Making sense of Penn and Slippery Rock
After the “3 and out” themed Ohio State game and before the “oh did I just fumble the ball again?” game against Indiana, Penn State basketball started up with a 82-51 win in an exhibition game against Slippery Rock and a season opening 70-55 win against the oatmeal boxes themselves the Penn Quakers. At first glance a close-ish game against Penn raises a few eyebrows but Penn is a much improved team that has many key players returning from injury, combined that with some postseason rust to work off and you’ve got yourself a lesser blowout. It also helps when the refs have diarrhea of the whistle and can’t keep the flow of the game going…
Dont worry though, Ed doesn’t plan on sitting around and waiting to see what happens next, Robert Morris is a solid team that is fresh off a NCAA bid and giving MSU all they could handle for the first half, so they’ll have a good week to work out a few things and get ready. Part of having a high SOS is gonna mean you’re going to play better teams….damn you March Madness.
So what have we learned so far? In the spirit of over anyalyzing…lets over analyze:
We’re young: Nobody should have been suprised by that. The guys that have been around have new roles, and the young guys are just young.lol.Going into this game for the most part you should have expected to see a few things not played out quite to 100%. That includes scoring. We aren’t top team and we’re not going to come out and play like we ended the season. Rust is a matter of fact and we worked it off pretty well. In his first game back Drew Jones was double teamed for almost the whole game, and while he didn’t have a great game, he still managed to pull down 5 boards. It’ safe to say that nobody expects his average ppg to be 4, so I think his first game back being double teamed it isn’t a big deal. He was 2-4 and 1 of those misses rolled in and out. So you make him 3-4 and he shot 75% while being double teamed, that really isn’t that bad. On the defensive side, where a team could have let Penn take a lead somewhere in the second half they always kept it out of reach. We’ve all seen last years team give up a lead or two, but these guys didn’t let that happen.
We needed to find scoring: Last season in the home opener we have 5 points off the bench, this year we had 16 points off the bench. The key to making up for the guys we’ve lost isn’t finding 2 guys besides Talor to drop 18 points every game, we dont have those type of players, it’s going to be about everybody scoring. Even with the youth of the team we still skipped the scoring drought that we always had last year. Sure we had a few times when Talor was the only guy playing but thats nothing really new. Jodie Meeks didn’t score 54 against Tenn last year because the rest of his team was bad (well part of it) he did it because he was really good. Good players are going to score, it’s a scary idea that we’re relying on Talor so much. But UNC was relying on Hansbrough, Nova on Scottie R, Purdue on Robbie Hummel, they all had a good supporting cast it’s true, but I think that we have the unit that can grow around the star. And it’s worth mentioning that we scored 70 points…I’ll take that average, thats going to get you pretty close to winning a lot of Big Ten games.
Defense: If we’re going to grow we’re going to have to play good defense. Twice now against two different teams that shoot the 3 well we’ve held them well below their average, and that isn’t for a lack of them trying. Penn shot 37% for the whole game. If we can play that sort of defense all season that’s a good sign.