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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Matchup 2 in the Big Ten Tourny

After Penn State's thumping of Northwestern in the first round of our tournament, it's time for them to move on to their next opponent: seventh seeded Indiana.  

INDIANA (7) Pts RB Assts Stls Fg% 3pt% FT%
G AJ Guyton 16.4 3.3 3.1 1.0 0.454 0.413 0.789
G Bracey Wright 17.6 5.1 2.4 0.9 0.404 0.349 0.775
F Brian Evans 13.7 6.0 2.7 1.0 0.449 0.408 0.800
F DJ White 14.6 7.6 0.9 0.7 0.562 0.333 0.690
C Alan Henderson 16.0   8.8   1.1   1.2   0.540   0.231   0.646
B F Jared Jeffries 14.4 7.2 2.2 1.2 0.449 0.325 0.643
G Eric Gordon 20.9 3.3 2.4 1.3 0.433 0.337 0.834
F Kirk Haston 14.6 7.8 1.2 0.8 0.487 0.366 0.717

Guyton: This guy could seriously play.  Not a true point guard but probably forced to play it because he's small for a shooting guard. Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1998, 1999, 2000; Player of the year 2000.
Wright: Big shooting guard who was afraid of playing defense.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2005
Evans: Played 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fiddle to the older guys his first three years but once he was the senior he showed everyone what he could do.  Averaged over 20ppg and won player of the year. Honors: 1st team all Big Ten 1996; Player of the Year 1996
White: Big, strong, physical post-man that dominated as a junior and senior.  Not especially agile on defense but a good rebounder.  Honors: All Big Ten 2008; Player of the Year 2008.
Henderson: Overshadowed by Calbert Cheaney and Damon Bailey but his numbers say it all.  Might be the most dominating big man they've ever had.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1995.
Bench: Jared Jeffries was player of the year in 2002 and carried the Hoosiers to the NCAA championship game. Eric Gordon also earned 1st team honors while proving to everyone Bloomington was just a temporary stop before the NBA.  Kirk Haston garnered 1st team  honors in 2001 for solid defense and was probably the best big man in the conference that year.

Strengths:  Size, defense, team play, bench scoring
Indiana really has a great team here and with Bob Knight running the show you can expect tough man to man defense for 40 minutes.  If  Guyton and Henderson are double teamed you can expect Evans to step up with the big shot.

Weaknesses: DJ White and Alan Henderson had tendencies to get into foul trouble while donning the cream and crimson.  Can Gordon play with Wright and Guyton?  Will the guards relax and let the game come to them or will they force the issue?


Penn St.PtsRBAsstsStlsFg%3pt%FT%
GDan Earl12.62.74.11.60.4670.3830.788
GJoe Crispin15.62.93.81.00.3810.3480.885
G/FGeary Claxton15.17.41.61.00.4430.3300.650
FJohn Amaechi15.68.91.30.5180.694
FCalvin Booth11.9 6.7 0.8 0.6 0.4970.1000.729
BenchG Titus Ivory15.93.83.41.70.4410.3580.836
G Pete Lisicky15.92.92.91.00.4080.3740.888
F Jan Jagla10.26.91.10.80.4140.2570.699

Earl: Solid PG skills.  Good passer, good defender, good shooter.  Nothing outstanding, just solid all-around.
Crispin: Don't let his FG% fool you.  This guy is a shooter.  His numbers suffered from being the best player on a bad team. Honors: 1st Team All-Big Ten 2001
Claxton: Very good rebounder for a guard. Matchup nightmare.  Would have been all 1st team Big Ten if not for a knee injury halfway through his senior season.
Amaechi: A giant on the boards.  Solid shooter from medium range and a solid defensive player. Honors: 1st Team All-Big Ten 1995
Booth: Another NBA bound big man.  Who knew?  Big, round body that other teams will have trouble pushing around.  Not that great of an athlete but good rebounder and FT shooter.  Honors: Defensive POY 1998.
Bench: Ivory and Lisicky are two more little guards that can shoot the lights out when they're hot.  Jagla is a solid bench contributor.

Strengths:  Penn State will definitely light up some scoreboards with their phalanx of distance shooting guards.  Geary Claxton will prove to be a formidable matchup problem for any Big 10 team with his unique size and skills; Claxton sports a true NBA guard body.  The Big Men create a formidable tag team.

Weaknesses:  Penn State basketball has been the weakest program by far since the Nittany Lions entered the Big 10 in 1993.  The team may have a horde of shooters but gaining rebounds and second chances will be highly difficult with their small bench.  An early exit seems inevitable, yet will anybody really care in Happy Valley?

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