Friday, January 11, 2008

Gophers vs. Penn State

The Gophers travel to Happy Valley this weekend, to take on the Conference Leading Penn State Nittany Lions - that was weird to type. In a season which may be Penn State's last chance to get to the NCAA tournament for a while, they need every win they can get after a poor non-conference showing. Despite a couple of decent wins against Virginia Tech and Seton Hall, they blew a nice opportunity in the Old Spice Classic, going 0-3 against the likes of South Carolina, Rider, and Central Florida. The Lions didn't win a single road or neutral game in non-conference, which makes their latest win at Illinois that much more important. Although, it's looking like a win over Illinois is no big deal, a road win in the Big Ten for a bubble team is always a big deal.

For the thirtieth year in a row, Penn State is led by Geary Claxton and Jamelle Cornley, and for the hundredth year in a row, they have two white guys who can shoot threes. Claxton is finally in his senior year, and is looking to make the most of it, averaging 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, with a double-double in each Big Ten game thus far, landing him Big Ten Player of the Week honors. Not to be outdone, Cornley also tallied a double-double in each Big Ten game, and is averaging 12.1 points and 6.5 boards per game. Both players are mid-sized at 6-5, with Claxton better from the perimeter than Cornley, and able to step back and hit the three (21-56 this year).

Those two are the key, but Penn State has alot of other players who can hurt you in a variety of ways, with seven players averaging between 3.5 and 8 points per game. Danny Morrissey and Mike Walker are the white three point shooting guards, with Morrissey the bigger threat, hitting 5 threes in two different games this year. Walker rarely ventures inside the 3 point line, but is a very smart player with 16 assists to only 2 turnovers this season.

PSU can also bring 5-11 guard Talor Battle at you, who somehow at that height still averages 3.2 rebounds per game, and 6-1 guard Stanley Pringle, who exploded against Northwestern for 17 points. There's not much else in the paint in the way of scoring other than Cornley, but David Jackson, Brandon Hassell, and Jeff Brooks find ways to contribute on the boards, and overall PSU ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding.

Essentially, Penn State has planted themselves firmly in the middle of the Big Ten, and tomorrow's game will go along way towards deciding if they're moving up or down, just like the Gophers. If Penn State gets a third scorer to go with Claxton and Cornley, they'll be tough to handle.

A big test for the Gophers here, can they go on the road and win against a team on their level? If they can play with the same defensive intensity and toughness they showed against Michigan State they could win. Will they? I'm guessing not. I don't think they have the defensive presence to handle both Claxton and Cornley, and don't have the inside scoring to take advantage of PSU's relative lack of size.

Penn State 68, Minnesota 63 and here's a little Geary Claxton highlight video for your perusal:

Harvard -3.5 @ Dartmouth
Rider -5.5 @ Iona
Manhattan -5.5 @ Canisius
Niagara -3.5 vs. Siena

Yesterday: 4-6
Season: 207-179


Dawg said...

Gophs by 11.

PS You're a chicken shit idiot!

PPS Hopefully that didn't cost me my ticket to MSU but it needed to be said.

snacks said...

Maddog is picking the Gophers to win? What?

Dawg said...

Snacks picked Hoffarber to be a poors man's Travis Busch? What?

How could you Snacks????

WWWWWW said...

What means "chicken shit idiot?"

LSR said...

WWWWWWWWW, Why is there no picture of hot Penn State chicks??? I know there are people on this blog that hate hot women, but 99% of your straight readers enjoy looking at hot co-eds.

Put up more hot chicks you chicken shit idiot!

WWWWWW said...

I thought the basketball team with garbage was funny. But I can do both.

Dawg said...

WWWW- For some reason that sounded alright when I wrote it, but I will try again for your sake.

You are an idiotic piece of chicken shit. Better?

Over/Under on Hoffarber aka Bruno's points vs PSU will be set at 11. Any wagers?

WWWWWW said...

Ok, I get idiotic, but don't get why I'm "chicken shit." Please explain further.

Dawg said...

Anytime its a close call between the gophers and another team you predict the other team will win out of fear of looking like a "homer". Hence the chicken shit comment.

WWWWWW said...

I thought that's where you might have been heading, but I wanted to make sure before I told you what an idiot you really are.

Dawg - It's called "being intelligent and doing actual analysis and thinking instead of just picking the Gophers every single time you god damn retard."

You really, truly think that Michigan State game wasn't a fluke, especially after MSU barely beat Purdue? You really think this team, the only significant change of which is a new coach, can go play a good team at a good venue and walk out with a win? I mean, be so confident in it that someone picking the other way is an idiot?

Forgive me if I continue to pick the games using my head and not my heart, especially since this criticism comes from the same guy who has picked every single Twins team to win the World Series over the past ten years, picks every Gopher team to make the NCAA tournament, thought Miles Tarver would be an NBA draft pick, wouldn't stand up when Cal Ripken got his 3000th hit because "it was against the Twins", and was so heartbroken when the Vikings lost in 1998 he couldn't watch football again for several years.

Thanks anyway, but I'm ok with doing things my way.

Dr. Acula!. said...

Since I don't care for basketball, I've done some in-depth picture analysis on the Penn State chicks above. What I've noted is that the three girls who are hot have beers in their hands while the other girl, far right and likely not hot, has a burrito or hoagie or something.

man...shit said...

Those chicks ain't nothing but hoodrats! Give me some hotties!

Dawg said...

Exaggerator aka Chicken Shit - Coming from a guy that thinks Rico Tucker is the greatest unrecognized talent of all-time, was convinced Mark Clayton would have a Randy Moss like year, thought Illinois was going to be in the final four, thinks Jon Williams is a better basketball player then Spencer Tollackson because of the color of his skin, didn't think Blake Hoffarber could take over a pick up game at a local health club, and didn't know that you could switch out of a single back formation in Madden, I will take my chances on my team in a toss up game on the road. Its called being a fan.

In conclusion take your analysis and shove it up your sweaty crack.

WWWWWW said...

That would have been really good if it didn't take you three days to come up with it.

Dawg said...

CS - They didn't have the internet in Grand Forks.

PS See you Sunday.

WWWWWW said...

Ticket revoked.