This is the 5th year for the Gavitt Tipoff Games, under an 8-year deal. The games, of course, feature teams from the Big East the Big Ten. The Hoyas are 1-2 in the Gavitt Games so far, with both losses against Maryland, and the win against Illinois last year.
Penn State is expected to be near the bubble with Georgetown, with both Andy Katz and Jon Rothstein ranking the two teams around 30.
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It was a tight game for most of the first half, with Wagner leading at times, but PSU began to pull away a tad right before heading to the locker room, up 37-30. The Lions would then use a 21-6 run in the second half to pull away and the rout was on, ultimately leading to a 91-64 beatdown.
Myreon Jones, Lamar Stevens, Izaiah Brockington, and Jamari Wheeler would all finish with double digits in scoring to lead the way for the Nittany Lions. With both warmup games out of the way, PSU will now face their first test of the season against Georgetown next week as part of the Gavitt Games.
Q: Penn State is getting some hype this year, both from the computers and the humans. Do you buy it? Why (not)? ...
Chris: Yes, I buy it. The sports broadcasters have seen what Chambers has been doing in recent years and know how close he has been to making the NCAA tournament the past two years. The team’s final Net Ranking last year was 49, so while some fans lost touch of what the team was doing when the record went south, the sports writers and computers know full well that only 3 teams ranked higher than PSU last year failed to make the NCAA tournament.
Marty: Yes. This team has all the talented needed to make a long overdue return to the NCAA Tournament. They need a scorer to step up alongside Lamar Stevens and to be more consistent offensively. Mike Watkins needs to stay on the court and to play at a high level, too. But all the pieces are there to go dancing...
Tim: I buy it to some extent. If Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins both stay healthy and out of foul trouble, if somebody other than Myles Dread can become a reliable source of 3-point shooting, and if Izaiah Brockington is able to replicate Josh Reaves’ defensive tenacity, then an NCAA Tournament bid is certainly possible. After seeing how the last couple of years have played out with comparable talent though, I’m not holding my breath for too long.
Big Ten standouts Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins have the natural ability to use their size to score on the interior and draw fouls at any point in the game. And with pass-first guards who look to feed the post, Pat Chambers knows that getting the ball to the inside will be critical to a successful Penn State half court offense.
“I feel that they can be the best frontcourt in the country,” Chambers said. “We have to get them touches.” So as the Nittany Lions continue to find their identity as the season goes on, it is certain that the success they have on the inside will open up the perimeter game and lead to high percentage looks which it knows it can score on. That will come from using its length which will outsize many of their opponents this season.
Myreon Jones is setting the pace for Penn State men’s basketball’s backcourt https://t.co/6ls03qtHK7— PSUSportsCollective (@PSUSportsCollec) November 10, 2019
Part of what Stevens has learned, he said, is that part of leadership is knowing when to let his teammates step up. There will be nights when Stevens’ statline doesn’t jump off the page, but if Penn State won the game, he’ll be satisfied. From an individual perspective, this season also gives Stevens a chance to further develop his game for the next level — but not at the expense of a win.
He’s been open about working to improve his 3-point shot — he enters this season as a career 28 percent shooter from beyond the arc — but part of what sets him apart offensively is his willingness to take what defenses give him. Stevens won’t take ill-advised shots in the interest of stat-padding, because individual success to him is team success. If someone else gets hot, Stevens said he wants them to lead at that moment.