“Bill Cosby U” Invades the Jordan Center

December 6, 2008

Today’s Formidable Opponent: Temple University (3-3)

Location, Location, Location: The Bryce Jordan Center

Time: 6 PM ET

Television: The Big Ten Network.

Weather: Indoors

Brief Synopsis: Temple’s been off to a rough start, losing to two MAC teams (including a 16-point loss at home to Miami of Ohio) and certainly does not look like the team that ran the table in the Atlantic 10 tournament last year to clinch an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

Dionte Christmas leads the charge with his 21.8 ppg and 7.5 rpg.  He’s Temple’s “do-everything” type of player and perhaps part of Temple’s problem is they rely on him a little too much, despite the fact two other players Ryan Brooks and Sergio Olmos are currently averaging 12 ppg.  Olmos is 7 feet tall but somehow only pulls down 3.5 rebounds a game, sounds a lot like the many 7-footers that have graced the PSU starting lineup in the past, look for him to get abused by Cornley and DJ down low.

Looking at tempo-free stats provided by Crispin and Cream, We’re a better rebounding team, hang onto the ball much better, and are more efficient offensively and defensively given the average number of possessions each team has had in a game this season.  Did I also mention that Temple can’t shoot free throws either?  That’s right, they’re currently putting up a paltry 68% as a team. Combine all this with the fact that the game is at home in the BJC and PSU is coming off a critical, momentum-boosting win at Georgia Tech and you would have to consider a Temple victory to be an “upset.”

Oddsmakers seem to feel the same way, as PSU appears to be about a 6.5 point favorite. Crispin and Cream is predicting a thorough whooping by the Fighting DeChellises of the double-digit variety (16 points). Yours Truly also likes the good guys to cover the spread.  As for my buddy John, we’re still awaiting word from him but will have it up soon. John texted his prediction to me a while back and is following suit with C&C and I in picking PSU to cover the spread.

As far as “Contest” results go: Yours Truly is once again the sole possessor of first place, thanks to predicting PSU to beat the spread against Georgia Tech.  John has also vaulted into a tie with C&C due to following my lead.

HHV 4-1

C&C 3-2

John 3-2


PSU v. Ga Tech = Big 10-ACC Challenge/Rudolph Extravaganza

December 3, 2008

This is the time of year where I wish my TV had Picture-In-Picture capability.  You see, PSU’s hoops squad will tip off against Georgia Tech tonight @ 7:30 PM ET on ESPN2, which will be shortly followed by CBS’s annual airing of Rudolph at 8 PM ET…At least there’s a guarantee that one of those viewings will be a pleasant one.  And in case any of you were about to ask: No, there will not be another running diary on Rudolph.  Trust me, doing it once was good enough.

As you all know, the Fighting DeChellises are taking part in the 10th annual “ACC/Big Ten Challenge” which has been anything but a challenge for the ACC, being that they’ve won this fake Land Grant Trophy-quality contest every year since its inception.  Even though this year’s series is tied at 3 games apiece, Indiana and Michigan State have to go up against Wake Forest and UNC respectively so yeah, go ahead and mark those in the “loss” column for the Big Ten.  This means that barring any shockers by IU or MSU, it’s up to PSU, Northwestern (home against Florida State), and Michigan (@ Maryland) to pick up the slack and carry the Big Ten out on top for the first time ever…Seriously, this thing should be banished to the “Island of Misfit Tournaments.”

Action shot from a previous Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Action shot from a previous Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Taking a quick look at Georgia Tech, it appears as if they do the bulk of their scoring in the frontcourt as three of their four double-digit scorers are forwards.  Gani Lawal leads the way for the aforementioned frontcourt, averaging a double-double thus far (19.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg).  The backcourt, while depleted by the losses of D’Andre Bell (spinal stenosis) and Lewis Clinch (academic struggles) still features quality players such as Iman Shumpert (the other double-digit scorer) and Maurice Miller (team leader in assists, 6.7 apg).     For once in my life though, I have the dubious distinction of favoring PSU’s backcourt over an ACC team’s backcourt…strange indeed.

As far as the other major concern with any PSU opponent, perimeter shooting: Georgia Tech surprisingly struggles in this category, shooting a combined 14/43 from behind the arc for a whopping 32.9 percent.  Lance Storrs is the team’s most dangerous shooter, going 5/10 from downtown.  Being that Tech’s already played four games, this seems to indicate that Storrs is simply one of those bench players that you bring in for a few minutes if you need to launch a few 3-point torpedos in order to get an offensive spark going.  Then again, how many times have we seen a supposedly lousy 3-point shooting team suddenly catch fire against us?  Let’s just move on…

Georgia Tech also loves to play up-tempo, as evidenced by their being ranked 4th in tempo/pace according to Ken Pomeroy. Being that Ed DeChellis allegedly favors an up-tempo style as well, this should make for an entertaining game that could end up resembling a track meet of sorts.  PSU should be able to hold pace throughout the game and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.

The line is currently -8.5 in favor of Georgia Tech, which sounds about right.  Tech’s playing at home and most importantly, have a far superior frontcourt which could offset their weaker backcourt, not to mention the fact that PSU also has issues playing in big road games.  If the Fighting DeChellises are going to have any hope of pulling the upset, then Talor Battle needs to put up another near-triple double performance, Pringle and Morrissey need to shoot lights-out and play solid defense, and somebody other than Cornley and DJ has to step up in the frontcourt. Andrew Jones putting on a repeat performance of his 13-rebound game against Towson would certainly be a place to start, Jeff Brooks making a cameo apperance would also be nice.

Crispin and Cream doesn’t see tonight being such a “Holly Jolly” evening, as he’s picking Georgia Tech to cover the spread with a 9-point win.  My advice to him is to just switch over to Rudolph after 8 PM, because while PSU will likely hang around in this one and tickle our fancies by being a couple shots away from taking the lead, I just don’t see them getting over the hump (i.e. making that key defensive stop).  I will however, take PSU to beat the spread and say Tech wins by 7.  John will reluctantly do the same.

Thanksgiving Weekend Bullet-Points

November 29, 2008

So yeah, the blogging has been rather sporadic as of late.  You can blame it on the turkey, blame it on the fact that I was down in Maryland for the past few days with relatives and thus had no time for relevant blogging, blame it on terrorism being back in the front page of the news, whatever.  Bottom line: I need to make some of it up and what better way to do so than to revive an HHV favorite, the “bullet points?”  Here goes nothing…

  • I realize I have yet to put up my own post-game analysis on the football team’s beatdown of Michigan State, I’ll try my damndest to get it up either tomorrow or Monday.  Better late than never…
  • Being that I was in Maryland and couldn’t find a link to a PSU radio broadcast, I was forced to read in-game threads on message boards in order to follow the Rhode Island game.  I never realized one could feel as much anticipation clicking on the “refresh” button on the web browser, waiting to read whether Pringle or Battle hit a potential game-tying shot as one could by just listening to it on the radio.
  • I can’t say that I was shocked that we lost to URI, they’re a pretty solid team and we usually don’t fare favorably against such teams…particularly in neutral/road environments.  Don’t expect much against Georgia Tech this Wednesday.
  • What the hell was ED thinking playing only 7 guys against URI?  Woodyard and Babb need to be thrown into the fire in order t get some quality PT before the Big Ten season.  Unless of course, ED plans on playing a 7-man rotation for the Big Ten slate, in which case we’re royally EFF-YOU-SEE-KAYED.
  • On a positive note: I’m glad to see the Fighting DeChellises were able to get off the mat and bounce back with a 78-54 shellacking of Towson in the 3rd place game of the Philly Classic.  Just looking at the box score, it’s very encouraging to see AJ III with 13 rebounds (even if its against Towson) and Battle nearly racking up a triple-double (15 pts, 9 assists, 8 rebs).  If we can get that kind of performance on a few nights in the Big Ten, there could be a few upsets in store for us.
  • Speaking of the Towson game: John and I conversed by cell phone before tipoff today, and we both picked PSU to cover the 7-point spread in their favor, along with Crispin and Cream.  So, the standings in our contest after two straight days of hoops action currently stand as such:

HHV 3-1

C&C 3-1

John 2-2

  • My fingers are crossed that Oregon hangs on to its 20-point lead over Oregon State (currently in the 3rd quarter as I’m typing this entry) and helps secure an almost certain matchup in the Rose Bowl with USC.
  • Speaking of USC, they currently lead 24-0 at the half as I’m typing this entry.  If ND can spring a little bit of offense, Charlie Weis has a very legit shot at beating the spread, and thus saving his job for the time being.

Alright, that’s it…Enjoy whatever’s left of your holiday.

Oh Yeah, There’s A Basketball Game Tonight…

November 28, 2008

The Rhode Island Rams are next up for the Fighting DeChellises in the semi-finals of the Philly Hoops Classic. Once again, PSU should have the mini-home court advantage with all the Philadelphia-area PSU fans showing up in droves.

Tipoff’s at 6:30 PM and allegedly is being covered on CN8 though that seems to be another bald-faced lie according to everyone who gets CN8. Looks like you’ll have to find a radio feed that does PSU basketball broadcasts and listen to Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi whisper sweet nothings into your ears again.

Sadly enough, I had to wake myself out of my turkey-induced stupor in order to remember all this. Taking a quick skim through Crispin and Cream’s preview though, it sounds like Rhode Island plays a very similar up-tempo style like us and enjoys scoring points in droves. They also don’t play much defense either. Jimmy Baron will likely put on a shooting clinic as well, being that he is 3rd in the NCAA in 3-pointers made thus far and PSU has never been known for playing good perimeter defense.

Remember folks, this is a Rhode Island team that led Duke for practically the entire game until the final minute before Duke (with some referee’s help most likely) put together a furious rally to win the game. They are a 1-point favorite according to the oddsmakers for quite possibly that aforementioned reason.

Crispin and Cream has seen too much heartbreak in the past to pick PSU for the “upset” but my buddy John and I drank too much Kool-Aid to know any better and thus, we’re both picking PSU to win.

Here’s the current standings in our “Contest” once again:

HHV 2-0

C&C 1-1

John 1-1

Welcome To The Palestra…

November 25, 2008

That lovely picture above is where the Fighting DeChellises will be spending their Thanksgiving holiday weekend as they take on Rhode Island on Friday and depending on the result of that game, face either Towson or Villanova on Saturday.

But first things, first:  There’s another team PSU is playing at the Palestra tonight and it’s against the ancient gym’s original occupants, the Penn Quakers.  Tipoff is at 7:30 PM ET and unfortunately, there’s no TV for this game which means you’re going to have to pretend it’s the 1940’s and all you have for electronic entertainment is the radio.  No worries though, Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi are a very solid play-by-play tandem.

Come, cozy yourself by the fire and enjoy another pleasant evening with Jones & Jerardi narrating another thrilling episode of "Captain ED and the Pirates of the Lost Ship."

Come, cozy yourself by the fire and enjoy another pleasant evening with Jones & Jerardi narrating another thrilling episode of "Captain ED and the Pirates of the Aimlessly Wandering Ship"

Don’t let their 1-2 record fool you: The Quakers should pose PSU’s toughest challenge to date, as they’ve held their own against stiff competition, coming up 2 points short against Drexel and losing to this year’s favorite to cut down the nets in April, UNC by merely 15.

According to the stats: It seems Penn’s got a formidable backcourt, led by Tyler Bernardini’s 20 ppg and 3.7 apg and Kevin Egee’s 14.3 ppg.  The aforementioned guards are also shooting above 40% from 3-point land, which certainly bodes well for PSU’s historically shaky perimeter defense. Forward Brennan Votel not only averages double-digits in scoring (12.7 ppg) but is also the second-leading rebounder at 5.7 rpg.

The line on this game is (-2) for PSU.  This might be a tad low, even though the Fighting DeChellises have wolfed down on four straight cupcakes to open the season and will face their first road test tonight.  The fact that there’s a line on this game also means that “The Contest” is back in session.  Here’s a recap of the standings thus far:

HHV 1-0

John  0-1 (aka the blog formerly known as “Rants From the District”)

Crispin and Cream 0-1

John and C&C both like PSU to cover that spread.  I agree with their picks, though I do think it’ll be a tight game tonight.  Give me the good guys over the elitist Ivy League douches by 5 points.

Better Know An Opponent: William and Mary

November 14, 2008

No, that is not a typo:  I’m not bothering with a football preview this week.  It’s Indiana, for crying out loud.  If we don’t come out pissed off and beat them by at least 3 TD’s then I might as well just go ahead and predict a loss against Sparty next weekend. You can hit up BSD and The Nittany Line if you want a full-fledged preview. I want to focus right now though on the basketball season opener.

WHO’S PLAYING: William & Mary (CAA, 2007-08 record: 17-16)


WHERE AT: The “cold, characterless” Bryce Jordan Center

I CAN’T MAKE IT: Well, you’re in luck.  The Big Ten Network’s televising this one.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The “Tribe” is no team to take lightly.  This is a squad that managed to upset VCU in last year’s CAA conference tournament, en route to the conference championship game where they came up short against George Mason and they return three starters from last year’s team.  Additionally, they will get added help at point guard with addition of Arkansas transfer Sean McCurdy who is described as phenomenally athletic and can create shots for his teammates so it sounds like Talor Battle and company will have their hands full tonight.

The Tribe also like to play a slower, pseudo-Princeton style of offense that emphasizes lots of backdoor cuts and 3-point shots.  Actually, they REALLY love three-point shots because they set a CAA record last year with 257 made 3-point attempts.  Look for PSU to try and force the tempo and turn the game into a track meet and attempt to force turnovers with their full-court press and man-to-man defense.  Whoever controls the tempo of this game likely gets the win.

Height will also be an issue for our guys as William & Mary boasts several guys 6’7″ or taller who have excellent shooting range including forward Danny Sumner who shot 47 % from downtown during last year’s conference tourney run.  If the Tribe are allowed to run their offense, it could be a long night for the Fighting DeChellises defensively as they will have to pick their poison of easy points in the paint or wide-open perimeter shots.  So once again, I can’t emphasize it enough, PSU needs to come out pressing from the get-go to throw the Tribe out of rhythm and rattle their psyche.

The line on this game is 10.5 points in favor of the Fighting DeChellises.  That might be a tad high if you ask me, given our uncertainty with interior defense (let alone defense in general) and the Tribe’s shooting ability.  Not to sound like a broken record but the key to this game tonight will be tempo, tempo, tempo.  If PSU can get its fast-paced style of play going from the start and jump out to an early commanding lead, it will make life much more difficult for the Tribe and their slower-paced style of game to crawl back.

Given that this is the season opener, there will likely be plenty of kinks being worked out and the Tribe are a serious threat to pull the upset if PSU comes out lethargic.  However, I think the team is more on the same page than they would be at this time of the year thanks to their exhibition games in Canada back in September.  For that reason, I’m taking PSU to win this game by about 12-15 points and cover the spread.

I also would like to announce that for the second straight year, I will be involved in a “Pick the Spread” contest for the basketball season.  I originally tabbed fellow PSU hoops blogger Crispin and Cream to replace my friend John, whose blog Rants From The District was shut down earlier this year.  Recently, however, John has expressed interest in firing RFTD back up and entering the contest again, so it looks like we’ve got ourselves a little menage-a-trois this year.

John(RFTD) and C&C are both picking William & Mary to beat the spread which means Yours Truly will either be ahead or behind both of them after approximately 8:30 PM ET tonight.  In the meantime, enjoy the season opener, and get your ass over to the BJC if you are close enough.

Illinois: Part III

March 13, 2008

This WAS supposed to be another “Contest” post but it turns out Rants From The District decided to leave the country for the week without bothering to give me advance notice…Here’s to hoping he contracts a couple STDs from a European prostitute.

Anywho, the Fighting DeChellises are an 8-point underdog for Round 3 against the Fighting Illini. I take it the oddsmakers didn’t even read the box scores of the first two times we beat them, let alone watch them. I guess they’re taking our 0-3 neutral site record (a result of the debacle down in Disney World back in November) for granted.

I too, have a bad feeling about this game due to our road/neutral site woes lately, plus the fact that it’s very difficult in college basketball to beat the same team three times in one season…But if we do lose, it’s not going to be by 8 points. If I were a gambling man (which I’m not: Save for March Madness and Super Bowl pools), I would throw fucking Fort Knox down on PSU covering the spread: We beat Illinois with Geary Claxton, and we’ve beaten them without Claxton. We beat them when we totally out-rebounded them and we beat them when they out-rebounded us. We beat them in Champaign and we beat them in State College…

By now you get the gist of what I’m trying to say: Our team has the utmost of confidence when it comes to facing Illinois this season, injuries and other setbacks be damned. Perhaps another game against the Illini is all we need to get rid of that “goose egg” in the neutral site W/L column.

If you want a statistical analysis: UncleLar’s got it for you at Happy Valley Hoops. We’re pretty evenly matched with them, save for a couple categories so once again, expect an extremely hard-fought, close contest that could go either way. A win for us today would mean we’re one step closer to potentially securing a bid for the brand spankin’ new CBI tournament and to that I say: GO STATE LET’S 3-PEAT!