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.