Penn State Nittany Lions
Head Coach: Patrick Chambers
Last Season: 10-21 (2-16), last in Big Ten
Graduated: G Nick Colella
Transfered: F Jermaine Marshall, F Jon Graham
Left Early: F Sasa Borovnjak
New Faces: Graham Woodward, Geno Thorpe, John Johnson (transfer)
2013 recap: There was some optimism in State College entering the season and things were looking good after a mild upset victory over Providence in November. Unfortunately in the following game star point guard Tim Frazier suffered an achilles injury causing him to miss the rest of the season. Without their star player, the Penn State team fell into complete disarray and began the BIG season 0-14 before finally getting a victory against Michigan. When the season ended the second best player on the team, Jermaine Marshall, elected to transfer potentially setting back some
|May people have forgotten Tim Frazier is |
one of the 10 best players in the conference.
2014 Outlook: With Tim Frazier back, Penn State is definitely improved from how they finished last season. The loss of Jermaine Marshall hurts as well as having two potential impact players unavailable to the team due to transfer rules. The non conference schedule is manageable and should give the team opportunity to sort out a rotation early. Only getting Michigan and Wisconsin once each helps their chances and as a result I expect a bit of a surprise season from the Nittany Lions.
Projection: 9th in Big Ten, NIT invite
Head Coach: Matt Painter
Last Season: 16-18 (8-10), tied for seventh in Big Ten
Graduated: G DJ Byrd, G Dru Anthrop
Transferred: G Anthony Johnson, F Sandi Marcius, F Jacob Lawson, F Donnie Hale
Left Early: None
New Faces: Kendall Stephens (#61), Bryson Scott (#75), Basil Smotherman, Sterling Carter (transfer), Erick Peck (transfer)
2013 recap: An opening night loss at home to Bucknell should have been considered an omen for how the season would unfold. Nothing went right for Purdue last year. There was fighting amongst the team and after getting off to a great start, a certain freshman decided he could coast and do whatever he wanted. This prevented the team from ever getting into a rhythm and as a result they struggled and underperformed. Towards the end of the season they coasted as if they were just ready for it all to be over. They eventually got their wish after being embarrassed by Santa Clara in the CBI tournament. Once
|This image says it all to Purdue fans. If Hammons is|
focused Purdue could be a sleeper this year.
2014 Outlook: Last season for Purdue is but a memory. Now Painter has an excellent freshman class to back up the sophomores and two quality transfers. It seems everyone is buying into the program this time around which is the big key for Purdue to be successful. I'm still concerned about the perimeter defense but the shooting will be better and this year's roster has more depth and maturity. I expect some boneheaded losses as well as a couple of upsets. This team is better than they're getting credit for.
Projection: 5th in Big Ten, qualify for NCAA Tournament
Head Coach: Bo Ryan
Last Season: 23-12 (12-6), tied for fourth in Big Ten, lost in first round of NCAA tournament to Ole Miss.
Graduated: C Jared Berggren, F Ryan Evans, F Mike Bruesewitz
Left Early: None
New Faces: G Bronson Koenig (#73, will redshirt?), F Nigel Hayes
2013 recap: Last year may have been Bo Ryan's best effort yet. Without star point guard Jordan Taylor many pundits expected Wisconsin to fall to the middle of the Big Ten. Just 9-4 after non-conference play, which included losses to every ranked team they faced, the Badgers were faced with an uphill battle if they were going to make the NCAA tournament. The team responded well by going 12-6 in BIG play including wins over Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio State. A first round exit in the NCAA Tournament put a damper on the season but it showed that we should never underestimate the Badgers as long as Bo Ryan is at the helm.
|Expect more than Bucky Badger to present Mr.|
Dekker with accolades this season.
This looks like another short bench. Duje Dukan can step outside and shoot the three while also guarding some of the bigger guys. The range on his shot will allow for better spacing on the offensive end. George Marshall is a steady guard Bo Ryan can turn to when one the starters needs a breather. He's a bit smaller than the typical guard in Ryan's system but he'll get an opportunity for minutes. Evan Anderson is a huge x-factor for this team. With Kaminsky a bit of an unknown as a starter, Anderson may be required to soak up huge minutes. He won't make much of an impact in the box score, however. Freshman Nigel Hayes is probably the last guy on the bench for Bo Ryan but it's possible he sees the most minutes. A highly touted recruit, Hayes will be the new Ryan Evans/Mike Bruesewitz forward who plays both inside and outside. Zach Bohannon has been around four years making him valuable from an experience standpoint. His game has not improved enough, however, to be counted on for more than a few minutes each night. Aaron Moesch is a big freshman who likely won't get any playing time while Bronson Koenig appears to be heading towards a redshirt season.
2014 Outlook: Some people may be lamenting the losses of Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz but let's look at the facts for a second. Ryan Evans was one of the worst offensive players in the country last season. He was 2-24 from three point range (8.3%!) and hit just 41.6% of his twos. Worse than that was his 42.6% free throw percentage! Oh yeah, and he was the leading shot taker and free throw attempter for the Badgers. Mike Bruesewitz was a decent shooter inside the arc but was third on the team in three point attempts despite only making 28% of them. Don't you think we can expect an improvement in these two areas? Wisconsin can't possibly let their worst player on offense lead the team in shot attempts can they? I know Berggren is gone but the Bo Ryan system has effectively replaced impact players for years. This year it's Sam Dekker's turn and I think he's a rising star. Don't underestimate these guys just because they play slow and aren't as tall as other teams. Bo Ryan has a pretty good team on his hands this year.
Projection: 2nd in Big Ten, #3 seed in NCAA Tournament