Penn State basketball has been one of the nation’s most exciting teams to watch this season with their talented guards and athletic wings. Head coach Patrick Chambers has built this team to a point where challenging for a spot in the top half of the conference is not out of the picture.
The problem that troubles Penn State is consistency as it can challenge some of the nation’s top teams like it did against Texas A&M in the final of the Progressive Legends Classic on a good day. Sophomores Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens looked unstoppable against talented defenders as they almost kept the Nittany Lions in the game by themselves.
On a bad day, the Nittany Lions can lose to bad teams like their last game they played against Rider. Penn State was never really in charge of that game even though junior Josh Reaves flirted with a triple double. While Rider needed a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer, the fact that the Nittany Lions were in a one possession game against a team that might not finish in the top half of a low major conference does not look good for a team trying to make its first NCAA Tournament sine 2011.
Areas for Improvement
The one good thing about Penn State’s poor performance against Rider is a game against Coppin State on December 30 for Coach Chambers to get the team to play with the consistency needed in conference play. The one player that needs to be more consistent is senior Shep Garner as he struggled in the second half against Rider.
His 3-point shooting has been extremely inconsistent as he shot the lights out in the first half of his last game. Garner has not been able to show off his range with consistency as he struggled against defenders from good teams, like the Aggies and Wisconsin in Penn State’s conference home opener.
Carr and Stevens
The sophomore duo of Carr and Stevens are also capable of these types of inconsistencies as they can be unbeatable one game only to be locked down by the opponents in the next game. Stevens has struggled more with consistency than Carr as he leads the team in turnovers with 34 turnovers as he tries to do too much when he drives to the basket.
He has to perform well against Coppin State as Stevens needs to play with more confidence on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles have not won a game yet this season and have struggled to score. They are currently last in the nation in points per game with just 53.7.
The lack of height for Coppin State is also beneficial for Stevens as the Eagles do not have a player on their roster over 6’8.” The mismatch between Coppin State and Penn State is real and coach Patrick Chambers will get his team back on track just in time for conference play.