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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Penn State set to clash with Illini tonight @ 6:30 p.m. on ComRadio

The Nittany Lion Basketball team (8-11, 0-7 in B10) will collide with the Illinois Fighting Illini (12-8, 4-3 in B10) TONIGHT at 6:30 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The ComRadio Basketball Pregame Show tips off at 6:00 p.m. as the show will include sound from Ed DeChellis' press conference this week as well as an exclusive interview with Penn State Sports Network Analyst Dick Jerardi, who travels with the team and could potentially shed some light on where the winless Lions are at mentally right now as a unit. Also, be sure to tune into the ComRadio broadcast.

Penn State let one slip away earlier this season at the hands of the Illini, 54-53, in Champaign. In the team's last meeting at the BJC, Talor Battle, who currently leads the Big Ten in scoring at 19.1 ppg, was able to convert on an off-balance jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining in the second half. The victory gave PSU one of its signature victories of the season, as the team went on to steamroll past power-six teams in Notre Dame, Florida and Baylor to capture the 2009 NIT title. In Battle's career, Penn State is 4-2 in games against Illinois and will look to end what has been a disheartening 7-game losing streak tonight at the BJC.

One theme for the Lions this year has been their squandering of opportunities down the stretch in narrow losses @ Temple, @ Illinois, @ Wisconsin, vs. Michigan and vs. Virginia Tech. All of those games featured Nittany Lion debacles on the final possession(s) of the game which ultimately led to excruciating losses.

One note: PSU is the only major conference team (B12, B10, ACC, BIG EAST, PAC-10, SEC) in the country with only one scorer in double figures. The Lions desperately need inspired efforts from guys like DJ Jackson, Chris Babb and Andrew Ott to have any chance at knocking off a very solid Illinois team tonight. Andrew Jones looks to have been demoted to a new role off the bench after his productivity this season has simply diminished. It will be interesting to see if PSU comes out with some pride and simply finds a way to treat its home fans to a win. It will not be easy if Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale are doing work inside and if Demetri McCamey continues to stifle opponents on the perimeter like he has been as of late. McCamey had 25 pts and 5 asts and make a key difference in the team's earlier meeting. If the Lions take advantage of Illinois' turnovers and convert down the stretch, Penn State will have a real shot despite their misfortune so far this season.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Penn State vs. Indiana Thursday

The Nittany Lions host Indiana on Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State continues to search for its first Big Ten Conference win. Let's see if they can get it done against Tom Crean's pesky Hoosiers. Tune in to or check back for updates tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

PSU vs. Illinois Live Blog

Hey boys and girls, I'm Tom Ferguson and I'll be running tonight's live blog of the basketball game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Fighting Illini of Illinois in Champaign, ILL. PSU enters the match-up with a 8-7 overall record, 0-3 in the conference, and is coming off a humiliating loss to Michigan in which they held a 16 point lead, only to give it up and lose by nine to the Wolverines. Illinois survived an upset bid by the Indiana Hoosiers in their last contest to improve to 11-5 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten so far this year.

This is an important game for the Nittany Lions to try to avoid a devastating skid to start the year. The Lions have won 3 straight at Illinois, including the last 4 out of 5 overall, but are in a serious funk this season.

Players to look out for on the Illini: Mike Tisdale, averaging 12.6 points per game. Also, big Mike Davis is averaging 11.8 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game.

First Half 20:00

PSU starters: Ott, Jackson, Frazier, Battle, Babb

Illinois Starters: McCamey, Richardson, Cole, Davis, Tisdale

Interesting to note that Ott is starting over Jones. Clearly, DeChellis has grown tired of Jones' lackluster effort this season. Should be intriguing to see how Ott performs with the start...

First Half 15:23 Illinois 10, Penn State 9

Ott's out of the gate with 4 points and has performed well, but the rest of the Lions look asleep, aside from a Babb three and a Battle lay-up. Frazier had a few costly turnovers and the defense has been lackluster, as the Illini have gotten into the lane and kicked out for open jumpers. Penn State needs to step up the energy and focus a bit; they don't look energized or excited to be there. McCamey is a stud and needs to be hounded on the defensive end.


First Half 10:44 Illinois 19, PSU 19

Penn State stepped it up and jumped out in front for the first time, 16-14 by using their speed advantage, but the Illini were quick to answer. Give credit to the Lions though, they're fighting back on the offensive end and getting a little more aggressive on defense. That being said, Illinois is finding any shot they want on the offensive end. PSU is in this game because of their 53.8% shooting from the field.

First Half 7:25 Illinois 23, PSU 21

Ugly stretch of basketball by both teams. Bad shots from the Nits, as they are now down to 44.4% from the field and have 5 turnovers so far in the half. It was capped by an ugly three from Talor Battle from, essentially, State College. Babb and Battle lead the way with 6 apiece, but the others have yet to get going for the Lions...

First Half 3:38 PSU 26, Illinois 23

Ball gets tipped out by Edwards to Babb on a break with Tisdale trailing to try to block any shot attempt. Babb, instead of going up strong, leaves it for Battle, who has a 13-inch disadvantage against Mike Tisdale. Needless to say, Battle missed the shot and Jim Jackson (along with myself) questioned why Babb didn't just go up with the shot. Babb would later score on a nice backdoor cut and pass with Battle to get the traditional three-point play and give the Lions a 26-23 lead.

Both teams are beginning to struggle against each other. Shots have cooled off and it has became a physical Big Ten contest. Penn State has doen a great job weathering the storm and stepping up on the defensive end, forcing Illinois into a bit of a quicker pace than they want to go at. If PSU can keep that up and avoid hurting themselves, they might be able to stay ahead.

I have to say, I am impressed with how well Ott has played tonight. He has stepped into this starting role and been much more active than I've ever seen him on the court. He hasn't necessarily played that great tonight, but he's been active and has done enough to give Penn State a solid center for the game.

Half Time PSU 28, Illinois 23

Penn State has begun to pull away, thanks in part to the Illini not having a field goal since there was 8:34 to go in the half. Penn State's defense has been much more solid, getting very active on the defensive end and forcing the Illini into plenty of jump shots and not giving them the opportunity to be aggressive.

The game is starting to resemble last year's contest in Champaign, as neither team is putting up much fight offensively. Both teams are shooting at 35% or below and have had trouble deciphering what to do to get to the basket.

It's going to be up to the Lions to keep up the defensive pressure, but also begin to open it up on offense. Get out and run with this team, there are few in the Big Ten that can keep up with the Lions if they get out in transition. Penn State needs to push tempo on the Illini.

Second Half 20:00 PSU 28, Illinois 23

Wait a minute, Illinois is still on break? What the heck?!?! Why are we not still on break? Jeepers...

Second Half 16:18 Illinois 35, PSU 32

Poor, poor effort by the Lions out of the gate of the second half. Illinois looks like they finally woke up (though, if the first half taught us anything, McCamey plays well in the first 5 minutes, then just disappears). A quick 5 point swing for the Illini gave them the 3-point lead as Penn State got careless toward the end of a defensive possession, giving the McCamey a three, then turning it over and letting McCamey hit a jumper in transition.

Gotta keep your composure if you're Penn State right now. You're 30-3 when leading at the half in the last two years, but you just had one of your worst collapses in a long time against Michigan. Stay focused if you're the Nittany Lions.

Second Half 11:18 PSU 40, Illinois 38

Andrew Jones, through about 12 minutes, has 0 points, 0 rebounds, 2 turnovers and 2 personal fouls...where is Andrew Ott and why is he not in the game at this point? I understand Jones' value towards the end of last year, but he has been atrocious in his past few games. A pass just whistled off his hands when he was open in the lane, giving Illinois a fast break down the other end. The difference in the game right now is Illinois struggling to take advantage of Penn State mistakes and Babb and Battle making timely jump shots and plays for the Lions.

Second Half 7:58 PSU 48, Illinois 43

The threes are beginning to fall for the Lions as Woodyard and Brooks hit 2 in that stretch. Huge dunk by Tisdale and lucky three for McCamey have kept Illinois within striking distance.

Mike Davis has yet to register a point. Davis has registered 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 23 minutes of work. That's a huge credit to the way Penn State has been able to play defense against the Illini.

It's important for Penn State now to put away Illinois. The longer this game stays at a 5 point lead, the better chance Illinois has to get on a mini-run and beat the Lions. They have to give themselves a cushion, because there is at least one more run left for Illinois. It's up to Penn State to have enough of a cushion to hold that off.

Second Half 3:02 PSU 53, Illinois 49

Bill Edwards has been short on a LOT of his shots tonight, especially those from beyond the arc or just inside. He is best when moving towards the basket. Penn State has done a great job entering the ball in the paint and using some time to find a good shot. That is something they have hardly ever done in the past two years, so it's encouraging to see them taking their time. It's up to the Lions to shadow McCamey and force Tisdale to dish it off. Make someone else beat you, not those two.

Second Half 2:07 PSU 53, Illinois 52

I thought it was funny the first time Mike Hall said "Champ-bana," but the 75 other times have started to wear thin with me...

Second Half 1:02 Illinois 54, PSU 53

How can you let McCamey, a player who has killed you ALL NIGHT, beat you like that on that pick and roll? Terrible job by Ott getting out and hedging. If PSU loses tonight, the reason is the poor defense against McCamey.

Second Half 0:19 Illinois 54, PSU 53

First of all: Two awful possessions by the Lions. Fade away three for Battle WAY too early in the shot clock, then four players stood around and watched Battle launch another three pointer that was off the mark.

Second of all: Where was McCamey going with that jump pass? No one was anywhere near where he threw the pass.

Second Half 0:3.5 Illinois 54, PSU 53

Illinois misses the front end of the one-and-one and PSU runs the ball down the floor, where Battle is swatted by Tisdale...why take it inside that quickly? Get it to someone that's open, everyone in that gym knew Battle was driving.

Final Score Illinois 54, PSU 53

You mean to tell me that the best shot that Penn State could find was a fall-away three point shot when all they needed was a two? That was a terrible play for the Nittany Lions to run. Battle had a wide-open Babb (the inbounder) making a cut to the basket on the baseline, but he either couldn't see him or didn't have a clear path to make the pass.

What you can take away from this game...well, you might not want to hear it. Battle went 1-for-10 in the second half, the Lions struggled again to keep a lead that had ballooned to as much as 8 with about 8 minutes to go. The Lions fall to 0-4 in the conference and are still left searching for answers down low. Ott played alright in place of Jones, but Penn State is in DESPERATE need for some kind of inside presence. The Lions fall to .500 at 8-8 on the year and now travel to Iowa City, which, if last year is any indication, won't be an easy match-up for the Lions. This has potential to turn into a devastating slide for Penn State.

Thanks for tuning in everyone, hopefully next time, we get a better result! Good game from both teams, just a disappointing effort in the waning moments from the Nittany Lions, which ultimately cost them the game.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Penn State vs Michigan LIVE BLOG:

The Nittany Lions look to end their two game losing streak against Michigan in the Bryce Jordan Center tonight at 7pm ET. The Comradio Hoops blog will provide in game analysis right here! Comments are welcome. **The page will NOT refresh automatically. Please refresh for updated analysis.

Final Stats- Click to Enlarge

FINAL Mich wins 64-55 Penn State began the game doing everything right. Early in the second half Michigan showed signs of life after not being able to do anything in the first half. They were 0-12 from behind the arc. Then in the second half of the second half, everything was falling for Michigan. They started to creep back and it was all downhill for Penn State. A win for Penn State would have been a huge confidence boost. The loss in this fashion is just a confidence crusher. The Lions have begun BigTen play at 0-3. (MEW)

:43.4 Mich leads 64-55 Penn State got the ball off a bad turnover by Manny Harris. Battle took a tough, unnecessary three and missed. Michigan came back the other way and scored and then Jeff Brooks missed a layup. Penn State then needed to foul and here we are (MEW)

1:12 Mich leads 60-55 Everything is finally going right for Michigan and couldn't come at a better time. It now comes down to how Penn State can play in the clutch. Both teams are in the bonus. All fouls are 1 and 1. We are in for an exciting finish. (MEW)

3:50 Mich leads 51-50 Michigan has come back and now has a lead. But Penn State fans should be in their comfort zone. This is the team they are used to seeing. Chris Babb is still hot from three hitting 4 of 5. Deshawn Sims has 23 points on the day. Manny Harris is up to 8. Babb, Battle (Penn State), Sims, Harris (Michigan) are the players to watch down the stretch. It is those two guys on each side that really will make or break this game. (MEW)

6:00 PSU leads 47-43 Everything the Nittany Lions did in the first half is now being erased. Michigan is now really hot especially from three. Penn State needs to focus. (MEW)

10:33 PSU leads 42-35 Michigan has now hit three threes in a row (including one from Harris). DJ Jackson missed a layup for the Lions. The Wolverines are creeping back. Lions need to go back to basics and they can't start chucking up threes themselves. But if they do, give it to Babb. (MEW)

11:54 PSU leads 42-29 Everytime Babb takes a shot, I hear KA CHING! He is money. He is 3 of 3 from behind the arc and 3-4 from inside the arc. Penn State is still doing well on the defensive shuffle. Michigan finally hit a three but are still only shooting 1 of 15. Until Michigan proves they can continue to hit threes, Penn State needs to let them take those shots. They cannot allow the Wolverines to drive. Manny Harris still has only 2 points. Talor Battle has 9. As time winds down, we may see Michigan continue to take threes in order to get back into this game. If the Wolverines get hot, we our in for a good finish. (MEW)

15:18 PSU leads 36-24 Michigan came out strong as I predicted. Their defense is better, and they are also driving the lane more. Penn State has not had too many shot attempts in the early going. Although Penn State looked good with the defensive switching in the first half, they still weren't too physical. With the Wolverines off to a strong start it will be important for the Lions to try and get in passing lanes and in driving lanes. They need to be physical and maybe flop a little to draw the offensive fouls. (MEW)

Full Halftime Stats - Click to Enlarge

Half PSU leads 31-16 The Nittany Lions are playing a heck of a game right now. Michigan is certainly helping. The Wolverines are shooting 0-12 from behind the arc. Not much else to say since the last post. Penn State is just doing everything right. I expect Michigan to come out with a lot of energy. They are a better team than this. The Lions need to stay alert and keep doing exactly what they are doing. even if Michigan starts to creep back, Penn State needs to keep driving the lane and stay quick on defense. So far they have only attempted six 3-pointers which is very low compared to what we normally see. Fundamentals are the key. It's the reason the Lions lead at the half. (MEW)

2:56 PSU leads 27-14 The defensive rotation for the Lions is maybe the best I've ever seen. They really look fantastic. Manny Harris still has just 2 points. Talor Battle has 7. Penn State has done great on switches, they have been great in transition, they have been great in drawing contact, they have been great on following up plays, and they have been the quickest to the loose balls. Everything we thought the Nittany Lions could not do, they are doing. They need to keep their momentum going as we approach the end of the half. As we allude back to Ed DeChellis' message to his team before the game.... Penn State is responding quite well. (MEW)

7:06 PSU leads 20-12 Talor Battle hits a three ball giving him his first points of the game. Both teams have been fairly sloppy with the ball. Penn State has 6 turnovers, Michigan with 7. Penn State needs to continue keeping Michigan to the outside until they prove they can hit a three. They are 0-9 thus far. Deshawn Sims has 10 of the Wolverine's 12 points. Michigan needs to get other guys going. (MEW)

9:40: PSU leads 15-8 Surprisingly, Penn State has only attempted one shot from behind the arc. It was Chris Babb who was wide open and he hit it. Michigan is 0-8 from three point land. Penn State has been fairly smart with the ball making smart plays and not taking hard shots. They have been able to get the shots they want. And as we watch the two leading point scorers closely... Harris has 2 points. Battle is still looking for his first points. Battle is contributing nonetheless with 3 assists and 2 boards. Both teams need to be more physical defensively. (MEW)

14:43: PSU leads 8-4 Well it started off with neither team able to get anything going. Both defenses were playing strong. Penn State has started to go on a little run now and they have a 4 point lead at the first media timeout. However, Penn State already has 3 fouls so they need to be careful. Interestingly enough, Andrew Ott, the Nittany Lions big man, was standing along the perimeter for a long time. My original thought was he should be inside being the big man he is... until of course he hit a three which is exactly what jump started the Lions! Meanwhile, Talor Battle (Penn State) and Manny Harris (Michigan) are the two leading scorers in the BigTen. Both have yet to score. (MEW)

20:00 Defense, Rebounding, and Energy among Ed DeChellis' main points of emphasis for tonight's game for the Nittany Lions.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Penn State hosts Michigan Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Nittany Lions are back in action Thursday at 7 p.m. as the Michigan Wolverines visit the Bryce Jordan Center. Brian Tripp and Kevin Foedinger will have the call live on ComRadio. Visit and click on the headphones to listen live!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Penn State vs. Wisconsin Live Blog

Final Stats - Click to Enlarge

0:00 - WIS PSU:
Complete domination by Wisconsin. Penn State shoots under 36% from the field, under 30 % from three-point range, and under 37% from the foul line. Wow! Wisconsin deserves to be ranked. Solid performance. Thanks for stopping by!

2:40 - WIS 58 PSU 43: Wisconsin is running the clock. Penn State has 43 points in 37 minutes. I don't think they are scoring 13 with 2:40 remaining. Oh, and the Nittany Lions are shooting 36 %.

3:10 - WIS 56 PSU 42: 3 points since the 9:40 mark of the game. Enough said.

5:14 - WIS 55 PSU 40: Nothing new to report. No scoring, Wisconsin's defense is playing like the Steel Curtain. Penn State can't buy a good look, let alone a bucket. When people argue that Big Ten basketball can get boring, they probably should point to this game.

8:45 - WIS 55 PSU 40: Back-to-back threes from Wisconsin could be the final nails in the coffin. Hughes has been tough on defense, and now shows his ability to shoot the ball.

Sorry for the delay on the last post. Here are a few observations...
- Penn State is starting to get more and more second-chance opportunities. It would be nice to see the Nittany Lions starting to draw more fouls inside and turn some of these chances into three-point plays.
- Wisconsin is cooling down, but it has been Penn State's defense heating up!
- Both D.J. Jackson and Bill Edwards need to start playing with some confidence.

10:49 - WIS 49 PSU 39: Just when the Nittany Lions made a run, Trevon Hughes converts on a three point play. Battle's shot short, now Hughes is fouled by Edwards. Bad foul, Edwards has been unimpressive today. Babb misses another open three for Penn State, but just when you think things are going downhill, he comes back and hits another. Wisconsin's shooting is cooling down, now just 40% from beyond the arc. Battle misses a layup, as does Jones, but he is fouled. Jones at the line, Penn State looking to rally. It's a 10 point game.

17:05 - WIS 39 PSU 27: The Badgers pick it up where they left off with a Leuer three. Jackson converts the foul shot on a three point play on Penn State's first possession of the half. Battle makes an acrobatic lay-up over Hughes, here come the Lions. It's down to 10. Evans makes it 12 again. Penn State has the ball, second foul on Hughes. Jackson misses.

20:00 (Second Half) - WIS 34 PSU 22: Just a heads up, Penn State's next game is on Thursday (1/7/10) against Michigan at the BJC. Michigan has all the potential in the world, but has really struggled. The Wolverines are on the Big Ten Network following the Penn State game if you would like to get an early look at Big Blue (although I personally would choose the Eagles vs. Cowboys game at 4:15). ComRadio's Brian Tripp and Kevin Foedinger will have the call. Tip off is 7:00 pm. Tune in early for the pregame show!

Full Halftime Stats - Click to Enlarge

First half stats:
Field goals 13-26 50.0% / 9-25 36.0%
3-point FGs 5-11 45.5% / 3-9 33.3%
Free throws 3-4 75.0% / 1-7 14.3%
Reb (O-D) 17 (2-15) / 17 (4-13)
Turnovers 2 / 5
Last FG 1st-01:10 / 1st-05:35
Large lead 12 (1st-01:10) / 3 (1st-18:05)

0:00 - WIS 34 PSU 22:
Penn State is playing sloppy, not making baskets. Wisconsin is using a dribble-drive offense to get open shots. It's working. DeChellis needs to motivate the Nittany Lions at the half. They look a little sluggish compared to Wisconsin. Woodyard throws up an 80-foot shot at the buzzer after Penn State has a big defensive stop to end the half. Be back in a bit!

1:54 - WIS 32 PSU 21: If the Nittany Lions want to have a chance, Battle has to take over and make some incredible plays. No one else is getting open and making shots. If Battle gets hot, this is a winnable game. Jackson knocks down Penn State's first free throw of the afternoon, then misses the second. Penn State is 1-6 from the line.

3:07 - WIS 31 PSU 21: Just thinking... The Big Ten is loaded with some of the nation's top coaches: Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo, Matt Painter, Tubby Smith, Thad Matta, Tom Crean. Penn State's defense is holding tough, not allowing Wisconsin to get an open bucket. Adam Highberger is in for the Nittany Lions. No surprise with Frazier still battling some injuries. Wisonsin hits another jumper, Penn State can't get a good look. 45 points won't win this game. Top Scorers - Bohannon 11, Battle 8; Rebounds - Nankivil 6, Babb 3. Field goals WIS 12-22 54.5%, PSU 9-22 40.9%

06:13 - WIS 27 PSU 19: Frazier in, Brooks a second-chance bucket on the Frazier miss. Bohannon hits another three (3-3, 9 pts). Penn State needs to get on him. Frazier turns it over on a walk. Penn State can't afford turnovers today, especially after that showing earlier this week. Up-tempo game so far, which should benefit Penn State. Battle hits his second triple (2-2 3pt FG). Nittany Lions hanging tough.

11:55 - WIS 18 PSU 10:
Babb hits a three for Penn State. Wisconsin up 18-10. Wisconsin works inside on the other end. Edwards fouls. Penn State needs to work the ball inside better if it wants to have a chance. If there is a positive, Wisconsin isn't getting any second chances and they are not pressing Penn State. The Nittany Lions really struggled with the full court press against the Gophers.

12:43 - WIS 16 PSU 7: Edwards enters for Penn State. He couldn't buy a jump shot against Minnesota. Speaking of jumpers, Edwards misses a three. Taylor and Bohannon hit threes for the Badgers. Not a good start offensively for the Nittany Lions. 0-4 from the charity stripe doesn't help.

14:24 - WIS 10 PSU 7: Jackson's first rims out. So much for 80% on the season. Second misses too!

14:24 - WIS 10 PSU 7:
Trevon Hughes is all over battle. The other players are going to need to step up. The Penn State offense is using the entire shot clock, looking for a good shot. Battle keeps trying to make plays driving to the hoop. Penn State's defense has been solid, except leaving Bohannon open for a three. Battle, down low to Jackson, foul...he'll shoot two! Also of note, Babb starting in place of Frazier for the second straight game.

17:44 - PSU 3 WIS 0: Both teams start out cold. Battle finally hits a three. He's guarded by Trevon Hughes, should be a tough matchup. Penn State has lost its last 10 vs. the Badgers.

Check back for live updates as the Penn State Nittany Lions (8-5, 0-1) take on #23 Wisconsin (11-2, 1-0) in the Big Ten home opener this afternoon. Tip off is at 2 pm. Our staff will be blogging live!

Penn State is coming off a close loss at Minnesota, while Wisconsin is looking to ride the momentum of a 65-43 upset of #15 Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have won 3 of their last 5 against ranked opponents.

The game will also be broadcast live on, with Alex Braunbeck and Dan Landers-Nolan on the call. Click the headphones to listen live!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Rankings Feature

Please check back twice each week as our staff updates its own NCAA Top 5 Rankings, which will be posted on the right sidebar of our webpage. Our rankings debuted on 12/30/09 and were updated 1/1/10. Texas debuts at number 1 in our poll, with Kansas, Kentucky, and Big Ten power Purdue close behind. Be sure to check back daily for new blog posts, and twice each week for ranking updates. Thanks for your continued support of the ComRadio Basketball Pregame Show.