Game 7: UPenn Preview

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

The Nittany Lions will look to rebound from a rough outing on Wednesday night with a better showing against the Quakers.

Who: Pennsylvania Quakers (2-5)
When: Today, 2:00 PM
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
TV: ESPN3.com
KenPom: 66-57, Penn State (81%)

After Wednesday night's shambolic performance against Boston College in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Pat Chambers is hoping for a better showing against a 2-5 Ivy League team picked to finish near the middle of their conference.

The Quakers' only wins this season have come against two America East teams, UMBC and Binghamton, but they do have players capable of causing problems. Junior guard Miles Cartwright is a preseason all-Ivy Leaguer with a great ability to penetrate and draw fouls (averaging over seven FT attempts per game this season), however he may not be the biggest threat to Penn State--Penn head coach Jerome Allen has doubled junior forward Fran Dougherty's minutes from last season, and the third year coach's payout has quadrupled. Dougherty, who in 16 minutes a game averaged four points per contest, is leading the team in scoring and rebounding with impressive numbers to boot: 18.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg and just over a block in 32 minutes per outing. Penn State has faced a few good big men already in this young season, each with mixed success. If they can limit Dougherty's output as they did against Bucknell's Mike Muscala, the Lions should be able to handle the Quakers with ease.

Ease, however, hasn't been a part of the Penn State basketball vernacular recently, and the shooting woes that have plagued the Lions all year quickly tear to shreds any semblance of a perceived script. The team shot a paltry 35% against BC, which has unfortunately been par for the course so far. Ross Travis in particular, while averaging seven points and seven rebounds, is shooting at a 29% clip. His jumpshot has yet to fall with any consistency, and though Chambers has been supportive of the forward's attempts to expand his range, it would likely benefit the team if he were to concentrate on attacking the basket and banging down low where he has proven to be effective.

D.J. Newbill certainly looks like a very good player, however Wednesday night showed he has still yet to fully adjust to the point guard role in the absence of Tim Frazier. While he posted great numbers for a scoring guard (22 points, five rebounds), his assist-TO ratio of 1:2 showed that he still needs some seasoning in his new role, and that will come with time. Jermaine Marshall had his best game of the season against BC, posting 25 points on 8-13 shooting. The junior picked his spots very well and showed the right amount of aggression attacking the basket, where in years past he was a prime candidate for a charge call anytime he ventured into the paint.

In roster news, sophomore reserve Patrick Ackerman was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules before Wednesday's game. He saw nine minutes in the win over Bucknell last Friday, registering his first points as a Nittany Lion in the process. With rumors swirling of a possible commitment in the near future, it seems the possibility of a "carefrontation" for Ackerman may be in the works.


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