Penn St. Info
Mascot: The Nittany Lion
Conference Record: 4-11
Typical Rotation Depth: 8
Spread: Penn State by 6
KenPom rank: 34
Players to watch: Myreon Jones
On this balanced scoring Penn St team Jones leads the team in 3pt attempts and makes, hitting 39% on the season. Jones also leads the team in scoring. Last time out vs Nebraska led the team with 18 points but took 20 shots to do so.
With the departures of Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens Penn St isn't running much offense through the post
- Seth Lundy as taken over the 4 spot from Stevens; his 3pt shooting has fallen off this year. Functions as one of the few shot blockers on the team
- Brockington is a lock down defender who mostly shoots inside the arc
- PG Jamari Wheeler spearheads this ball hawking defense that generates a lot of steals. He's a pure point guard in the sense that he barely shoots so you could see defensively challenged Kobe Webster playing some big minutes tonight
- Myles Dread still hasn't improved on his freshman numbers like this team would expect and often slots as an undersized forward for this small Penn St squad.
- Binghamton transfer Sam Sessoms is interesting as I wonder if the team might have been better off in the future had he redshirted. The high scoring combo guard functions as the PG when Wheeler is off the court and as an undersized SG when they play together. The Philly native is 2nd on the team in assists and 4th in scoring coming off the bench.
- John Harrar generates contact, getting to the line a ton while also racking up plenty of fouls on his own. Is one of 5 PSU players averaging over 9 points a game and leads the team in rebounds.
- Forward Trent Buttrick backs up Harrar but his poor finishing ability and defending makes him a substandard replacement
Penn St and Pat Chambers had built something in Happy Valley, being among the elites in the conference over the prior 3 years in KenPom ranking and on their way to the first NCAA appearance of Chambers' tenure. (Projected as a 6 seed by some) Covid-19 hits and there goes the tourney. Chambers mouth finally writes enough checks he cannot cash and just before the season starts Chambers is gone. Current Penn St assistant and former Duquesne and LIU Brooklyn coach Jim Ferry takes over for the team in November. While Ferry has the title of interim you have to wonder if he has a good shot at retaining the job of the 5th most important sport at the school.
Stylistically at this point I'd attribute Penn State's change in play and performance to the change in personnel as opposed to coaching style. It's slightly shocking given Jim Ferry's past and the lack of size on this roster that this team doesn't play faster. Penn St doesn't shoot all that well nor do they get to the FT line often. Their lack of size makes them vulnerable inside and no doubt the Huskers will spread them out in order to drive the lane. Penn St lives off of extra possessions, aggressively winning the turnover and rebounding games and playing with the sort of control Hoiberg wants to limit careless turnovers. Last time out, Nebraska turned the ball over 16 times and gave up 13 offensive rebounds though managed to win as the Nittany Lions shot a putrid 21-65 from the court.
Look for both teams to have relatively better offensive games in what should be another close fought struggle where the winner is the team that fades the least at the end.
Prediction: Nebraska 71 - Penn St 68