Penn State Basketball completely redeems itself by Ferry-racing Virginia Tech

Wow. That Penn State Basketball result last night was unexpected… and exhilarating… and just the most wonderful thing that I could have imagined. In case you missed it because you were watching football or the Duke game or The Bachelorette, here’s what happened: Penn State went into Blacksburg and ran the No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies out of the gym. It was a clobbering that you expect to see in an exhibition game against a Division II team, not in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge. The Nittany Lions shot 12-for-23 from deep and won 75-55.

The game wasn’t even that close, though. Penn State led 42-23 at half and by as many as 28 in the second half. Seth Lundy didn’t even need to score any points because Izaiah Brockington could not be stopped. His 10 field goals were twice as many as anyone else on the court last night, and his 24 points led all scorers. Penn State didn’t turn the ball over until after halftime.

That Keve Aluma that we were so afraid of grabbed 12 rebounds, but only scored eight points, his lowest total of the season. Penn State’s defense wasn’t quite as good as its offense, but it did force 14 turnovers, and it helped that Virginia Tech had a bad shooting night. Most importantly, the Lions did step off the gas pedal like they did against Seton Hall and ended up cruising to a road win over a ranked opponent that has a win over national title contender Villanova on its resume. It’s safe to say that Seton Hall is in the rearview mirror. Bring on the conference slate.

Continue reading
Posted in Big Ten Basketball, Penn State Basketball | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Penn State Basketball is back in action just two days after the Seton Hall loss, but is that a good thing?

Can Penn State bounce back from Sunday’s demoralizing defeat against Seton Hall and get a crucial resume-building win in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge tonight? I might be the only one asking that question. For the second straight game, the Nittany Lions are playing during a primetime NFL game, and they don’t have many supporters to begin with.

Still, those who tune into ESPNU at 9:00 p.m. ET tonight should get treated to an exciting game of basketball. Penn State showed against Seton Hall that it still has plenty of scoring talent on the roster after Lamar Stevens signed an NBA contract in November. Seth Lundy will have to continue his rise to stardom if Penn State is going to keep pace with Virginia Tech, while Sam Sessoms and Myreon Jones have also shown an eagerness to score from the perimeter.

What I’m looking for from the Nittany Lions in this one is better selectiveness in the half-court offense. They don’t need to be jacking up the first shot available when there are so many options on the floor. Too often against Seton Hall they failed to cycle the ball through Lundy, who is clearly the team’s most gifted player with the ability to score as a shooter and with his back to the basket as well. He should be touching the ball on almost every possession.

Continue reading
Posted in Big Ten Basketball, Penn State Basketball | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ohio State’s Playoff resume is in question after Michigan game gets canceled

The University of Michigan announced today that it was canceling its football game against Ohio State due to COVID-19 concerns inside Wolverines program. This means that Ohio State is stuck at just five games played for the season, which the Big Ten had previously said would not be enough to qualify for the conference title game.

That leaves Indiana as the next team up to represent the East Division. At 6-1, the Hoosiers have had a great season, but they’ve also already lost to Ohio State and are on the outside of the College Football Playoff picture without a resume that matches up to SEC hopefuls Florida and Texas A&M. Indiana’s big win over Penn State to start the campaign doesn’t look that great anymore, and its two quality wins over Maryland and Wisconsin are suspect because those two programs have only been able to play four games a piece.

The Hoosiers don’t give the Big Ten a good chance at a College Football Playoff participant, so what gives? Well, it looks like the Big Ten is going to bend the rules it made up at the start of the season and let Ohio State play West Division champ Northwestern despite its smaller-than-expected schedule.

I’m in favor of letting Ohio State play in the Big Ten Championship Game for a couple of reasons. 1) The six-game thing was just made up anyway and Ohio State got in a victory over its top competitor. 2) Any college football fan who watched the Buckeyes play this season can tell that they are the top team in the Big Ten. Just let them in. I might think differently if they hadn’t defeated Indiana, but the Hoosiers were clearly the only Big Ten member with a prayer of stopping Ohio State in 2020, and that game happened.

The real question is whether or not the College Football Playoff committee should keep Ohio State in its top four when the SEC teams mentioned earlier have both played at least three more games than the Buckeyes. The committee concerns itself with quality of victory all the time, but never before have they seen such a difference in QUANTITY of victory, and that’s where Ohio State can get into trouble. Even if it secures a sixth win over Northwestern, is that enough to keep it above a Texas A&M team that has defeated Florida, LSU, and Auburn?

Continue reading
Posted in Big Ten Football | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I almost had a perfect sports weekend, but Penn State Basketball ruins everything

I was about two minutes of game time away from having a perfect sports weekend, but Penn State Basketball made sure that didn’t happen. The least favorite child of the athletic department blew an 84-76 lead to Seton Hall and eventually lost in overtime. There has been a lot of good to take away from Penn State’s first three games, but the departures of Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins leave the team very shallow in the frontcourt, and that allowed a quality big man like Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili to score 30 points. Meanwhile, John Harrar still struggles with the basic fundamentals of post play, but at least Seth Lundy is looking like a legit superstar.

Penn State has talent. Now it’s up to interim head coach Jim Ferry to figure out how it all works together so we’re not stuck with Myreon Jones taking an insane three-point shot with the game on the line.

Figuring out how it all works together is exactly what the Giants have done under Joe Judge in the past month. They didn’t even need a starting quarterback to beat the Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday despite being double-digit underdogs. And it’s not like Colt McCoy was slinging it around like he was back in the Red River Shootout. New York pounded the rock with Wayne Gallman behind an offensive line that has improved since Judge showed Marc Colombo the door.

Continue reading
Posted in Big Ten Basketball, Big Ten Football, National Football League, New York Giants, NFC East, Penn State Basketball, Penn State Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Penn State’s basketball players are saddened and confused by the resignation of Pat Chambers

For the first time since head basketball coach Pat Chambers was forced to resign, Penn State basketball players were able to meet with the media via Zoom on Wednesday. The focus of the press conference was the start of the 2020-21 season, but several players spoke about Chambers and the impact he had on the program.

A month ago, Chambers was shockingly let go by Penn State as a result of an internal investigation that was prompted by the coach making “noose” comments to former player Rasir Bolton, who transferred to Iowa State after the 2018-19 campaign. The controversial conversation between Chambers and Bolton was revealed by The Undefeated and Bolton in July of this year.

In the announcement of Chambers’s resignation, Penn State said that the investigation was based on “new allegations of inappropriate conduct” that came to light following Bolton going public. However, we have let to learn what these new allegations are that apparently cost Penn State its basketball coach.

That’s frustrating because athletic director Sandy Barbour effectively nuked the hoops program with this decision. The Nittany Lions have already lost all three commitments for the 2021 class, and we probably won’t find out about the next full-time head coach until the spring.

Continue reading
Posted in Big Ten Basketball, Penn State Basketball | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Giants slam door on Eagles this time, draw within reach of NFC East title

In any other year, the New York Football Giants’ 27-17 win over Philadelphia on Sunday would be something to build on. It would be a sign that the team is growing under first-year head coach Joe Judge and learning how to win against teams other than Washington. In 2020, the victory is those things, but it is also a key win in the NFC East race because of how terrible everyone is.

The difference between the Giants and their flailing rivals is that the Giants are improving, and that can make all the difference in a division that it seems no one wants to win. In fact, New York would be the clear front-runner by now if it hadn’t let that 11-point fourth quarter lead slip away in Philadelphia last month.

Sunday could have been another rough day for Giants fans, but this time around Daniel Jones completed his critical pass that kept the Eagles from getting the ball back late in a one-possession game.

That play set up a Graham Gano field goal to put the game out of reach. I love that Judge and the Giants were willing to take a risk with the lead instead of just relying on the defense to stop Carson Wentz again. They took a similar chance in the first game against the Eagles, but Jones’s ball bounced off of Evan Engram’s fingertips and Wentz threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Boston Scott. This time around, Darius Slayton came up big.

Continue reading
Posted in National Football League, New York Giants, NFC East | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sean Clifford’s turnovers lead to Penn State’s fourth straight loss and a surprisingly decent outing by backup Will Levis

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Penn State goes on the road, commits a couple of dumb turnovers in the first half, falls behind, then loses at the last second despite an exciting comeback attempt and an advantage of about 200 in the yardage department.

Yes, the 30-23 loss to Nebraska felt like deja vu after PSU fans sat through many of the same scenes that made the defeat at Indiana such a torture rack. The two key differences against the Cornhuskers were that the Nittany Lions never had the lead in Lincoln and that Will Levis replaced Sean Clifford in the second quarter.

That’s it. That’s the play that prompted James Franklin to finally pull Clifford and take his chances with the unproven Levis. Clifford has now fumbled into an opponent touchdown for the second week in a row and has generally been a turnover machine in 2020. Earlier in the game he killed a Penn State drive with a critically misplaced throw. He also threw a pair of interceptions against both Maryland and Indiana.

I thought the Ohio State game was a sign of good thing to come for Clifford, as he connected with Jahan Dotson for three touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over until very late, but he fell hard back to old habits in these last two painful losses. Enter Levis, who clumsily filled in for Clifford when he got hurt in Columbus last season and barely led Penn State to a win over Rutgers.

Continue reading
Posted in Big Ten Football, Penn State Football | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mets fans are in love with Steve Cohen after his introductory press conference

New Mets owner Steve Cohen and returning team president Sandy Alderson held an introductory press conference this afternoon and it couldn’t have gone much better. Mets fans like myself were already fawning over Cohen because he purchased the beloved franchise away from the hated Wilpon family, whose financial troubles dating back to the Bernie Madoff scandal have held the Mets back for the past decade.

Cohen could have said anything and been adored by fans, but he ended up saying all the right things anyway and solidifying good vibes heading into the 2021 season.

When Uncle Stevie talks about being committed to building an exceptional team, the words having meaning because we know he has the resources to make it happen. When he spoke about letting the baseball operations people handle baseball decisions, it resonated because fans are sick of the Wilpons’ meddling. And when Cohen said he would build a great analytics department, we cheered because the Mets have been falling behind in the stathead area for years.

Continue reading
Posted in Major League Baseball, New York Mets | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Giants force five turnovers, still almost lose to Football Team

I’ll give the Giants credit. They did not waste any of the takeaways they got against Washington Football Team on Sunday. New York needed all five to come away with a 23-20 victory that dealt a serious blow to their chances at the top 2021 draft selection.

It’s not like anyone can play as poorly as the Jets, anyway. The Jaguars might have only one win, but even they are competitive week in and week out. The Jets, meanwhile, have only covered the spread in one game this season. And I type that as I’m hoping for them to stay within nine points of New England during Monday Night Football.

The problem with the Giants being a little better than horrible is that we still don’t know if they have their franchise quarterback. Daniel Jones succeeded in not throwing an interception or losing a fumble against Washington, but he didn’t blow anyone away, either. Jones dinked and dunked his way down the field for 212 yards and a touchdown. He took five sacks, included one on third down when the Giants needed a first down to put the game away late.

That touchdown pass to Evan Engram was perhaps Jones’s finest throw of the game, but there was no such magic in the second half. The Giants came out of the locker room with a 20-3 lead, but they scored just three points afterwards and held on for dear life while Alex Smith caught fire and led Washington on three straight scoring drives.

Continue reading
Posted in National Football League, New York Giants, NFC East | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Shocking loss to Maryland exposes Sean Clifford and Penn State’s lack of quarterback depth

Penn State lost to Maryland on Saturday and I’m at a loss for words. It would be one thing if the Nittany Lions let another game slip away due to sloppy quarterback play and poor clock management, but instead they were dominated by a Terrapins squad that just two weeks ago was blown out by Northwestern.

How did Maryland come away with a 35-19 victory that wasn’t even that close? It starts with Taulia Tagovailoa looking a lot more like his brother Tua than anyone anticipated. The sophomore from Hawaii might have struggled in his debut, but in his last two games (both Maryland wins), he’s shown poise, accuracy, and the ability to make plays on the move.

Look at him step up to his right on that play and throw across his body to hit freshman phenom Rakim Jarrett in stride for an electric touchdown. It’s safe to say that Maryland fans haven’t seen that kind of ability from a quarterback in a long time. Based on the potential that the young Tagovailoa has shown, I can give the PSU defense a little slack, especially since they clamped down in the second half.

The offense, on the other hand, laid a huge egg and raised serious questions about the future of the quarterback position. Sean Clifford was that bad. He had trouble finding open receivers, which led to him taking seven sacks and completing just 47 percent of his passes. Clifford started pressing in the second half and turned the ball over three times to put the game out of reach.

Continue reading
Posted in Big Ten Football, Penn State Football | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment