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Penn State vs. Colgate Preview: Looking for a Win Before Thanksgiving

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PSU hopes the return of Josh Reaves helps freshen up an offense that didn’t shine so bright at times last weekend

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Who: Colgate Raiders
When: 7:00 PM ET Wednesday, November 23
Where: Bryce Jordan Center, State College, PA
TV: BTN
KenPom Rank: 231
Vegas Line: Penn State -11.5

After playing 5 games in 10 days, the team is back on the court tonight against Colgate. A two-day break was much-needed, but if you notice a different level of energy in the game, it’s likely to be due to Josh Reaves’ added presence. The sophomore guard will make his season debut following an undisclosed leg injury that kept him out until now. Against Cincinnati, the team struggled to find any rhythm on offense, and while Reaves struggled from 3-pt range last year, he has the ability to score inside and in transition. Reaves was a game-time decision on Sunday, and aside from a little rust, we should expect to see him at, or very close to, 100%. If that’s the case, expect to see #23 wreaking havoc on defense. We can collectively hold our breaths when he goes up for a slam-dunk after a steal.

Scouting the Opposition

Colgate was predicted to finish 6th in the Patriot League in pre-season polling, and has started the season 1-2. The Raiders finished the 2015-16 season 13-17 after starting 4-7, and return three juniors from a team that shot the 3-pointer very well. Sean O’Brien (PG) leads the team with 12.7 ppg so far this season, but Tom Rivard (F) and Jordan Swopshire (F) are the other names to look out for. Swopshire is a familiar name to some, as he is the younger brother of Jared Swopshire who spent time with Louisville and Northwestern during his college career.

Only having played 3 games so far, Colgate was easily dispatched by #18 Syracuse, beat Cornell (229 kenpom), and lost to NJIT (221 kenpom). This a result we should worry about if Penn State loses.

What to Watch For

The return of Reaves to the lineup is what I’m looking for the most in a game that should not come down to the wire. Aside from watching his impact, I’ll be hopefully enjoying a more impressive scoring performance from the Nittany Lions. With the struggles on offense against an albeit talented defensive team in Cincy, look for the offense to return to their 80+ point scoring form.

Prediction

This past weekend was tough for the fans, even if the results were expected, but it’s not time to panic yet. Penn State will have the better team tonight, and I think they will be fired up to get the W after losing back-to-back games.

Penn State 85, Colgate 70