The Takeaway–Penn State–Iowa
Expectations can kill you as a sports fan. Every offseason you wait for next year, always knowing that more often than not you’ll end up back where you started. This past offseason Penn State fans had real reason to be excited, most of last years starters returning, some talented freshman coming in, and a better OOC slate of games.
Well, forget a lot of the thoughts you had because we’re looking at a 8-9 record and 0-5 in the Big Ten. While lots of fans are up in arms about not making the NCAAs this year, you’ve really got to ask yourself if the NCAAs was what the program was aiming for this year. Of course it is the goal of every season, but what the program really needs is consistency.
While we might wish for that to be in the form of the NCAA any form of postseason besides the CBI is what the program really needs. It isn’t like Penn State is full of a rich tournament history that falls back on the NIT, Penn State is a program that has little to nother to brag about. To get real progress from the cellar of DI Penn State should be aiming for a NIT birth 2-3 times every 5 years. While it might be glamorous if you’re able to get that constancy going the steps needed to be taken to get to the NCAAs won’t seem as hard.
But back to Iowa, to start it looked like it was going to be a pretty good game for the Lions, defense was stout, Andrew Ott looked good, and the Lions were taking advantage of the Iowa youth and inexperience, opening up a 22-11 lead during which Iowa only had 1 field goal 10 minutes into the game.
Then the wheels started to come off the train, Bill Edwards continued to shoot outside shot that he hasn’t had all season, Chris Babb, who hasn’t gotten over his pinky injury from Illinois went 0-6 from beyond the arc. That was all the Hawkeyes needed to get going, turning a 11 point hole into a 3 point lead at halftime. The only thing the Lions could really be pleased with was the fact Jake Kelly was gone.
The second half started out just like most of the Lions second halves. Iowa came out firing and opened up a 12 point lead. For whatever reason after putting up 3 points in 7 minutes of play Andrew Ott saw no playing time in the second half and neither did Chris Babb. Ultimately the Lions did what they needed to do in the last 3 minutes to give themselves a chance to win, but they still haven’t found the tools to get themselves over the hump.
It might be difficult to swallow, but this team hasn’t put the pieces together and until it does, it is going to be a long season. Mental lapses and chemistry are plaguing a team with individual talent. Getting it to work together will be the difference between winning and losing. It’ll also be the difference between watching March on your TV or playing in the postseason.
**Talor’s 31 point game was his 3rd 30 point or more game. The team is 1-2 when he scores 30+*