The all but dead Nittany Lions come home briefly against Minnesota today in just a few hours. Still admidst the treacherous 7 game stretch, the Lions are in must-win mode if they still want to make the tournament (they gotta win 5 of their last 6, so it’s all but over). Their complete inability to run any sort of sustained halfcourt offense has doomed them these last two games. Luckily, Minnesota isn’t a grind them out team so maybe Battle and Pringle will have room in the open floor to operate.
Minnesota was lights out in the Barn when these two teams met back in early January. They shot 9-9 from 3. I can pretty much guarantee that won’t happen again. However, Minnesota is deep and tall. Another tough matchup for the Lions, but thank goodness this shouldn’t be a half court war like Purdue and Wisconsin was. I’d love to pick PSU today and I think we’ve got a legitimate shot (we’re 2.5 point favorites!), but the complete dysfunctional play from the big 3 the last few weeks is still fresh in my mind. Battle has excuses – whether it’s playing the most minutes in the conference is finally catching up to him, or his off the court struggles. But Pringle’s gone in a shooting slump and Jamelle apparently likes to play as a guard these days. Can’t pick PSU until they get back to their old selves.
It would be nice if their was some sort of movement and organization on offense today. Andrew Jones is really coming along, actually showing the confidence to work some post moves on the block last game. Maybe we should try to isolate him down low? Maybe get some of Minnesota’s trees in foul trouble? But this is all wishful thinking with this coaching staff. It’s all ‘let Battle do everything and everyone come along for the ride’. Jones has to be smart this game and stay out of foul trouble. The more Ott plays today, the less likely PSU has a chance to win. PSU CAN win today, but I’m not picking them until they show their mentally healthy after all these beatings. I’ll take Minnesota to cover.
More on PSU’s struggles and Sasa Borovnjak’s commitment in the future….