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Penn State vs. George Washington Preview: Like Turkey, Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

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The Nittany Lions will return to the Smith Center on Saturday, after falling to GW there last year 76-66

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at George Washington Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Who: George Washington Colonials
When: 4:00 PM ET Saturday, November 26
Where: Smith Center, Washington, D.C.
TV: none*
KenPom Rank: 107
Vegas Line: George Washington -2.5
*This game (aka “The Revolution”) will not be televised, but you will be able to watch online, courtesy of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Where the game earlier this week against Colgate was an opportunity to right the ship and get back on track, tomorrow's game against George Washington should be a better barometer to gauge where this team is at. Up to this point the schedule has been a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Penn State has played a wide-range of opponents - from Duke at #1 overall, to Colgate with their kenpom rating of 231. Grand Canyon and Albany are in the high 100’s. Finally, against GW on Saturday, and against Georgia Tech next week, we’ll get to see Penn State go up against teams on their same level.

Scouting the Opposition

The Colonials go into the game on a 2-game skid, losing to Georgia and UAB. However, the team also holds an impressive 27-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. Despite a turbulent off-season that included the dismissal of head coach Mike Lonergan, George Washington hasn’t fallen apart under interim head coach Maurice Joseph. They have talent and experience, so this will be a win that Penn State will have to earn on the road.

What to Watch For

Yuta Watanabe and Tyler Cavanaugh have the ability to burn Penn State, especially if they can get starters Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens into foul trouble early. The pair combined for 32 points and 15 rebounds in the 2015 meeting between the two teams. Cavanaugh is averaging 18.8 ppg and 9 rpg this year, registering his third double-double in GW’s loss to UAB on Monday.

Prediction

I don’t think this team is in need of extra motivating factor after dropping 3 of their first 5. This game is one that they need badly to improve their non-conference resume going forward. It might fall under the “Bold Predictions” heading, but my gut says Penn State wins this by double digits.

Penn State 85 - George Washington 71