It figures that Penn State would follow up their greatest road win since 2005 by laying an egg against Temple at home. The Nittany Lions came out flat and never got it going. Though Penn State managed to close to finish within six points, it wasn't really that close. Penn State jumped out to a 10-4 lead, but then Temple went on a run to take a 15-14 lead halfway through the first half and they never looked back from there. They led by 6-10 points through much of the second half.
This team is just not good enough to the point they can just show up and win. They have to play hard every night, and on Sunday they didn't do that. They didn't play defense and they didn't play sharp on offense. The key part of the offense, the transition game, never got started.
The big blow was Stanley Pringle spraining his ankle in the first half. He didn't return, and the offense suffered for it. Hopefully they can squeak by these last four non-conference games without him, but the bench is pretty thin as Happy Hour Valley points out.
There’s barely a semblance of an inside game, particularly on the defensive end, and the backcourt becomes a hell of a lot weaker without Stanley Pringle in there. Danny Morrissey is a streaky shooter whose performance depends on how many wide open looks he get, and tonight he got zero because Temple’s strategy involved locking down on him and rendering him useless.
This brings me to my next question, why is ED so reluctant to go to his bench when the situation is dire? Could Woodyard and Babb done any worse out there? If he’s actually relying on a 7-man rotation to carry him through the season then we’re in deeper (BSD - bleep) than initially thought.
I have to agree that Danny Morrissey is more liability than benefit. He's good at getting open when Penn State is in transition. But in the half court offense he's too slow to get open off the screens. And his defense is terrible. So terrible that Penn State is forced to play zone when he's on the court. It would seem that he's all we got, but I have to agree with HHV. Could Woodyard and Babb be that much worse? I hope these kids see a lot of playing time over the next four games in case Pringle is slow to come back. And if Battle has to keep playing all 40 minutes he'll be dead by the end of the year.
So we ended our toughest stretch of the non-conference schedule 3-2. We gave up one we could have won, and we blew our chance to get the valuable RPI boost of playing Villanova. We should enter the Big Ten schedule with a 12-2 record barring a monumental collapse somewhere. That would mean we would probably need ten conference wins to make the NCAA tournament. I think that goal is on life support at this point. However, if we can pull off seven or eight wins I think we can still make the NIT. There's a lot of work to do yet, but first they have to focus on beating Army tonight.