Tonight at 7:00pm Penn State opens their regular season at the Bryce Jordan Center against St. Francis (PA). The Nittany Lions will look to win their 8th straight season opener against a Red Flash team that went 6-23 and finished 10th in the Northeast Conference a year ago.
Pat Chambers will open his second season looking to avenge the loss of University Park's drunk uncle, Penn State Altoona. St. Francis beat up on the commonwealth campus in a preseason exhibition 85-38 and the loss will undoubtedly weigh heavily on the minds of their Main Campus brethren as they take the floor. Show no mercy, boys.
St. Francis lost their top scorer from last season, forward Scott Eatherton, to transfer. However, guard Umar Shannon was named 2nd team all-conference this preseason even though he missed every game but one last year due to a knee injury. Shannon averaged just under 16 points per game as a sophomore. The Flash are coached by State College High graduate Rob Krimmel, who will make his debut on the bench after a being hired in somewhat dubious fashion this offseason.
D.J. Newbill is set make his long-awaited debut in Blue and White, and will start in the backcourt next to Tim Frazier, who was named to the Wooden Award watch list yesterday. Frazier is one of nine Big Ten players to make the list, and the first team all-conference point guard is 30 points shy of joining the 1,000 point club.
Jon Graham appears set to start the game (scroll down) after coming off the bench last Saturday in Penn State's exhibition against Philadelphia University. The redshirt sophomore put together an impressive outing, notching 16 points and seven boards in 19 minutes. It will be interesting to see how Chambers utilizes Graham and Sasa Borovnjak (who also played well in the exhibition), as the two are unlikely to see the floor at the same time due to Chambers' preference of playing a smaller lineup.
This is the first of three non-conference games that will be shown on the Big Ten Network's website with a subscription to their online streaming service. But if you can hold out for four days, the game will be shown on TV (BTN) on Tuesday at 1:30pm. Godspeed.
The season is finally here. Get excited.