Exhibition Preview - Philadelphia U.

Basketball is back! - Patrick Smith

Year two of Pat Chambers kicks off against one of the coach's former mentors.

Who: Philadelphia University
When: Today, 4:00 PM (immediately after women's game)
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
TV: BTN.com
Radio: Affiliates, none

While many of you will be dialed into the football game, basketball returns to the BJC today as Penn State hits the floor for their first and only public exhibition of the preseason. It didn't take long for Pat Chambers to add his alma mater and former coach to the schedule. The Philadelphia University Rams, led by the NCAA's winningest coach Herb Magee, will travel to State College for their second exhibition. They already faced James Madison and lost 77-69.

NCAA rules allow teams to play in two exhibitions during preseason practice. Usually, most teams will play one 'secret scrimmage' as they're called and one public exhibition against a D-II school. 'Secret scrimmages' obviously originate from the strict NCAA rules that force these scrimmages to not even exist. No media or fans are allowed to attend, and no score can be kept.

Penn State invited Robert Morris up last weekend for their own secret scrimmage at the BJC. Not much leaked publicly about PSU's performance against RMU. Either way, the Colonials are picked to finish 2nd in the NEC, so they were a quality opponent to help measure where the team was at and what they needed to work on.

Now the history between Chambers and Coach Magee runs deep. Chambers played for 'the Shot Doctor' in the early 1990s as a walk-on. He quickly developed into the team's point guard and left the school as its all-time leader in assists. They made the NCAA D-II tournament every season when Chambers was there, including two Sweet-16s and two Elite-8s. PSU's staff is honoring the legendary coach today by wearing sweatsuits on the bench.

Another familiar face will be on the floor for the Nittany Lions in Pete Alexis, who transferred at the end of last season. The redshirt freshman has already started off fast for the Rams, scoring 13 points against JMU.

What To Watch For:

  1. DJ Newbill - Today will offer everyone's first extended look at the USM transfer. The hype surrounding the Philly native has built great anticipation for his impact on the floor.
  2. Freshmen - All three freshmen will get their share of minutes on the floor and have the opportunity to earn themselves a spot in the rotation. This will give us a chance to gauge how far away these young guys are from contributing.
  3. Tim Frazier's Jumper - Is it as fluid in game situations as its looked in practice? Everyone knows how beneficial this potential addition to Frazier's game will be.
  4. Team Defense - The forever ignored aspect of the sport will be big for PSU this year. If the offense has improved as much as Chambers would have us believe, then the defense will be the difference between wins and losses. Is Newbill the guy to take departed Matt Glover's spot as PSU's lockdown defender on the wing?

It's important to keep in mind that this is just one exhibition, so any made judgments shouldn't be too certain. The performances from this game will be long forgotten just two weeks from now. But it sure is nice to have basketball again.

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