The last time Penn State Basketball won a game as a ranked team I was still five months away from turning 4. I am now a 27-year-old married father of two. This long, long drought should finally come to an end on Friday night.
For the first time since 1996 Penn State is ranked. Yay! Now, the No. 23 Nittany Lions will welcome the Central Connecticut Blue Devils to the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday night. Barring disaster, the Nittany Lions should walk away with a 10-2 record and their first victory as a ranked team in nearly 24 years.
Scouting the opposition
Folks, Central Connecticut is bad. Real, real bad.
The 0-11 Blue Devils have been outscored by an average of 23.6 points per game. Their leading scorer is Greg Outlaw who is shooting just 39.4% from the field this season, leading to him averaging just 11.0 PPG. Other than Outlaw, no one is averaging more than 9.7 PPG. Their leading rebounder is Stephane Ayangma who is averaging just 5.0 boards per contest.
The Blue Devils are averaging just 56.5 PPG this season which is 434th nationally. They check in at 333rd nationally allowing 79.0 PPG and they rank 404th nationally in rebounding.
Among their various issues, Central Connecticut also lacks a true big man. This should create the opportunity for Mike Watkins and John Harrar to dominate the boards and in the paint.
What to watch for
Fighting A Sleepy Atmosphere - Central Connecticut is 0-11, students are on Christmas break, it’s the Friday before Christmas, there is a good shot that the Bryce Jordan Center will be less than rocking on Friday night. It will be up to Pat Chambers and his staff to get their guys ready to go to avoid a slow start in a (likely) sleepy atmosphere.
Opportunity For Seth Lundy - Seth Lundy came to Happy Valley as a highly-touted recruit. Due to the Nittany Lions having their deepest roster in quite some time the true freshman has not had to be relied on. With the Nittany Lions expected to roll, Lundy should see a good bit more than the 8.5 minutes per game he has averaged this season.
Stay Healthy - Not to keep beating the dead horse but Penn State should cruise in this game. In games like that, one of the biggest priorities for the favored team can be to avoid injury and stay healthy. With the full Big Ten slate looming the Nittany Lions will want to get out of this game with a clean bill of health.
Penn State is good. That’s still weird to say, isn’t it? Central Connecticut State is not. The Nittany Lions make quick work of the Blue Devils and then get ready for some well deserved time off to celebrate Christmas. Penn State 93, Central Connecticut State 58