January 28, 2010

Penn State Basketball: All Spine And No Orange Crush

So, here's where PSU currently stands: 8-12 overall, 0-8 in the Big Ten after suffering another defeat at the hands of Illinois, 77-67. The Fighting DeChellises are now only two more consecutive losses away from matching the program's worst ever start in Big Ten play (0-10 in 2003, during Jerry Dunn's final year as coach). I wasn't able to watch this game, but from reading various post-game recaps, it sounds like the same old shit: Prolonged scoring droughts, poor free-throw shooting, the inability to rotate or fight through screens on defense, and poorly drawn-up/executed set plays.

Oh, and don't forget the ongoing theme of PSU's inability to hold on to a lead: The team rallied from an early double-digit defecit to briefly take the lead in the second half, only to blow it again in typical PSU fashion. Perhaps this little tidbit courtesy of BSD explains it best:
It seems like every time Penn State has a chance to really seize the momentum, they turn the ball over or take a bad shot that keeps them from landing the hay maker. It's kind of like getting your Gamebreaker stuffed on "NBA Street" every time.
You would think by now that this team has blown enough leads to quit repeating such gaffes but alas, such is nowhere near the case. At least part of the blame has to fall on the coaching staff and their inability to set the team up for success. Apparently, Talor Battle was benched while he was in the middle of a hot streak shooting and had helped lead PSU back from their early defecit. I realize it was probably done to give Battle a couple minutes of rest, but I'm vehemently opposed to pulling a player who is still 'feeling it' and was also largely responsible for your team's rally.

With that being said: Props go out to Battle (20), Chris Babb (18), and DJ Jackson (13) for once again all pitching in double figures in scoring. Andrew Jones also deserves a 'pat on the back' for showing some signs of life (7 pts, 5 rebs) and--My goodness, has it gotten THIS pathetic to the point where I'm passing out orange slices on the sidelines?

Seriously though, 0-18 in the Big Ten is no longer a Keyser Soze-like myth that criminals tell their kids about at night, it's a sobering possibility. What's that, you don't believe me? Take a look at the schedule and try to name me more than two or three games on there that you honestly feel we stand a sliver of a chance in. I'm merely looking at home games against Minnesota and Northwestern, myself as our only hope.

Speaking of home games: I read in a PennStateHoops.com thread that "Ed must go" chants were heard from the Nittany Nation student section, can anybody confirm or deny this? If this is in fact true, then it's a sign that Ed's days are numbered, as in he's done after this season. Losing the Nittany Nation's support is the equivalent of former President LBJ losing the support of Walter Cronkite when the Vietnam War was mired in a stalemate, it's a devastating blow from which one can never recover.

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