November 12, 2010

No, We Did Not Forget About Basketball

Penn State's basketball season tips off in a little under an hour and a half when the Fighting DeChellises host Lehigh in an effort to complete Part 2 of a trifecta of Pennsylvania dominance.
Part 1 of the trifecta involved rallying from a halftime deficit to beat East Stroudsburg in their lone exhibition game while Part 3 will be played out in the Bryce Jordan Center next Tuesday against St. Joseph's. Tonight also marks the beginning of the end for one the most storied players in PSU hoops history in Talor Battle (pictured in video above, performing his typical man-crushing heroics). Boy, it sure seems like yesterday that I was giddy about how we landed Battle as a recruit and daydreamed about what it would be like to finally have an athletic point guard who could penetrate, dish, and score. Sadly, with the exception of the NIT title run, the results have been rather disappointing as Talor simply has lacked a supporting cast capable of taking this team to the NCAA Tournament. Given the departures of Chris Babb and Bill Edwards and the return of the same group of forwards that have underwhelmed the past few seasons, I see no reason to be any less pessimistic about the season.

As for tonight's game: I'm not going to offer a preview since I am writing this so close to tip-off. If you read Eric's preview over at Raise The Curtains however, you get the notion that tonight's game is unlikely to be a cakewalk. Granted, you probably figured as much given how shaky PSU looked against a Division 2 school in East Stroudsburg. The offense was rather stagnant (outside of Talor Battle of course), although Tim Frazier and Billy Oliver each pitched in 10 points scoring. Oliver especially, was a surprise from the perimeter where he drained a couple of threes. Given the fact the team lost its best deep threat in Babb, somebody desperately needs to fill the void and perhaps Oliver or even Taran Buie could be that guy. Meanwhile, Andrew Jones III, DJ Jackson, and Jeff Brooks need to be more consistent as post players. I know I'm beating a dead horse by saying that but really, at this point, it's all I can suggest until this game is in the books.

Unfortunately, my work+school work gauntlet leaves me with scant time for putting together quality hoops postings. Hence, Mike is in the process of trying to recruit a few capable young PSU journalism students to help fill the void left by my absence. Additionally, these students will not only be able to attend all the games, but will likely have press conference access as well, a first for this blog. I will be able to post on a semi-frequent basis starting in early December until late January when I'm on break from school. After that, who knows...I plan to finish my Master's program next August which means that better and more frequent blogging days are ahead of me, even if they're oh-so-far away.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a project to work on (while I attempt to distract myself watching the game on, of course).

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