What a difference three days can make. Penn State didn't come close to winning in the end, but their first half against #4 Wisconsin in the Kohl Center showed some promise. The Nittany Lions went nearly shot for shot with the Badgers, with D.J. Newbill putting on a show. On Saturday night, Penn State put on a show that only a Rutgers crowd could love. The Nittany Lions shot 15-52 from the field. That is bad. The Nittany Lions shot 5-27 from three point range. That is bad. D.J. Newbill, Brandon Taylor, and Shep Garner combined for 10-38 shooting. That is bad. Teams simply don't win games when they play that poorly.
Rutgers didn't play that much better, but they did enough at home against an unrecognizable Nittany Lions squad. Penn State has been skating on thin ice for a while this season, save for the George Washington win, so this was probably coming. They finally got their just desserts at the RAC.
Four Factors Analysis
As stated above, neither team shot the ball with any consistency or skill. The Scarlet Knights outworked Penn State on the boards, and the bonus possessions began to take their toll. Donovon Jack and Jordan Dickerson struggled against Kadeem Jack and the Rutgers' big men, though it's hardly necessary to single any one player out as the reason for this loss. It was simply a mess of a performance.
Player of the Game - You, The Fan
You watched this affront to the sport and you deserve some recognition.
- #coachong - Pat Chambers isn't immune from criticism here either. Penn State played sloppily throughout and he failed to calm his team down for any lengthy stretch of the game. His decision (presumably) to go for a game-tying three with 20 or so seconds to play against a team that was shooting 58% from the free throw line was a bit of a head-scratcher. It's squarely on him to get his team to re-group and put in a great effort to beat fellow struggler Michigan at home on Tuesday evening.
- The End? - Despite the "sky is falling" talk on the innernets, remember that this is far from the worst loss a Penn State team has suffered in recent years. The least timely, in a year that meant something? Sure. But the Lions are still in position to get to a postseason tournament, and there's time to make up some wins, however unlikely that seems after this loss.
I want to die.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 2, 2012
Penn State travels home to State College to prepare for Michigan on Tuesday night, who lost their most recent conference game against Purdue on Saturday afternoon. The winner will come away with some newfound hope. The loser will have some soul-searching to do. More on the Fightin' Harbaughs next week.