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Nitt Picks Doesn't Appreciate The Comparisons

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Since the night Taran Buie committed to Penn State following the Nittany Lons' win in the NIT Championship game against Baylor in 2009, he's been judged by the spectacular standard set by his brother, Talor Battle. As the star senior tells the Albany Times Union today, though, he'd rather people not try to compare the two.

"Too often people compare Taran to me, and I think he gets the short end of the stick on that," Battle said. "He's not me. He's his own person. I didn't do things wrong, I stayed out of trouble, I don't make kid mistakes. But not every kid is like that.

"So I don't think you should be judged because your brother is something. When people try to talk to me about Taran, I always say, 'Taran is not me, so don't try to compare us.'

"I hate that."

Let's look at what Penn State is missing in Buie, then. His 5.8 point per game average this season isn't getting anyone too excited, but the Lions could really, really use that coming off the bench right now. In Penn State's last three games, two bench players have combined for a total of four points. That's pitiful. It's an unfair burden on the starting five to be on every single night.

Ken Pomeroy's scouting report of the Lions list Buie as a "major contributor" and the second most efficient player on the team. Of course, a lot of that can be attributed to Buie's "chuck factor," or just hailing the rim with shots without regard for whether they're good shots or not, but still, when he's in the game, he's involved in trying to score about a quarter of the time. That's better than guys like Jeff Brooks and David Jackson let alone anyone off the bench. The Penn State reserves could really use him right now. Too bad he's put himself in such a bad position.

Top Teams Of The Decade

Peter A. Coclanis of the Los Angeles Times today publishes some stats and decides to crown USC and Ohio State the top college football teams of the last decade.

These statistics demonstrate pretty conclusively that Ohio State and USC were the top two programs in the country over the course of the last decade. One can make a case for the "body of work" of either school. Ohio State has a slight edge in most of the categories above, but USC has a better winning percentage in BCS bowls and two national championships to one for the Buckeyes. Moreover, Ohio State lost to the Trojans twice during the period, getting trounced 35-3 in 2008 and losing a thriller 18-15 in 2009. In the eyes of many college gridiron fans, though, the gap between the USC and Ohio State is great. The Trojans are treated as football royalty, while the Buckeyes are seen as royal pretenders, if not common footmen. In reality, the above indicators suggest, both schools are legends and leaders, not USC alone.

(rolls eyes at legends and leaders)

I'll concede the statistics Coclanis lays out in his article (you'll have to click through) paint a picture of true dominance in the last decade. The question is whether anyone respects that dominance, or should. Whether you believe college football players should be paid or not, it's still against the rules right now and USC and Ohio State have been the two most flagrant offenders of that rule in recent memory. Are those schools dominant because of great coaching and execution, or because top players know a culture exists at those schools where they can make some coin? And if the latter is true, how can the schools be considered on a level playing field recruiting wise with schools that don't have that culture around them?

Greene=Russell?

Earlier this week, we named Lady Lion forward Nikki Greene our Nittany Lions of the Week, and today, the Daily Collegian's Andrew Robinson profiles her. Coach Coquese Washington makes quite a comparison.

"She’s kind of like Bill Russell in the sense that she blocks shots and keeps them inbounds," Washington said at her press conference Wednesday. "We recover them and it leads to us getting some transition baskets and some easy offense. She’s a big part of why we’re able to score points when we go on those runs because she’s playing fantastic defense."

Everyone knows the ladies can shoot, but establishing Greene as a big time inside presence down the stretch would be huge for whatever post season hopes Penn State has. Baylor's Brittney Griner is case-and-point what a dominant big girl can do in the game of women's basketball, and if Greene can develop into anything approaching that, Penn State will have a special player on its hands.

In Scores Of Other Games

  • Ken Pomeroy's ratings suggest Penn State will finish with a winning record for the first time in a while [KenPom]
  • Previews of the Michigan/Michigan State and Illinois/Indiana tilts tonight in the Big Ten. 
  • Nebraska ends its licencing agreement with Taylor Martinez's dad. [ESPN.com]