PSU withdraws from 76 Classic

April 13, 2010

What had been rumored for a while finally came officially true yesterday. Penn State has pulled out of the 76 Classic. While this is disappointing news, Brian Siegrist, the SID, did offer an explanation on twitter. The full statement from his twitter paraphrased below:

Ah, the blogosphere. Contrary to recent posts, PSU’s decision not to play in the 76 Classic had nothing to do with last season’s record, nor was it decided by the tournament organizers. PSU elected not to play in the tournament back in December and notified 76 organizers then. It just took them this long to update their website. PSU is taking a lesson from Minnesota, which played in last year’s 76 and went 1-3 while playing four games in six days and crossing 5,000 miles, including going straight from Classic to ACC Challenge at Miami. The Lions decided against the 3 games in Anaheim, the last of which could be Sunday evening, and then return for a possible ACC game on Monday or Tuesday in State College.

You can read a full in-depth response from Brian over at BSD, as Mike took the initiative to find out what the rational was. And to me, it makes perfect sense. I would rather not have our schedule hang in the hands of ESPN. If you haven’t noticed, they don’t give a fuck about anything other than themselves and their money. Case in point: the 2009 flex game (against Illinois) at the end of the schedule left us with a 9PM tip home tip on Thursday and a 2PM tip on the road @ Iowa just 36 hours or so later. Did we really need to play at 9 PM on Thursday night? Yes, because ESPN said so. Did the late game Thursday have a jetlag effect on the players in Iowa City? You betcha.

Everyone is acting like we are giving up on ‘tough’ competition, but when you actually look at the 76 classic field, you’ll realize it’s really not what they crack it up to be. Depaul and Cal-Northridge are garbage. Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Stanford are all losing their best players. The only teams sure to be solid are UNLV and VT, and we’re already scheduled to play the latter anyway.

In fact, I’d even argue there are better squads in the pool of schools who have yet to be linked to an exempt tournament (check out bloggingthebracket’s compilation thus far). Penn State made this decision back in December, so I’d say there’s still a great chance we’ve landed in another exempt tournament. Even if we didn’t, though, who really cares? There are so many of these tourneys these days that the ‘exposure’ gained is minimal at best. PSU is not going to be in one of the premiere fields, so we’re not going to be on television (example: 2009 Charleston Classic).

This would only be a disappointing move if the rest of schedule to replace the 76 Classic were Bryant University, NJIT, and Fordham.  Since we don’t know that as of now, there is no reason to be upset over this (unless you had already made plans to attend). No judgments can possibly be made about the schedule until it is released . Unless, of course, you hate Ed DeChellis and are praying the program fails, despite your empty blanket statements such as: ‘he’s a nice guy’ or ‘a good ambassador to the university’. There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical about the schedule (see the last 7 compiled), but let the guy at least attempt to do his job before you criticize.


Commitment : Tre Bowman

March 30, 2010

*Photo Courtesy of

Hometown: York, PA
High School: St. Thomas More School
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 185 lbs.
Schools: Drexel, Minnesota, South Florida

Recruiting Profiles

Articles on his Commitment:

The Story

Tre Bowman committed to Ed DeChellis and the Nittany Lions last night. Bowman is a 6’4″ guard who originally played at Central York High School. He then prepped and re-classified as a 2010 recruit at St. Thomas More school this past year. There isn’t a whole lot out there on the young man, but he looks to be an explosive athlete and a good shooter. We knew with Babb’s departure, the team was lacking perimeter scoring options. Check out this article and watch some video highlights below:



What's the goal here?

March 16, 2010

So if you haven’t heard by now, Ed DeChellis is staying on board as head coach, along with his staff, for the 2010-2011 season. This shouldn’t surprise anybody, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be upset about it.  David Jones of the Patriot-News got the scoop from Tim Curley through a text message statement. Here’s what Curley’s statement said:

“Yes, Ed will continue to be our head coach,” Curley wrote. “I like the way he runs our program, his assistant coaches and players in the program. I believe we are better than our record shows. Ed and I share the same vision for the program. I have complete confidence in Ed and his staff. No one will work harder or bring greater passion to making the necessary progress.”

Yes, we all know of Ed’s outstanding pedigree off the court. But the reality is he just wrapped up his 4th last place finish in 7 seasons. Disappointing seasons like this one are far more tolerable if the coach has proven his worth with prior accomplishments. Two NIT appearances (with an NIT championship), a 27% Big Ten winning percentage, and 1 winning season do not excuse this underachieving year. I’m not going to turn this into a rain on DeChellis parade. I don’t think he’s done anything worthy enough to justify the 650K he’s making, and I don’t think he’s ever going to turn around the basketball program (mostly because of his inability to recruit at the level needed to be competitive in this league). That’s all I’m going to say about him, but it’s not about DeChellis, nor should it be. It should be about the program that we all support and Tim Curley oversees. We, as fans, have never gotten any sort of ‘vision’ for this program from the Athletic Department. We just get blasted with how great of a person DeChellis is. ED has received two contract extensions in his time here, after signing an original 6 year deal back in 2003. These are quotes from Curley during each statement about ED:

April 2003 – Ed DeChellis is hired

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed DeChellis back to Penn State as our new men’s basketball coach,” Curley said. “Ed was a highly-respected member of our basketball staff for 10 years and was instrumental in the recruitment of some of the greatest players to play at Penn State. During his seven years as head coach at East Tennessee State, Ed has taken the Buccaneers from the bottom of the Southern Conference standings to three North Division titles and the Southern Conference Championship this past season. Ed has demonstrated the ability to recruit and lead student-athletes, playing an exciting brand of basketball and developing a strong program across the board. We look forward to working with Ed, his staff and players on reaching the lofty goals we have for the men’s basketball program.”

August 2006 – Ed’s contract (for recruiting purposes) is extended after an NIT appearance in his 3rd year

“We are very excited with the direction coach DeChellis has our men’s basketball program heading and are pleased that he will continue to lead the program into the future,” Curley said. “Ed has energized the program and the Penn State basketball community and the team has made great strides in his first three years. We believe he and his staff have laid the ground work for continued success both on and off the court for years to come.”

October 2009 – Ed’s contract is extended again after the NIT championship

“We are very excited about the significant progress our men’s basketball program has made under Coach DeChellis and are thrilled that he will continue to lead the program into the future,” Curley said. “Ed and his staff have brought tremendous work ethic, passion and energy to the program and the Penn State basketball community. This past season was very special. All the time and hard work by Ed and his team resulted in many outstanding victories and program firsts, capped by the NIT Championship in front of thousands of enthusiastic Penn State fans in Madison Square Garden. Ed and his staff have built a great foundation for continued success on the court, in the community and in the graduation of our basketball student-athletes for years to come, and I am excited about the direction and leadership Ed is providing to the program.”

Not once in any of those quotes do we get any sort of ‘vision’ or ‘expectations’ from Curley. Of course when Ed is asked about goals and what not, he rattles off the coach speak, like he should. Winning the Big Ten, going to the NCAAs. But we haven’t really been close to any of that in 7 years (with the exception of last year). So what the hell is Tim Curley’s vision for this program? If they are the same as DeChellis’, how on earth can you continue to let such poor job performance and futile results go without harm?

I just don’t get it. We’ve watched the AD significantly upgrade the resources within the program. You would think they were spending money so they can eventually win. I’ve been tolerant to the AD’s patience with ED, while doing so. Not too many coaches can go from 6-10 to 2-14 within the conference in your fourth year and still have the job. But they let DeChellis persevere and it looked like PSU was starting to build some momentum…

Then this year happened. All I want is an explanation of the athletic department’s expectations. Obviously, graduating players and representing the university are going to be priorities and that’s fine. But do we really not care at all about winning? That’s the message they continue to send to fans with blanket statements like ‘we’re better than our record indicates’ (have they not heard of Degree of DeChellis?) While that is certainly true this year, have they not realized that we’ve always had a better record than our play indicated the previous 6 seasons?

Now is there a chance for improvement next year? Obviously, yes. But as I’ve said before, one must look deeper into the future. The time to change regimes is now, not after next year. 2011-2012 is looking very bleak. You thought the frontcourt this year was bad…

So what is the ultimatum next year (if there even is one)? Many people are saying NCAAs or bust, but I wouldn’t be shocked if another NIT-like 2009 season occurred that DeChellis will still be here in 2011. Success is not a priority, especially since football pays the AD’s bills. All I know is if ED can’t get to the NCAA tournament with a player like Battle, I’m pretty sure it’s never gonna happen.

Time to Deliver

March 11, 2010

If you don’t love this time of year, you must be one of those hooligans who proclaims the superiority of college football and their ‘meaningful’ regular season as a means to keep the wonderful bowl system we all love. Thank God for college basketball and its postseason. WIth how brilliantly it all works out and how much of a joy it is to watch, you’d think basketball were geniuses. Nope, football is just that moronic. But enough of that.

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that PSU is not the worst basketball team in the conference right now at the end of the season (when it’s most important). However, the standings say so and PSU gets the 11-seed in the Big Ten tournament. But what’s exciting is, everybody gets new life. PSU has the opportunity to build on their inspired play of late and make up for this disaster of a season.

The first step is today against 6-seed Minnesota, who’s NCAA at-large hopes hinges on a good performance the next few days. It’s been a disappointing season for the Gophers, too, relative to expectations. I don’t hesitate in saying this could very well be Tubby’s worst coaching job I’ve seen. Al Nolen’s academic suspension certainly didn’t help. But this team is way too talented to lay eggs in March against weaker teams, especially considering their bubble hopes.

PSU played Minnesota tough the first two meetings, but lost both of them. There really was no consistent correlation between the two games. We have not had much success against Minnesota in recent years, but there’s no doubt in my mind that PSU can win this game. However, I think much of the outcome of this game depends on Minnesota’s effort level. They present matchup problems that PSU can’t handle.

Keys for PSU:

  • Handle the Gophers press, when they do, and limit TOs. 25% TO rate killed the Lions in the first meeting.
  • Keep rebounding the basketball. It didn’t hurt PSU in the first two meetings, but if Minnesota outrebounds PSU, I believe that will signify Golden Gopher dominance down low with their size.
  • Out shoot the Gophers from 3. Hoffarber is still hitting 48% of his threes. Babb and Battle have to produce more than Hoff and Westbrook, IMO.
  • Continued Jeff Brooks’ aggressiveness. Jeff’s unstoppable when he plays within himself and with confidence. But the ticking time bomb that is his mind can always backfire on him.
  • Get some valuable bench production. If PSU is going to do anything in this tournament, the bench has to show up with 10 minutes of production, not 5 minutes of liability. Frazier, Edwards, Ott, and even Woodyard and Borovnjak need to be ready to play this weekend.

Now, yes, we know about the universal rule in tournament play, but if PSU pulls out a W today, I really like how their end of the bracket is set up for the Lions to get on a little bit of a roll and make some noise. Wisconsin and Ohio State, who we haven’t beaten since 2003, are on the opposite side. PSU wouldn’t face either until the finals. Up next for PSU would be a Michigan State team, without Chris Allen.  Then would be the Hummel-less Boilers again (unless our favorite whipping boy, Northwestern, could pull out some magic themselves).  Obviously both teams are still gonna be tough, but they aren’t hopeless.

We’ll see. Hopefully we’re in for some exciting basketball (that lasts longer than a day). If this season has taught Nittany Lions fans anything, it’s we have the players to compete in this league. The first step is the Golden Gophers (tentative 7:30 tip, Big Ten Network). It’s time for the Lions to deliver on this season. It’s their last chance.

NIT Game 2: Rhode Island Rams

March 19, 2009

Where: Bryce Jordan Center

When: Tonight, 7:00 PM

TV: Fox Sports Pittsburgh

URI Rotation:

# Player P. Ht. Elg. MPG PPG FG% APG RPG
20 J. Baron G 6’3″ SR 32.5 17.2 46.4% 1.9 2.8
33 K. Seawright F 6’8″ SR 30.7 14.1 50.3% 2.2 7.6
5 M. Jones G 6’1″ SO 27.1 6.2 40.2% 3.9 2.6
22 K. Cothran G 6’4″ JR 27.6 13.6 48.2% 2.1 2.4
21 D. James F 6’8″ JR 23.8 9.9 49.2% 2.2 6.1
15 L. Ulmer F 6’6″ JR 22.7 7.7 50.0% 0.8 4.9
32 W. Martell C 7’0″ SO 17.0 5.4 61.3% 0.7 3.6
1 S. Mejia G 5’9″ FR 13.5 2.4 37.0% 2.1 1.1

Rhode Island is pretty much the same team when we saw them the first time. Baron’s the shooter, Jones’ the game manager, Seawright’s the inside presence, and Cothran’s the driver. They’re balanced, experienced, and completely driven by their offense (79.5 PPG – good for 10th in the country). They play at a significantly faster pace than the entire Big Ten conference (71.3 possessions/game).

Keep Reading…

EDIT: Get yourself some headbands

March 14, 2009

..and be sure to put on the deodorant. We’re sweating it out all day.

Here’s what the NCAA at-large picture is looking like.

Conference Champs

  • ACC – Duke
  • Big East – Louisville
  • Big 12 – Missouri
  • Big Ten – Purdue
  • Pac 10 – USC
  • SEC – Mississippi State
  • Atlantic 10 – Temple
  • Mountain West – Utah
  • Horizon – Cleveland State

Keep Reading…

A Game for the Ages

February 18, 2009

After reading the news today from all sorts of media outlets, it appears that I was the only one who enjoyed watching that game last night. It was a beautiful display in my eyes. I absolutely love competition and nothing is more fun to me than to watch teams or players fight through failure. I guess I’m just far more into the psychological aspects of competition than pure physical ability. That is why I will almost always watch a golf tournament with Tiger Woods in it. If you can’t admire that dude’s mental toughness, you’re not human. If I only cared about marvelling pure athletic ability, I’d flip on the boring NBA.  But I want to see gutsy, meaningful competition and last night was it.

And that’s why I love this PSU basketball team. They are so mentally tough, resilient, and unselfish.  So many guys could make so many excuses, but they don’t.  They just keep plugging away. Who cares if Battle has to play 40 intense minutes in one of the most physically and mentally demanding conferences? If that’s what it’s going to take to pull out the W for the team, that’s what Battle will do.  Who cares that Jamelle Cornley is 6’3″? If he’s gotta handle double teams, that’s what he’ll do.

Keep Reading…