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Penn State vs Delaware State Preview: The Season Is Upon Us!

Penn State basketball kicks its season off against Delaware State on the first day of college basketball!

Mar 16, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0) dribbles the ball against the Texas A&M Aggies during the first half at Wells Fargo Arena. Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The day is here! The much anticipated and intriguing 2023-24 basketball season is upon us. We’ve spoken about Penn State’s rebuilt roster, and whether a combination of high end mid-major talent and rotation players from power conferences would be good enough to battle day in and day out in the Big Ten. Well, the time is here.

Delaware State, as is the case with most of these opening day games, is not the kind of opponent that will give the Nittany Lions fits. The Hornets have been one of the worst teams in division 1 basketball for quite a while, and figure to remain as such this season, so, if all goes well, this should be a pleasant opening game for the boys in Blue and White.

Scouting the Opposition

Any sort of ratings this early in the season should come with a grain of salt, but the Hornets are coming into this game with a predicted adjusted efficiency rate of 90 on offense, which is good for 340th in the nation, and a defensive efficiency rate of 103.6, which ranks 288th in Kenpom. Torvik numbers aren’t much better, which paints the picture for this contest. This game is less about what Delaware State can do and more about what Penn State looks like on the first real game of the season. If the Lions cruise, great! If they struggle, there might be a few things to work on the rest of the way.

What to Watch For

Offensive efficiency - We all know Penn State wants to play defense this season. That said, in both Bahamas contests and in their exhibition on Friday, the Lions failed to shoot at a high clip, and, when facing defenses better than 288th in the country, they’re going to need to make their shots.

Rotation - Puff Johnson sat out of the exhibition with an undisclosed ailment. Is he ready to play in this game? What will the rotation look like with him in? Will it help the offense?

New Era - New coach, new roster, new season! Let’s go!


This one’s easy. Penn State notches its first win of the year against a team that doesn’t have the horses to keep up. Penn State 75, Delaware State 55