. Wildcat] Eanet and Bob Hildebrand
Gametracker: NU Sports
Beat 'em All!
|Talk about it on the Purple Boards