Game 5 Preview: Longwood Lancers

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions begins the Barclays Center Classic with a home tuneup vs Longwood (hehe).

Who: Longwood Lancers (2-1)
When: Sunday, 1:00pm
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
TV: Big Ten Digital Network
KenPom Rank: 316
Vegas Line: N/A, PSU -20 via KenPom.com

High off an important home win vs La Salle, the Nittany Lions return to the BJC this Sunday for their first of 4 games as part of the Barclays Center Classic. If you recall, this event is split into two campus site games and then two games at the Barclays Center to maximize the 4-games-per-exempt-tournament scheduling rule. So the Lions two home games are vs. Longwood and then Monmouth next week. Neither team is expected to contend and you can criticize that both opponents could do much more to hurt PSU's RPI than help it. But this is the way it goes to get two quality games in Brooklyn.

Scouting The Opposition

Longwood University, a liberal arts college in Farmville, Virginia, is a recent member of the Big South conference as this will be their 2nd year in the league. They became a Division-1 hoops program back in 2004-2005, so this is their 10th season as a D-1 school. Their record is a measly 66-193 at this level after playing their first 9 seasons as an independent school. In the spring, they fired their head coach Mike Gillian and replaced him with Jayson Gee, who was the associate head coach at Cleveland State.

Longwood has only played two division-1 opponents thus far - South Carolina and TCU. The Gamecocks are still rebuilding under Frank Martin and aren't expected to make the NCAAs, yet they beat down the Lancers 82-44. However, the Lancers got their biggest win of their D-1 era, upsetting the Horned Frogs on the road 82-79. They host Brown this evening before they travel to PSU.

The Lancers are led by 6'4" senior Tristan Carey, who is averaging 20 PPG so far on the young season. The career 15 PPG scorer lit up TCU for 31 points on 7-12 shooting from beyond the arc. He will be the focus of Penn State's defense.

The rest of the Lancer roster is littered with underclassmen guards and undersized forwards. They will consistently have at least four players on the floor shorter than 6'5". Rebounding, as you might imagine, has been a problem so far for Coach Gee's team.

Key Matchup

For Penn State, the only way Longwood will give PSU trouble is if they are raining down three-pointers and getting out on the break off of PSU turnovers. Considering the Lions' strong backcourt has done an admirable job protecting possessions so far, it's not likely the Lancers' defense will be able to create many opportunities for themselves.

If the Lions' team defense is able to contest all game long from the perimeter, PSU shouldn't have any issues with the Lancers. As previously mentioned, it starts by slowing down Carey, who was dreadful versus South Carolina (12 points on 20 shots).

Prediction

This should be the first snoozer of the season and a chance to get Graham Woodward, Geno Thorpe, and Julian Moore some good run, while giving Tim Frazier and DJ Newbill some rest during this 5-games-in-10-days stretch. Payton Banks has yet to see the floor, so there's still an opportunity for him to red-shirt, but I do believe this game will mark his Penn State debut.

I like the Lions to keep up their hot shooting and stifle the out-manned Lancers, 90-64.


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