Just about one year ago, the 2011-12 Penn State basketball team left Chestnut Hill, Mass. with a 62-54 victory over Boston College.
To put it lightly, a lot has happened since Nov. 30, 2011 to both the Nittany Lions and the Eagles.
So much has changed that coach Patrick Chambers describes these clubs as “two completely different teams.”
The Lions (3-2) are expected to begin the Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against the Eagles (2-4) with quite a different look than it brought last year. Out of the five starters Penn State had last November, only one (Ross Travis) will start on Wednesday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Three of the five are no longer on the team.
However, that doesn’t seem to phase anybody who’s a part of this 2012 group, especially Travis.
“I don't think the Boston College guys are going to be a problem,” Travis said. “Like I said, I got trust and I believe in my teammates, and I know exactly what I'm going to get out of them.”
As most people know, Penn State, who has won four of its last five Big Ten/ACC Challenge games, will be without standout Tim Frazier for the Boston College game and the rest of the year.
The senior, who ruptured his left Achilles tendon on Nov. 18, had a Frazier-like performance against the Eagles last year, tallying 22 points, five assists, and three steals.
However, Frazier wasn’t the only Lion who stood out against the Eagles as seasoned junior Jermaine Marshall also dropped 22 points coming off the bench.
Marshall, who scored 17 points against Bucknell on Friday, will be looked upon to provide the same type of performance he did last year (8-of-12 from the field, 4-of-8 from three-point range).
However, one of the biggest jobs Marshall will be tasked with is to focus on the defensive end, considering Boston College’s dependence on the three-ball.
The Eagles attempted 24 three-pointers last year against Penn State, and Boston College guards Joe Rahon and Lonnie Jackson have already chucked up 71 attempts from behind the arc between them in 2012.
“It was a battle last year on their floor. I’m expecting the same thing this year. They’re a great 3-point shooting team. They shoot a lot of three’s and they make a lot of three’s. So we got to be strong on the defensive end, and that’s where we’re going to win our game,” Marshall said.
And while Penn State prides itself on gritty defense and Boston College seems to live and die by the three-ball, they do have one thing in common: both teams are loaded with contributing freshman and sophomores.
For Penn State, freshman Brandon Taylor, who scored 16 points against Bucknell, figures to become an integral part of the offense without Frazier, while the Eagles have seen quality production from eight underclassmen in 2012.
“BC plays a lot of freshmen and sophomores and they just beat Auburn, which I think is a great win. I have freshmen and sophomores too,” coach Chambers said. “You go into games and days and you don't know what to expect and you don't know who's going to show up. That's what freshmen and sophomores are.”
Regardless of how these teams have developed and changed since last season, Chambers still believes watching tape from the 2011 meeting will help the Lions gameplan.
“There's always something you can learn. I went back before the Bucknell game and watched my Boston University teams play Bucknell, and I was able to grab something from those two games,” Chambers said. “So I'll do the same thing, I'll watch BC this year…We want to be the most prepared team going into this game and I feel like we always are.”
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