Big Ten-ACC Challenge 2009
In an event that hardly seems like a challenge anymore for the ACC the Big Ten finally has a shot to win it and flex their basketball muscle. Penn State has a chance to be the first team in the Big Ten to win three straight in the contest if they can pick up a win against the Virginia Cavaliers who are currently 4-2 coming off a win against Cleveland State. A Penn State win would not only set a new Big Ten record, it would be a crucial win for a team that is looking for its second win on the road. In order to come away with the W there are a few things the Lions will need to do:
A Lions win would be a Big Ten record of three straight in the challenge
1. Defense: So far this season when the Lions focus on defending the lane it has left the outside shots too wide open, when focusing on the outside the inside becomes weak. The key for the Lions success will be finding a balance on defense that works. Another aspect to this will being able to stop UV for a possession or two if the Lions fall behind and restore positive momentum. Playing better defense will also help with rebounds and finding an inside presence, more or less what we talked about here
2. Dont look around you, just shoot: While it may seem silly, a big part of tonight’s game is just playing your game regardless of where you are. For whatever reason the Lions have had serious issues with shooting on the road whereas they’re shooting the lights out at home. If they’re going to win on the road at all, let alone in the Big Ten-Acc Challenge they’re going to need to improve their on the road shooting.
3. Play to your skill level, not theirs: This was a problem that the football team had this year at times, and if the Lions are going to win on the hardwood it’s going to take not playing down to teams. Skill wise this team has the tools to be 6-0 right now but a few mental lapses and playing down to teams skill levels has hurt them in two games so far.
This very well could be the most important game of the Lions young season, a win on national tv against an ACC team could go a long way to helping everyone forget the early season struggle. The team has a lot of talent and depth, it’s just about putting all the pieces together.