Saturday, January 14, 2006

Iowa vs Penn State Thoughts

This was the first Penn State hoops game that I was able to watch since the Big Ten tourney game against Ohio State last season.

1. Penn State put forth one of their best efforts in quite awhile. Despite losing, the Lions did a good job at keeping Iowa from running away with this one. I don't think Iowa had a lead larger than ten all afternoon. After going up 20-15 and then proceeding to allow Iowa to go on an 11-0 run, I figured that that was going to be it, it would be all downhill from there. Instead PSU put up a commendable fight and gave a fan like me, who wants to see improvement under DeChellis, some hope that things are finally turning the corner. Iowa is a good team and Penn State gave them more of a game than they could have ever expected.

2. Jamelle Cornley and Geary Claxton are the type of players that Penn State needs to continue to land. DeChellis seems to be able to find one big time player like them that fell thru the cracks each year. Now Penn State just needs a couple more just like them. Cornley looks like a manchild out there, he is going to be one of the top players in the Big Ten in a couple of years. The same can be said for Claxton, though I didn't think this was one of his better performances.

3. Penn State is grossly undersized. The Lions aren't going to be able to beat many Big Ten teams playing with a starting line up with no player over 6-6. DeChellis needs to land one or two big men that he can stick in the post and give Penn State's forwards a chance to make some plays. The Lions rely too much on outside shooting because other than Cornley, they have a hard time establishing anything in the low post.

4. Mike Walker is a tremendous sixth man off the bench. He shoots lights out and carried the Penn State offense in the second half with his tremendous shooting. Penn State should have gotten him the play more down the stretch, especially in the final minute when Ben Luber made some very ill-advised decisions that ended up costing Penn State a chance to win.

Penn State faces Purdue at home on 1/18. This should be a very winnable game for Penn State and hopefully they can continue to feed on the momentum gained with the win at Northwestern and near upset of Iowa.


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