BKB Pregame Intel: Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions had a rocky start in the Big 10 this year, but they have the attention of Northwestern Head coach Bill Carmody who evaluates the Penn State team as a group of shooters. With 8 wins pre-conference wins against a that blowout loss on the road in Columbus, the Lions in Evanston might look like an easy game for NU tonight. Don't count on it...

Some call it a 3 guard, some a 3 forward offense
even the PSU official site lists one starter as a Guard/Forward, but with 3 guys averaging double figures, Bill Carmody's postgame comments about Penn State [after the Minnesota win]sound guarded:
I notice the scores, they put the ball in the basket and we've got to be ready for that game. [Bill Carmody - UM Postgame]
Then Coach Carmody had this appraisal of Penn State on the Big 10 Teleconference:'
I think they have a lot of different guys who can score.

I've only looked at a couple of games, but that's what it seems to me, they have a lot of different guys that put the ball in the basket - its a pretty well rounded team - I think they're 8-4, 9-4 now . They can make 3 point shots, they change things around defensively, and they score inside and outside.
[Big 10 Teleconference]
And they truly do.

PSU OfficialYes, they're young, but have two shooters on the team. Geary Claxton, [right - PSU Official] that former Big 10 All-Freshman, is leading them with 15.0 points per game and 6.4 boards. Hard on his heels is a freshman Jamelle Cornley, [below - PSU Official] scoring 12.9. Overall the Lions are fifth in the conference in scoring at 73.5 ppg.

They like to play a slashing style, driving to the basket, and then follow on, or get the offensive rebound and put it back up. Claxton and Cornley both have almost as many offensive boards as they have defensive. On the surface, they look pretty good...

Or do they?
Penn State men's basketball coach Ed DeChellis doesn't think so; "Somebody's gotta find a way to make a play, defensively or offensively. Make a stand." -- The Collegian
Hmm, their coach seems to be sending mixed signals about this Nittany Lion team.

They also can play some D, 3 players average a steal a game,

But there are the Injuries: Penn State is another team chopped up by injuries recently. They report 3 players who have missed games and one who is done for the season:
  • Soph Guard Danny Morissey, last year's 3 point bomber for PSU is out for the season with a knee injury.
  • Frosh Center Joonas Suotamo - was out most of the pre conference, he scored 3 pts against OSU.
  • Senior PG Ben Luber is recovering [but playing] from a shoulder injury
  • Frosh guard Maxwell Dubois now has a stress fracture in his foot.
After promising the Lion fans more inside dominance, the loss of the 6-9 forward, Joonas Suotamo for most of the preseason hurt the Lions inside. The post spot will likely remain a by-committee approach with Comley or Travis Parker also playing inside. Suotamo was supposed to be in there but his injury has slowed his development..

"We're just gonna throw guys out there and whoever's playing well is going to play, give us some minutes," DeChellis said. [The Collegian]

Then there's the lingering effects of being humbled by Ohio State last weekend.
We were totally outmatched in every way - DeChellis [Big 10 Teleconference]
But even in the blowout game with Ohio State last Wednesday, two of the Nittany Lions scored double figures - Jamelle Cornley [20] and Geary Claxton [17] scored almost half of Penn State's 69 points.

PSU also had more offensive rebounds than defensive [15 to 12] scoring 12 2nd chance points but playing the Wildcats is different, as their coach noted to the Daily Collegian Monday...

"If we have more than 12 or 14 turnovers, you can forget it," DeChellis said. [Daily Collegian]

"You can't turn the ball over against them because that's that many less shots that you're going to have at the basket."

"You've got to play every possession like it's the last one." -- DeChellis in the Centre Daily

NU's deliberate style of play, coupled with several Wildcat players shooting well right now, and the 1-3-1 defense that NU uses much of time should hold down the PSU scoring but the Lions expect to be able to get their game going too...
"When you're in a zone it's hard to box out," forward Jamelle Cornley said. [Daily Collegian] "When a shot goes up, it's hard to find a man."

Against Minny, the Cats seemed to be able to find the guy who was ready to score and make him miss. With PSU, there are 2 starters and a bench guy who fit the "scorer" role.

In any case, NU won't be taking Penn State lightly.

I think they're well coached - They seem confident in themselves right now - Bill Carmody - [Big 10 Teleconference]
And the Lions are not expecting a "cake walk" in Evanston tonight.
We'll have our hands full again -- DeChellis

Coach Roy's Purple Reign 'Cat'egories:

The Big Gun #5 Geary Claxton
15 pts/6.4 rpg
Deadeye Dick #2 Jamell Cornley
59.8% FG Avg
The Bomber #4 Mike Walker
40 from the arc
[in 11 games]
Off the Boards Claxton
6.4 rpg
Charity Stripe #32 David Jackson
Walker off the bench
74.3% FT
80%
Super Sub Walker
19 mins/gm
Pickpocket #11 Travis Parker
Luber & Walker
all have 12 steals
Helping Hands Luber
4.6 assists/gm
Mr. Defense Parker
44 def rbnd/12 stls
5 blocks

+ Five players missed a collective 17 games during nonconference play . Williams is the only player on the team to play in all 11 games yet not start any.

Expected Starters 


PPG RPG
Forward
#2 Jamelle Cornley [6-6 Fr]
#11 Travis Parker [6-5 Sr]
12.9
10.3
4.8
4.9
Center



Guard
#3 Ben Luber [6-0 Jr]
#32 David Jackson [6-2 Jr]
#5 Geary Claxton [6-5 So]+
8.5
8.1
15.0
2.3
4.4
6.4

Totals: 54.8
22.8

PSU averages 73.5 ppg/36.7 rpg - starters hit 2/3rds of their points. + The Lions run a 2 Guard offense with Geary Claxton as either a third guard or forward. They also seem shorter than most teams in the Big 10 but they score.

Off the Bench
[Have Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:  

Games -
Starts

Minutes PPG RPG
#4 Mike Walker [G 6-2 So]
#41 Milos Bogetic [F 6-10 Fr]
#23 Brandon Hassell [F 6-9 So]
21 Joonas Suotamo [C 6-9 Fr]
#45 Cilk McSweeney [F 6-6 Jr]
12-1
12-0
12-7
4-0
11-0
19.0
13.5
12.6
3.8
9.5
5.8
4.6
2.8
.8
4.7
1.6
3.9
2.4
.8
2.5
Totals:

18.7
11.2

The Lions go big with their backups - 4 of the regular 5 are forwards

Challenges for the Wildcats:
  • Steal the ball - Penn State averages just under 15 TOs per game but they're worried about turnovers
  • More of the D from Minny - Vedran called it "Magnificent" - nuff said.
  • Don't let Suotamo get his game going - he has played with the Finnish National Team, has scored as many as 26 pts and 16 boards.
  • Work Mohamed back into the mix he's arguably our best defender - in rotation he can make NU's backups look better
  • Watch outside - the Lions have a couple of subs shooting around 50% from the arc.

Game Starts at 7 PM - Wildcat Time

Television: No TV

Radio:
  • WGN, with Dave Eanet and Dave Kaplan
  • NUSports
  • Penn State Sports Network - Steve Jones & Dick Jerardi
Gametracker: NU Sports

You can also Chat in the New Purple Reign Free Chat room


Statistics from the Penn State University official site
Links are to the original story source of the quotes
You can send your comments or "back door" information
to Coach Roy
or on AIM: CoachRoy74
Go Cats
Beat 'em All!
Talk about it on the Purple Boards
[Click Here]
Copyright 2006 by PurpleWildcats.com/Purple Reign
Quotes Copyright 2006 by original holder

Purple Wildcats Top Stories

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