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    Game Day Essentials: Game #26 vs Penn St

      Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-8) vs Penn State (12-13)


      Date: Saturday Feb 17th,  2024
      Time: 11:00 am
      Arena: PBA

      Broadcast:  BTN

    Penn St. Info

    Head Coach: Mike Rhodes (year 1)
    Location: University Park, PA
    Conference: B1G
    Nickname: Nittany Lions

    Mascot: The Nittany Lion

    Point Spread: Nebraska by 7.5

    Typical Rotation Depth: 10

    KenPom rank: 92

    Nota bene:  

    • Mike Rhoades came to Penn St from VCU but he grew up in central Pennsylvania where he attended basketball camps at Penn St and was a D-III star guard 
    • Ace Baldwin and Nick Kern followed Mike Rhodes from VCU to Penn St
    • Penn St completely turned over the roster, having to replace 10 guys who either graduated or transferred. They're 353rd out of 362 D-1 teams in KenPom continuity stat
    • Thanks to the transfer portal, Penn St is 71st in KenPom's D-1 experience stat
    • In conference play when backup center Favour Aire plays, Penn St is 0-6.  When he doesn't play, Penn St is 6-2.


    KenPom most used lineups

      PG SG SF PF C Pct
    1 Ace Baldwin
    6-1  190  Sr
    2 D'Marco Dunn
    6-5  195  Jr
    3 Nick Kern
    6-6  200  Jr
    24 Zach Hicks
    6-8  200  Jr
    22 Qudus Wahab
    6-11  245  Sr


    Player to watch: Ace Baldwin

    The VCU transfer PG was the A-10 player of the year as well as the defensive player of the year. Baldwin is the 2nd leading scorer for the Lions as well as leading the team in assists and the conference in steals.  Baldwin rarely leaves the court and has played 231 of a possible 240 minutes in Penn State's last 6 games. At his best he's driving to the lane and drawing contact. At his worst, he's taking jump shots.


    Player to watch:    Qudus Wahab

    Wahab actually played in Lincoln two years ago for Maryland where he had 10 points and 6 rebounds. Before and after that, he was at Georgetown.  The 5th year senior has always been an elite rebounder and shot blocker but is currently having his best season due to his 64% shooting percentage. Expect him to draw double teams when he touches the ball in part due to him not being a huge passing threat.


    Player to watch: Kanye Clary

    Penn State's leading scorer is 5'11" combo guard Kanye Clary, one of the few returning Nittany Lions.  Like Baldwin, Clary has more of a driving game but is a better shooter, hitting 37.7% from deep on the season. Clary has come off the bench the last 3 games after returning from a two game absence due to injury.


    Player to watch: Zach Hicks

    The Temple transfer is a 3pt specialist and has the most attempts this season for Penn St. After a slow start he's shooting 37.6% from 3 in conference play.


    Others to watch

    VCU transfer Nick Kern is an inside scoring glue guy. North Carolina transfer D'Marco Dunn is one of several secondary scoring options which include his former Tar Heel teammate 6'8" wing Puff Johnson. 6'7" forward Leo O'Boyle was a 3pt specialist for Lafayette but has been inconsistent at best for Penn St. 6'4" Jameel Brown is an inconsistent 3pt shooter at guard.  Penn St has two backup centers in Demetrius Lilley and Favour Aire. Lilley converts at a high rate but is a human foul.  Aire is likely only to score on offensive rebounds.  


    UNL Game Notes


    Out indefinitely 

    5   Ahron Ulis     6-3    190 lbs    Junior - Likely out for the season



    15  Blaise Keita     6-11    257 lbs    Junior - Ongoing ankle injury recovery

    11    Eli Rice                         6-8    213 lbs    Freshman - Ankle injury


    Possible starters for Nebraska

    10    Jamarques Lawrence  6-3    183 lbs    Sophomore

    30   Keisei Tominaga           6-2    179 lbs    Senior

    3     Brice Williams               6-7    213 lbs    Junior

    4   Juwan Gary                   6-6    221 lbs    Junior

    51    Rienk Mast                 6-10    248 lbs    Junior



    53   Josiah Allick                 6-8    231 lbs    Senior

    0    C.J. Wilcher                  6-5    214 lbs    Junior

    9    Jarron Coleman            6-5    213 lbs    Senior
    1    Sam Hoiberg                 6-0    183 lbs    Sophomore
    21    Matar Diop                 6-10    213 lbs    Freshman

    35    Henry Burt                  6-7    216 lbs    RS Freshman

    2    Ramel Lloyd Jr.             6-6    210 lbs    RS Freshman

    31    Cale Jacobsen            6-4    200 lbs    RS Freshman

    24    Jeffrey Grace III         6-3    197 lbs    Sophomore 


    Hoiberg Presser

    The week off helped get rested up after a relatively grueling pace

    Ace Baldwin and his ability to score at will at the rim was brought up as well as Penn St's ability to turn teams over


    The Skinny: 

    Penn St thought they had their coach of the future in former Purdue assistant Micah Shrewsberry who won Penn St's first NCAA tourney win in over 20 years in just his 2nd season. Shrewsberry was promptly hired away by Notre Dame and Penn St starts anew with Mike Rhodes. This Nittany Lion team already resembles Rhodes VCU squads in terms of relentless pressure on defense and giving up offensive rebounds in favor of fast breaking. Penn St is going to try and manufacture as many transition buckets as Nebraska will give them.  Penn St's guard will try and run Nebraska off the 3pt line but one thing Rhodes doesn't quite have up to standard is his interior defense. The Nittany Lions are hemorrhaging easy looks for teams that can drive into the paint despite the presence of Wahab.


    Penn St is likely to win the turnover rate because of their elite pressure so it's more of a matter of limiting turnovers to a reasonable number.  Neither team is great at rebounding though Nebraska is much better at home.  There will be plenty of second chance points for whichever team has more energy which should be an advantage to the Huskers coming off a bye week.  The Huskers arguably are a better shooting team but probably will have the biggest advantage at the FT line. If the refs call the Penn St reach in tightly, Nebraska has a chance to run away with this is a FT shooting contest.


    The problem with playing Penn St is that they play hard and they tend to stay in most games.  The Huskers likely will have to play a full game if they don't want to spend the last 4 minutes sweating out a win.


    Look for Nebraska to have some home energy in this one despite the 11 am tip.


    Prediction: Nebraska 83 - Penn St 73

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    I hope this doesn't result in the false confidence we seemed to get when we found out Dawson Garcia wouldn't be able to return to our game in Minnesota.

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    1 minute ago, nuhusker7 said:

    Normally I would think great news about Kanye…. But Nebraska’s specialty seems to be giving up 20 to some random kid who barely plays

    Like the apple juice kid from Northwestern.

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    13 minutes ago, nuhusker7 said:

    Normally I would think great news about Kanye…. But Nebraska’s specialty seems to be giving up 20 to some random kid who barely plays


    Penn St roster is full of random dudes who can score 20

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