So the Fighting DeChellises will make their Big Ten debut tonight in a critical, nationally-televised road contest at Northwestern. You can catch the game at 9 PM ET on ESPN2.
We actually have a line for this game too: NU (-1.5). This sounds about right to me because even though Northwestern is a bad team, we have been a pretty crap-tastic team on the road, where we have yet to win a game this year. Plus, NU’s best returning player from last year, Kevin Coble, is finally making his debut for the season after being in Arizona with his parents to help out his mother who is battling cancer at the moment. Look for it to be an emotional night for Kevin, as his parents will be in attendance, let’s hope that doesn’t lead to him having some kind of career night against us.
The Wildcats are more than just Coble though, as they currently have three players averaging double figures in scoring in Craig Moore (13.8), Michael Thompson (13.4), and Jason Okrzesik (12.4). It’s safe to say, these guys will probably execute the Princeton offense way better than Denver or even Princeton themselves, did against us so the defense had better be prepared to kick it up a notch. I figure we’ll see a mixture of man-to-man and 2-3 zone with a little full-court press thrown in there at times, we can’t allow NU to get comfortable running their offense against us.
Another concern will be the play from our inexperienced youngsters in their first Big Ten road game. They’re all going to have to step up their games in order to help us walk out of Evanston with a road win. Geary Claxton and Jamelle Cornley alone are not going to be enough and will need to help light a fire under their teammates’ collective asses. It also would help if Mike Walker returns to form after pulling a nice disappearing act against Lehigh, scoring 0 points on 0-for-1 shooting in 11 minutes of action.
Now, as for my ongoing prediction contest with Rants From The District (Just to quickly recap the standings in the “The Contest”: HHV 3-0, RFTD 2-1.): I’m going to say PSU wins a tight one here and thus, beats the spread. We played two opponents recently who run the exact same offense as Northwestern does, not to mention it’s an absolutely critical Big Ten road opener, lose this one and not only will the team’s psyche plummet, but I may have to put up a countdown timer on Ed DeChellis’ coaching tenure.
Also, I’d like to briefly pimp out a fairly new but excellent PSU Hoops blog: Happy Valley Hoops. It’s a stat geek’s paradise that allows you to see how we stack up with the rest of the Big Ten, using numerous types of analysis. Check it out for yourself to see what I’m talking about.