The Takeaway–Penn State–Indiana
A 0-2 start seemed ok. Minnesota is a tough place to play, and Wisconsin is the basketball teams version of Michigan (They always beat us). So in a sense it was expected, and it wasn’t even that alarming. Then came 0-3, Illinois is a talented team, but that excuse works only for so long when you’ve got the lead on the road. 0-4 was painful, nobody plans on blowing a 16 point lead, even more so to a team that really doesn’t look to be any better than yours. 0-5 was almost expected by the time we got there, but Iowa isn’t a very good team at all, so there was some expectation that Penn State could get it together enough to pick up the win. And now here we are looking at 0-6. Indiana is much improved since the last meeting between these two teams and it showed last night.
Last season Indiana was a team who came about as close as you could to winning, without ever actually winning. This year it seems as though the tables have turned and the Lions are doing enough to be in the game, but not enough to get over the hump. You can point to a lot of things and say that it is the reason the Lions aren’t getting the win.
This could be handy
Your casual fan will point to effort being the issue. This doesn’t really seem to be the case however. The Lions are busting their butts off out there, the meer fact that they are keeping games competitive is a sign that while the issues with the team are keeping them from winning, they aren’t issues that are keeping them from having a chance to win. Those sorts of issues tend to be effort related.
What it really boils down to is that the Lions are shooting the ball really poorly. Last season Penn State could hit anywhere between 8-15 three-pointers a game. Last night, they shot 4-22. In an attempt to make it seem better than it looks, about 4 misses came from the last possession when they were just chucking it up. Not that it’s a good excuse, but I try.
For the first time all season it looks as though the Lions have somebody that could actually score in the paint, maybe it was all the “Ott” Dogs they were handing out, but for whatever reason Andrew Ott decided to show up and put up 13 points in 24 minutes of play. It doesn’t look like Andrew Jones is going to get the start anytime soon, but that seems to be in the Lions best interest. If Ott can produce anything close to what he did against Indiana on a regular basis that would be a huge step forward.
Poor shooting is due in large part to only having one real choice in the offense. Shoot jump-shots. Combined that with your best player being 5’11 and having your three-point shooter injured with a hurt pinky and you’re in for a world of hurt. Incase you hadn’t noticed already. If the inside game can get going, that will do wonders for the outside shooting. IE: Jamelle Cornley/Stanley Pringle. Jamelle played with heart, but basketball wise, he wasn’t anything you hadn’t seen. He could score with his back to the basket. That allowed players like Stanley and Talor to get better looks from the outside. The same relationship should be in the works for Battle and Ott/Jones. It hasn’t been here this season, but the 13 point showing from Ott is hopefuly a sign of things to come.
Ott says no.
Plenty of people are going to throw Ed under the bus. It seems like more and more people make their money from throwing coaches out the door day after day. Until this season is over I’m going to keep my judgement to myself. In short however, Ed should be allowed to work with the team next season. It will be his best combination of talent he has had since being here and his chance to show us what he can do. Give him that team to work with. What happens after that is anybody’s guess.
The road doesn’t get any easier with Wisconsina nd Illinois up next. The Big Ten makes you pay for playing basketball, I’m just hoping we’ve got enough in the bank to make it to the offseason.