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Eric Gibson

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Member since 24 July 2016 | Blog

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Comment 24 Feb 2017

I'm confident this will be another close game. I really love how locked in PSU is defensively, and they could shut down Minnesota again. But with Lynch patrolling the paint and this team's unreliable outside shooting, it's hard to believe they'll score enough points to pull off the upset. They won't be able to score as easily at the rim like they were able to against Purdue. Gophers have shot blockers. 

I do think Minnesota winning at Maryland was good for PSU. The Gophers were expecting to lock up their NCAA bid with these next two home games (PSU and Nebraska), but now that they got that road win at Maryland, they're in. Pressure's off, so they could be primed for a letdown at home.

Comment 21 Feb 2017

I believe the line is Purdue -8. I'd take PSU. Think we'll see a much better effort after the week off, but Purdue's too tough to guard for me to feel confident about an outright win. Gonna need some luck, like Purdue missing three's.

I do think Mike Watkins makes a statement tonight.

Comment 20 Feb 2017

Everything really comes down to getting that bye. If PSU doesn't and they're in the first round of the BTT, that's because they went 7-11 at best. In that scenario, they're already entering the tournament a game under .500. They would need to win the first two rounds just to get back to .500 at 17-17 (another loss is guaranteed, or they'd be in the NCAA's). That same .500 mark can be accomplished by going 8-10 and losing right away in the BTT to finish 16-16. Their RPI's would be virtually the same in either scenario, and neither would be good enough for the NIT. Getting the bye will give PSU a good chance at a win in their first BTT game (against a 7-10 seed) that would cement a final record over .500 and make a decent final case for an NIT invite. Especially if they were to beat an Illinois or Indiana who is also in the NIT picture. 

Comment 16 Feb 2017

Nothing about this recruitment was normal, this kid clearly fell in their laps. But while it was a very quick recruitment, the high school coach claims they were thorough in their vetting.

As for how many times did they see the RCHS kids play, I'd say upwards of 75 games (between RCHS and Team Final), and I don't think that number is a gross exaggeration.

Comment 14 Feb 2017

Not nearly as confident as apparently the rest of the PSU world. Don't get drunk because the team won two games and is close to the NIT. There's still a lot of things not going PSU's way heading into this one. 

1 - Ed Morrow is back and Michael Jacobsen is playing really well. These guys have huge potential to dominate PSU on the glass. They are two of the best offensive rebounders in the country and PSU clearly has had trouble in that department all season. Watkins/Stevens have to compete on the glass and cannot get in foul trouble. These Huskers will eat Banks/Moore alive. 

2 - Nebraska's defense is tough. As Noel covered, they've been burned by the 3-ball, but that hasn't been a consistent strength for PSU. It's either Garner or Banks or bust. The Lions actually have shot 40% from 3 in their Big Ten losses (versus 30% in their wins, as Noel pointed out. Don't let that get into the way of the "this team needs another shooter" narrative). If Banks/Garner aren't on, they can't afford to start chucking and ducking. The offense needs balance, but Nebraska is pretty stout on the interior and PSU is 300+ in 2P%. 

3 - Nebraska has a huge advantage from the time/location of this game. They were off this weekend and haven't played since Thursday. Well-rested. PSU hasn't had a bye since mid-January, is playing their 3rd game in a week, and have to make their longest flight to Lincoln for a late tip-off.

4 - Throw out NU's losing record. Both teams have eerily similar efficiency margins in conference play. While Nebraska is 4-8 and PSU is 6-7, the Lions are -0.03 PPP and the Huskers are -0.05 PPP in conference play. Evenly matched teams, but Nebraska's impressive home wins should give them more respect from PSU fans. 

I could see Nebraska winning by double-digits, honestly. Then we get to look forward to the haters crawling out of their bunkers again. If PSU wins, it will be far more impressive than the casual fan will be able to admit. 

Comment 09 Feb 2017

My colleagues are correct, it's suppose to indicate the number of scholarships available. But I admit this is a trash table, so we will definitely improve it going forward so it's easier to interpret. 

Comment 08 Feb 2017

I think the staff found a player here, but they've certainly had swings and misses in the past (Maduegbunam, Woodward, Washington, etc.). I wouldn't be immediately alarmed at the lack of offers though. PSU and Charlotte (coached by Mark Price) just offered in the last week after just scouting him two weeks ago. He really was a nobody just a month or two ago. Penn State beat every major school to the punch here, and as a Bloomsburg kid, this could be a dream school situation. Probably didn't have to sell him very hard if PSU believed in his talent. 

The film is good but the competition is bad. His athleticism looks legit, obviously he looks to dunk the ball. Has some shooting touch but a slower release. I love his ball-handling in transition, he really looks comfortable running the break, although no one could challenge him at the rim. 

I just need to see him against better competition. We'll have an interview with him tomorrow, but I don't think he has much of an AAU background. That doesn't have to be a knock on him, but clearly the adjustment to the Big Ten will be a concern for his first year. Really hope he can contribute early because if he could take Payton's spot at the 4 and rebound, that gives their frontcourt more depth and frees up Banks to stay on the perimeter and shoot good 3's. 

I'm taking solace in the fact that this was the same concern with Chris Babb, who played nobodies in Texas before contributing as a freshman and ultimately making the NBA for a brief stint after the transfer. 

Comment 06 Feb 2017

I haven't thought about it, because I believe the kids are all in this together or they'd all go their separate ways. I don't think anyone of consequence transfers, for the record. 

If they do suffer a devastating transfer from the Reaves/Carr/Stevens/Watkins core, I can't just immediately say let him go. That gives kids an awful lot of power and no one would want to work for an AD that fires coaches for losing guys to transfer. Guys transfer all the time for perfectly valid reasons.

It would depend a great deal on the timing and the reasons given for the departure(s). I wouldn't fire him for losing one guy, but if they lose multiple guys, I'd say you'd really have to take a look. If only one guy leaves though, that would just make me way less forgiving the following year if they were to fall short of the postseason goals. 

Comment 06 Feb 2017

I'm no basketball coach, so I'm not the one to break down the finer details of Pat Chambers' offense (which is essentially the same as Villanova's), but maybe this video can be a good start. There are no set plays. They play a motion offense full of spacing concepts. As do many other high major teams. It's success is highly dependent on talent. 

I agree with a good bit of what you said. I would have defended Payton Banks before, because he had been having a good season, but his reversion on Saturday was maddening. Inexcusable at this point in his career for a game like that. But the team's poor shooting is mostly coming from Carr and Stevens. Garner has been a slump, too, but I think we'll continue to see him bust out of it. The freshmen are only going to get better, so I'm staying patient.

I've been convinced for a while now that this team is going to have an exciting finish to the season. I was originally hoping it would earn them an NIT bid or something, but now they can only make up for some of these losses. It's kinda now-or-never for that to happen, but I'm holding onto hope. 

Comment 03 Feb 2017

My man, thanks for commenting. I hope this was therapeutic for you. You know I disagree with pretty much everything you typed here, but I wish more fans shared your passion for this program. 

You're allowed to not support Chambers. After all, he's had ample time to turn this thing around. I can even correct your own criticism. He's one of only three major conference coaches who've kept their jobs despite not making the NCAA tournament the last five years (Brad Brownell and Lorenzo Romar are the others). Chris Collin's a year behind, and he doesn't even matter because Northwestern's dancing this year. 

But nothing is the same with this team, that's just ridiculous. You can't possibly think you are being truthful here. Look at the numbers, the style of play, the athleticism. The incredible defensive performances against MSU/MIN. When have you ever seen PSU outrebound a Tom Izzo team like that? When have you ever seen true freshman go into Assembly Hall and put up lines like 23-14-5 and 26-8-2? 

Now the outcomes have been about the same. While the team did win four games in January for the first time under Chambers, that's not much to get excited about, I can admit. The NCAA tournament is still not on the radar. That's always a disappointment, but the degree of which should depend on reality.

I don't think anyone thought before the season it was realistic this team was making the NCAA tournament. They're simply too young in too many positions. That's a common theme across all of college basketball. Young teams are generally at a disadvantage over more experienced teams. Look where PSU ranks in KenPom's experience rating and compare them to similarly ranked teams. They're right there with Iowa, Texas, Tennessee, Auburn, Michigan State. Those coaches are Fran McCaffery, Shaka Smart, Ric Barnes, Bruce Pearl, Tom Izzo.

Wouldn't you say all of those guys are better than Chambers? So why isn't he allowed to have a similar season as them when everyone's young? Heck, Smart is 9-13 at Texas so far and he brought in the No. 5 class this season!

Anyway, long story short, this program has come too far to immediately jeopardize this roster and the recruiting relationships that have been forged in Philadelphia and Washington DC. The I-95 corridor is so important to this program, they have to be able to successfuly recruit there. They found someone who can and there's no doubt plenty of others who could too, but Philly may turn its back on this program in a heartbeat if Chambers is terminated. That's not worth the risk until we see this thing through.

Comment 31 Jan 2017

I agree with what you're saying. It's definitely a combination of a lot of things. I should also admit my perspective is skewed as I sit with the older crowds these days instead of near or around the student section. I'm not saying everyone needs to lose their voices at these things, but there are times the team is worthy of standing ovations and they get absolutely nothing. I just think it's more demoralizing to play in front of people who don't cheer rather than empty seats. I'm sure there are others who share a different opinion. 

Comment 31 Jan 2017

Last two home games I went to had over 10,000 tickets sold and at least 7-8k in the stands. That should be more than enough people to create a "home court advantage", even in a cavernous arena. Everyone can continue to lament the BJC because it's the easy target, but unless PSU fans actually allow themselves to get excited about a basketball team wearing the Blue & White, it doesn't matter where the hell they play. The Palestra experience was the same way. We whooped Michigan State in that first half, and the poor team had to wave to the crowd to get them to cheer as they ran off the floor with a freaking 12-point lead! The crowd shouldn't need to be urged at that point, but Penn State folks always need direction. Considering half the fanbase just adores Villanova, it's not like how to cheer at basketball games is a foreign concept. What's the excuse for why people go to the BJC or other PSU games and sit on their hands the whole damn time? Why is it always blamed on the venue?