Year Two of the Micah Shrewsberry officially tips off tonight, when Penn State takes on Winthrop in the friendly confines of the Bryce Jordan Center to open the 2022-23 season. The Eagles are coming off a 23-9 season last year which saw them make it to the Big South Conference Tournament championship game, where their season ended with a 21-point annihilation at the hands of Longwood. Winthrop did lose a couple key members of last year’s team to graduation and the transfer portal though, which should make this a rather winnable season opener for the Nittany Lions.
Scouting The Opposition
Winthrop’s leading scorer from last year in DJ Burns (15 points per game) entered the transfer portal this past offseason to NC State, and their leader in assists, Drew Buggs (4.2 per game) exhausted his eligibility. They do however, return their leading rebounder in Cory Hightower (5.5 rpg), which should make it interesting to see how Kebba Njie or any of the other post players who goes up against him can do against Hightower crashing the boards.
What To Watch For
How does this eclectic mix of veterans (Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, Myles Dread, etc.) and newcomers (Andrew Funk, Cam Wynter, and five freshmen) gel in their first true bit of game action? Will the team play a little more up-tempo, or will Shrews opt to continue playing a slow, plodding, “gritty, not pretty” style? Will we see more consistent three-point shooting with the addition of Funk, as well a now fully healthy Myles Dread? How much action do we see from the five freshmen in Njie, Jameel Brown, Evan Mahaffey, Demetrius Lilley, and Kanye Clary? Perhaps most importantly: What will the starting lineup look like?
Penn State just has too much of a talent advantage to get a scare from an Eagles squad that has lost a few key players from last year’s 23-win season. Give me the Lions to roll in their season opener and cover the spread.
Penn State 75, Winthrop 60