Micah Shrewsberry and his staff continue to turn heads in their first year in Happy Valley. Following an upset victory over no. 19 Michigan State and a blowout of Minnesota, the Penn State Nittany Lions are now 11-12 overall on the season and a nice 6-9 in Big Ten conference play.
While sitting at sub-.500 in late February is never what any college basketball fan base is looking for it is one that has been a success for the Nittany Lions. Penn State as projected to finish in the basement of the Big Ten this season, so to see them knocking on the door of a .500 season is a hue improvement for the Nittany Lions.
Eying their third win in a row the Nittany Lions will travel to College Park on Monday night where the Maryland Terrapins await. Like the Nittany Lions, the Terrapins are a sub-.500 team. However, the optimism around the Terps squad is not there that is there for Penn State.
Maryland sits at just 4-11 in Big Ten play. The Terps enter this game reeling having lost five of their last six games, and 10 of their last 14. While the Nittany Lions will be the road team they are the team playing the better basketball of the two.
Scouting The Opposition
Maryland is a team that struggles offensively. The Terps average just 70.8 PPG which ranks 209th nationally. Maryland shoots just 43.1% from the field and 32.3% from three-point range.
The leading scorer for the Terps is Eric Ayala who his averaging 14.6 PPG. Fatts Russell is scoring 14.0 PPG for the Terps and Donta Scott can also be a menacing averaging 12.7 PPG for the Terps.
Maryland appears to be primed for the picking. They are allowing over 70 PPG and have allowed over 70 points 11 times this season. Each of these 11 occurrences have come in their last 20 games played.
This should be an opportunity for the Nittany Lion offense. Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, Sam Sessoms, and Myles Dread could all get cooking with their jump shots. If nothing else, Penn State having a huge advantage defensively should prove to work in their favor on Monday night.
What To Watch For
Potential big game for John Harrar - Monday night could be a big game for John Harrar. The senior is having the best season of his career averaging 10.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. The Terps do not have a true big game to go up against Harrar which could be a recipe for success for him.
Big defensive advantage for the Nittany Lions - This is matchup in which Penn State has a huge defensive advantage. While the Terps ran 229th nationally in points allowed per game, the Nittany Lions are 54th allowing just 64.7 PPG. All season long defense has been a calling card for Shrews team, Monday night they should have a huge advantage defensively.
Penn State continues to lay good basketball for Coach Shrewsberry. Facing a struggle Terps squad that will continue as the Nittany Lions get back to .500 on the season. Penn State 72, Maryland 66