One could assume Penn State's week off from the basketball court was a much-needed break. The coaches have been out recruiting (while celebrating someone's birthday), while the players were finishing their semester with finals. Now it's time to turn their focus back to the court and getting better as a team. The last time we saw the Lions, they turned the ball over on 33.3% of their possessions in an ugly 66-59 loss to Duquesne.
Chambers' club has two more tune-up games this week before they head into conference play in Ann Arbor in 11 days. Today's opponent is the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers, who come in at 1-8. The Mount has had a horrible start to their season. They're currently on a 7-game losing streak, and their best player was kicked off the team two weeks ago (Lamar Trice). Ranked 296th in KenPom's rankings, the Mountaineers don't seem to be tough test for the Lions on paper. However, in their two recent trips to the BJC in 2008 and 2010, Penn State won by just 5 and 4 respectively. Last year it took a 30-footer from Battle with 1.3 seconds left to break the tie.
I could take a further look into the Mount's lineup, but I'm adopting Chambers' philosophy. Penn State has too many problems in their own game to focus on their opponents. Besides, looking at the Mount's KenPom profile, they don't do anything well. This is a team that Penn State should handle with ease.
I'm looking for any kind of improvement offensively from Penn State. They've only scored over 1 point-per-possession in four games this season. Their last few times out, they've struggled holding onto the basketball. The Nittany Lions haven't played in over a week, so there might be some sluggish play early. A complete game from the entire team would be a welcomed sight, but that has always been a tough task with this bunch.
I think it's safe to assume Jon Graham is still out with mono, but the rest of the team should have benefited from the time off. Particularly Trey Lewis, who has had tough go of it recently with his right ankle sprain. A solution to Penn State's scoring woes could be the emergence of Lewis. They need him to get back on track before Big Ten season comes. I'd love to see a nice game from Trey tonight.
The game tips off at 4PM and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.