Welp, PSU begins their absolutely brutal stretch of the conference schedule tomorrow (12 pm, Breslin Center, BTN). Sure hope the boys rested up as they got 5 games in the next 13 days (3 on the road). It’s going to be a long February…we’ll see if they can make it a magical one. We all know that the Big East and ACC have some heavyweights, but in this seven game stretch, there’s no Rutgers, Depaul or South Florida. PSU is going to have to bring it every night or they’ll get beat.
If you don’t remember the game these two teams played three weeks ago, MSU won 78-73, surviving a late PSU surge. MSU won the ball game on the boards. That game sent PSU’s rebounding abilities into a funk. PSU has been outrebounded by Indiana and Iowa, since. That absolutely should not happen, ever. We’ll see if the week off allowed Ed and staff some time to get the guys to hit the boards again. If they want to win tomorrow, they have to keep MSU off the offensive glass.
Now if they do, almost anything can happen. Battle and Pringle don’t turn the ball over, while MSU has yet to cure their turnover woes. Also, ever since PSU threw out that 1-3-1 against MSU in the 2nd half, they’ve struggled offensively against it. They lost at home to NW, who primarily played their base 1-3-1 all game. While NW hit some absurd shots to win the game, their defense allowed them to be in that position in the first place. Coach D has said they’re planning on throwing multiple looks on defense to keep MSU from getting in a rhythm. 2-3, 1-3-1, man, maybe even some full court pressure…we could see it all tomorrow.
Raymar Morgan is still struggling with fighting a viral infection. He only played 8 minutes against Iowa on Thursday. He said he’s at 70%, so you can’t expect too much from him tomorrow. Especially with the way Jamelle Cornley has been playing. I know the hype surrounding Delvon Roe, but if you’re PSU, you have to like that match-up tomorrow.
Another matchup I’m looking forward to tomorrow is Stanley Pringle vs the Izzone. The accused masturbator is sure to hear all about it from the Izzone tomorrow. But the way Pringle has played on the road, it sure seems to only fuels his play. From Jeff Rice’s article…
“I think I’m more focused on the road,” Pringle said after a weightlifting session last week. “We go there the day before. We’re just hanging out in the hotel, not running around. I think I’m just more focused. And the crowd, too. I don’t have a crowd that’s cheering me on. I have a crowd that’s talkin’ junk to me.”
“I’m just trying to silence the crowd.”
I’m expecting big things out of Stan ‘the answer man’ Pringle tomorrow. It was fun watching him shut up the Kohl Center earlier in the year, here’s to him doing it tomorrow in Breslin.
Maybe I’m sipping all the kool-aid from that miracle comeback last week, but I’d have to say this is the first time I’ve ever thought PSU has a legitimate shot to beat MSU in the Breslin Center. I like all our matchups, I like the fact that we’ve had the week off, I like the fact that these guys love to play MSU, and I like the fact that Raymar Morgan isn’t healthy. If Andrew Jones can keep Suton off the offensive glass and we keep doing what we normally do, PSU can get a major scalp tomorrow.
PREDICTION: Yes, I’m drunk off my blue kool-aid, but I’m taking PSU to at least cover the spread (whatever it is), and flat out win tomorrow for the first time ever in the Breslin Center. The Big 3 is finally going to put it altogether. Pringle will shut up the Izzone, Cornley will take Roe to school, and Battle will show up big for another showdown with Kalin Lucas. This might be the kiss of death and we’ll get schooled tomorrow, but I just love this team. Jamelle’s heart, Stanley’s composure, and Battle’s never-ending confidence makes for a fun team to watch and root for. Something this program hasn’t had in 8 years.
Check out KJ’s preview over at SpartansWeblog.