As I mentioned in tonight's live blog, senior opposite Ryan Sweitzer had a wrap on his left hand.
He seemed to not get as much on his kills and serves and in the press box we were thinking it might have been something like a sprain he suffered against Saint Francis last night.
After the match, I asked Sweitzer what the deal was with the wrap and he lifted his hand to reveal a patch of missing skin on his palm, which looked quite nasty from where I was sitting in the Rec Hall interview room.
Sweitzer said he suffered the injury in practice and that it was nothing out of the ordinary.
On a similar front, freshman setter Edgardo Goas walked in with ice on his left knee and junior opposite Will Price had ice on both of his knees.
Goas said he has tendinitis in the knee and when he plays back to back matches it tends to flare up.
Price, however, had a much simpler reason for the ice.
Another error by Penn State ties this up at 28, not before Springfield commits a service error to force match point. Springfield commits another error and Penn State wins 30-28 and 3-0. We'll see you all around.
There is a woman right in front of the press box who has been yelling at the Lion for a t-shirt all night long and is proceeding to wave her arms at the Lion for attention. I told you guys it was a recession.
Now errors have struck Springfield, on what should have been a hitting error by the Lions, the Pride commit a net violation and Penn State takes a 28-27 lead and Springfield takes its final timeout.
When Penn State looks back at this match, errors are going to stand out on the box score, with a chance to take the lead, Sweitzer fired a kill right off the heart of the net.
The match is tied at 26 with Penn State serving.
The crowd gets as loud as its been all night as the Lions cut the lead to 20-18 on a magnificent volley by the two teams that resulted in a thunderous Sunder kill.
Momentum starts to turn as Penn State has tied the set at 10 and Price has gotten the Lions going with his serves.
The teams continue to trade points, with Sweitzer tying the set at 22, still with no real force behind his kill.
Max Holt has energized this crowd with back to back kills and the Lions have cut the lead to 15-12.
However, the errors that plagued the Lions are still rearing their heads. Holt committed a service error to start what I believe could have been a sequence where the Lions could have asserted their dominance.
But despite the error, Penn State draws ever closer to Springfield, prompting a timeout from the Pride's bench as their lead has been cut to one, 17-16 Springfield.
Springfield is still controlling the action in this set and it has energized its bench and drawn a time out from Pavlik. Springfield leads 12-8.
Penn State needs to stop looking forward to the rest it has coming to it and just finish the job now.
The teams have traded points early on but Springfield has had the early advantage so far with a 5-3 lead.
Sweitzer has another kill but it's not the same Sweitzer we've seen so far this season. Whatever is ailing him, he's not letting if affect his play. Sweitzer has 11 kills, two blocks and two digs.
Springfield still has the narrow lead early on and Penn State can't sustain any momentum. The Pride lead 7-6.
The crowd rises to its feat as a block by Sherrick pushes the Lions to set point. The noise is temporarily quieted with a hitting error by Penn State. A second match point results in yet another Lions error, this time a service error.
However, Springfield squanders the opportunity and commits a service error of its own and the Lions win 30-22.
Penn State looked much sharper than it did in the first set but this isn't the same intensity and brute strength that we saw on Wednesday against Juniata.
Sweitzer is still not looking like quite the same player. He shows flashes of his power but he doesn't seem to have the same force on his serves or kills.
We'll be back after the intermission.
Sweitzer gets a kill off of a block out of bounds but yet again, not much force behind it. the wrap is mostly around the wrist and thumb area. Penn State leads 24-18.
In an odd sequence, Penn State is awarded a point on what looked to be a block out of bounds but the Lions but the ref ruled an antenna hit or that it hit the Springfield player on the way back. We're not really sure, it even confused the PA announcer.
Penn State continues to roll in the set and have opened up a 27-20 lead in the second set.
However, Holt's time back to serve is short lived as Penn State commits another hitting error. Holt was replaced by Del Valle and Lipsitz was replaced by Jon Sherrick.
Jay Stauffer is also in for the Lions, coming in for Sunder as Penn State holds a 21-15 lead. The Lions seem to have firm control of this set and have committed less errors than in the first set.
Timeout Springfield on the court with Penn State leading 19-12. Holt is still currently serving and as we've noted in the previous live blog, he's a bad, bad man and he could bury Springfield with his serve if the Pride don't act quick.
Sweitzer with the kill but yet again, it had nothing on it, we'll be sure to find out what Sweitzer's status is following the match.
Sweitzer yet again fires home a kill, this time with much more giddyup on it and Penn State has lengthened its lead to 15-10 after back to back kills by Sunder.
Springfield is sloppy out of the timeout and the set is quickly slipping away from them. Penn State has an 8-1 lead and it could get ugly fast, just ask Juniata.
The crowd is much livelier in this second set, giving the "Oh" chant before each Springfield serve but the Pride have managed to bring themselves back into this with at 5-0 run and Penn State only leads by two.
Looking at the stat sheet, Penn State committed three attack errors, six service errors and three blocking errors. Not good at all.
Penn State seems to be a little more energetic to start the second set and so does the crowd as the Lions take a 5-1 lead early on in the set and Springfield takes a timeout.
The Lions reel off two points to force match point and Springfield calls a timeout at 29-27.
Yet again the Nittany Lion is out there trying to get the crowd loud for another free t-shirt. It's really sad that the crowd has been at it's loudest for t-shirts.
I stand corrected, as Springfield had a chance to extend the first set, the crowd got loud for the serve and the set was finished off with a Price kill to win the first set 30-28.
Not the best set we've seen all year but it's up there with one of the worst we've seen. Mike and I were debating if it was worse than the second set against Ball State and we both agreed it was not, seeing as the Lions won the set.
There seems to be a discussion going on between Springfield's coach and the ref who then communicates the message to Pavlik. Evidently Bob Waters for Springfield is bleeding and there is a timeout on the floor to clean it up.
The match is tied at 27 and with each point the Pride get progressively more fired up. They can smell a chance to steal the first set.
Another hitting error on Penn State, which when the total comes in for this set will be quite high. Penn State still leads at 23-21.
Penn State's 25th point of the match goes flying into the stands, bounces back out and almost breaks the screen off of a laptop on the scorers table.
Pavlik calls a timeout as the set is tied at 26, a really poor set from the Lions so far. Pavlik has all of his team huddled together and is delivering the message as the Nittany Lion mascot pumps up the crowd...with the promise of a free t-shirt.
I never really understood how free stuff could get people so excited, I suppose it's a recession, gotta expand that wardrobe.
Timeout on the court by Springfield as Penn State takes a 21-18 lead. I'm not sure if it's just the busy week the Lions have had or something else, but this team looks sluggish and sloppy right now.
Penn State still cannot seem to take a commanding foothold in this set as the match is tied at 16. Sweitzer just took a kill off his hand as he tried to make a dig and he looked at his hand as he got up from the floor.
Errors continue to plague the Lions as Penn State commits a net violation and the match is tied at 17.
Mike and I just both noticed that Ryan Sweitzer's hand is taped and he can't seem to get much force on his kills. He also seems to be shaking it every once in awhile so we'll continue to monitor that throughout the match.
However, Penn State continues to hold a 16-13 advantage.
Penn State is sloppy out off the gate, they seem to lack a spark and have not really been able to get into a set offense. Coach Mark Pavlik said he's looking for Edgardo, as the setter to get the team going so we'll keep our eye on that. The match is tied at four.
The match is tied at nine but the Lions continue to look sloppy and uuenthused and possibly a little confused. Service errors have played the team so far but Penn State still maintains a 12-10 lead.
Dennis Del Valle
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans. This is Tom Kinslow coming to you live from Rec Hall where the 6-0 (2-0) Nittany Lions take on the 4-0 (0-0) Springfield Pride in Penn State's third conference match of the week and the season.
With a little less than 20 minutes to go before the start of the match, we're going to get ourselves set up and ready to go before the start. Remember to keep that cursor on the refresh button after the match gets underway.
First Meeting: 1977
All Time: Penn State 26-0
Last Time: February 26, 2005 -- Penn State 3-0 (30-23, 30-20, 30-27)
Not much went right for the No. 2 Penn State ACHA Division I Icers Friday night in Lynchburg, Va., as the team fell to No. 10 Liberty by a score of 6-3. However, the night did prove to be an historic one for the Icers.
Luke DeLorenzo scored his 100th career goal in the defeat a week after notching his 100th career assist and 200th career point against Rhode Island. DeLorenzo, who added a pair of assists Friday, now has 100 career goals and 103 assists for 203 career points.
And, if you noticed the change in the official title of the team, Penn State was bumped up to No. 2 in the ACHA rankings. The rankings, which were released earlier today, placed Penn State behind new No. 1 Lindenwood and in front of new No. 3 Illinois. However, Illinois has more first-place votes (4) than the Icers (2).
Be sure to check out Monday's edition of The Daily Collegian for complete coverage of the Icers' series with the Flames.
Pataky has started off this match with a boom, as he has amassed 8 points ni the first couple minutes. He had Minnesota's Zach Sanders on his back on three separate occasions, and Pataky was on the verge of recording a pin, but he has to settle for the back points.
Score 8-0 now as the wrestlers move into the center.
An escape from Sanders moves teh score to 8-1. Pataky is going all out, exhausting his energy in the first period here. Now Sanders gets a takedown as the wrestlers were scrambling in the middle. Now an wescape from pataky with 30 seconds left in the period. We're going to have to leave you hanging here, as we're going to go down on the floor. Check the Collegian's main page to see the end results of the tonight's match.
Thanks for checking in. Pataky 9-3 at the end of the firstp eriod.
Berhow earned an escape as Tighe let him up to start the second period, score now 3-1 in favor of Berhow. The wrestlers are now handfighting at the far corner of the mat and Berhow has control of Tighe's right leg but the wrestlers move out of bounds.
With 20 seconds left, they are now neutral in the center of the mat handfighting, and the score is 3-1 at the end of two periods.
This match is crucial to the outcome of the dual. If
1 point escape for Tighe to start the third period off. The junior from Erie has to get some energy here if he wants to earn Penn State the win. Berhow now has control of Tighe's leg, as Tighe is helplessly bouncing up and down as Berhow drags him into the center of the mat. A thunderous takedown now from Berhow and an escape from Tighe, score 5-3. Coach Aaron Anspach is on his feet screaming to Tighe but to no avail, as Tighe will drop a tough decision, 5-3.
Penn State now needs a pin from Pataky if they want to pull off the win here.
The heavyweights, or some "really big individuals" as the man next to me described, now take the floor. Stefan Tighe is starting over Cameron Wade for the first time in a home dual meet this season, and Ben Berhow is going for the Gophers. He's a talented heavyweight who has pulled off some good victories this season.
Berhow starts the scoring off with a takedown two minutes into the contest, and Tighe freed himself from Berhow's grasp, earning an escape. 2-1 now the score with 11 seconds left in the first period.
2-1 at the end of the first.
Bierschenk converted a takedown, and then an escape from Brown, but as Brown appeared to have control, the Golden Gopher reversed things and got Brown on his back, a quick pin call from the officials 6:01 into the match gives Minnesota 6 points, moving the score to 17-15. Never mind Brown avoiding a major, he couldn't even avoid a pin. That could be costly to the Lions as the Rec Hall crowd has been silenced.
Bierschenk converted on another takedown, and is riding Brown now in the middle of the mat with 45 seconds remaining. Brown is slowly moving up and looks to escape the grasp. A potentially-dangerous call was now issued, and play will resume with Brown on the bottom and Bierschenk in control.
The crowd is boo-ing the officials now as Gordon false started. Score now 6-1 at the end of two periods. if Brown can avoid a major decision, then the Lions are in position to take the meet from solid performances from either Pataky or Wade.
J.R. Brown wrestling now against Gordon Bierschenk. After about 45 seconds of wrestling, Gordon has executed a takedown as the wrestlers move into the middle with the Golden Gopher on top. It's pretty funny for me as the fans yell, "C'mon J.R.", because I'm a Sean Kingston fan, and at the beginning of his songs he says "J.R. in an Jamiacan accent", so I'm thinking of the song "Beautiful Girls."
Brown has escaped, moving the score to 2-1, but Bierschenk got another takedown moments later, so the score is now 4-1 with 30 seconds left in the 1st period.
4-1 at the end of the first period.
After urging from the crowd with 1:20 left in the match, Decker has recorded the first takedown, pushing the score to 3-2 in favor of himself. Decker is now riding Yohn out. If he continues to do so then the match is his. Now Yohn on the verge of converting a reversal, and Decker is on his back, with 10 seconds left, Decker has to avoid any points. Wow. Yohn awarded a takedown with 3 seconds left. With the riding time point, the match is now tied 4-4 and will go to an extra session.
Decker has a grasp of Yohn's leg, and after 10 seconds, he is awarded the takedown, ending the match, putting the Nittany Lions up 15-11, and sending the crowd into a frenzy, as they sense a victory possible.
15-11 now going into 197.
There have now been three caution warnings against Jack Decker, resulting in a point for Yohn. That was just a bad piece of officiating as the referee neglected to blow the whistle at the start, causing a false start by Decker. This has been the longest 30 seconds of wrestling that I have ever seen, and not much action has occurred. 1 point awarded now to Yohn, I guess for an escape although it wasn't clear. 1 minute remaining now as Decker shot at Yohn, but Yohn now has a grab of Decker's left leg, as he drags Decker back from the corner of the mat to the center of the circle. Decker escaped from Yohn's grasp, however, and now the wrestlers are interlocked with 20 seconds left.
Decker shot at Yohn with seven seconds left, and was on the verge of a single-leg takedown, but the refs didn't call it.. so it will 2-1 Yohn going into the second period with Decker leading the riding time slightly.
The 184-pound bout now underway between Penn State's Jack Decker and Minnesota's Sonny Yohn. Decker has been awarded one point early for a technical violation against Sonny. The wrestling has been pretty even thus far, as they are interlocked now on each other's heads. With Decker standing straight up, Yohn went for his leg, but Decker has now reversed the trend, and is on the verge of recording a takedown.
He does not however, and a stalemate is awarded. The two grapplers are handfighting now in the middle of the mat, and with 20 seconds left in the first period, Decker avoids a shot by Sonny. Decker leads the match 1-0 at the end of one period, and he has chosen to take the top position, which is an unusual thing for such a score.
As the wrestlers start back up, Wright gets a reversal from the bottom position and earns two more points. He now gets a standing ovation from the crowd as he earns the technical fall, just what the Nittany Lions needed, as he earns five points toward the team score.
That was a truly dominating performance. Now the score of the meet is Penn State - 12, Minnesota - 11.
At the beginning of the second period, Wright escaped from the bottom position and recorded another takedown, moving the score of the match to 11-0. He is on pace for a technical fall if he keeps this pace up. Everson now dove towards Wright's legs, trying to get a takedown of his own, but now Wright is in position, with Everson elevaqted slightly off the ground in danger of being pinned. The wrestlers moved off the mat, but the refs awarded him with two more back points. 13-0 Wright as they are going to start up again in the middle. With 10 seconds left, Wright rides him out to end the period.
Hey everybody this is Stephen Hennessey here taking over for Jocelyn. Action is under way at the 174-pound weight class, as Quentin Wright is facing Minnesota's Matt Everson.
After a stalemate 40 seconds in the match, Quentin has executed a beautiful move, and has Everson on his back. The crowd is going nuts, urging the refs to call a pin. After about a minute, or what seemed like it, Everson got off his back, and Wright has to settle for the five points, two for the takedown and three back points.
Stalemate with 1:08 left in the first period as Wright takes over in the top position. This Rec Hall crowd loves Wright, as they are now yelling at Wright for a false start. Wright now picks Everson up and is riding his opponent out with 50 seconds left, on the far side of the mat. And what do you know, Wright is up to it again. He had Everson on his back and flailing like a bug that was just squished, but the referees still didn't call a pin, and the crowd is letting them hear it. Three back points for Wright. That's the end of the first period, score 8-0 in favor of Wright.
Vallimont chases after Glasser, grabs his legs and records his fifth takedown of the night. Glasser responds with an escape. Glasser tries to bring Vallimont down to the floor, but Vallimont jumps out of the way. Another takedown awarded to Vallimont. 30 seconds remaining in the match. Vallimont attempts to ride Glasser out, but Glasser rises to his feet. 10 seconds remaining. Stalemate. Caution issued to Vallimont. Vallimont records his sixth takedown. Vallimont wins 13-5.
Vallimont takes control of Glasser on the mat. Glasser records a one-point escape. 45 seconds remaining. Vallimont chases after his opponet and records another takedown. 20 seconds remaining. Wrestlers off the mat. 12 seconds remaining in the period. Vallimont takes the offensive. One-point escape awarded to Glasser. Second period ends with Vallimont leading 8-4.
165: No. 8 (at 157) Dan Vallimont vs. Scott Glasser
Vallimont opens the match with a quick takedown. Glasser responds with an escape. Just a few seconds later the process is repeated, and the score is 4-2 in favor of Vallimont. One minute remaining. The wrestlers handfight for several seconds. Glasser grabs Vallimonts waist and brings him to the mat. Vallimont responds with a two-point takedown. 20 seconds remaining in the period. Vallimont leads at the end of the first period 6-2.
Everett opens the final period with an escape. Safratowich takes Everett off his feet and records yet another takedown. He followed quickly with three back points. He wastes no time recording another takedown. Everett responds with an escape. But just seconds later Safratowich responds with his third takedown of the period. Everett takes the defensive and gets a one-point escape. Safratowich records a two-point takedown followed by an escape by Everett. Another takedown is issued to Safratowich. Period ends in a technical fall. Score 23-8.
Caution issued to Safratowich followed by a two-point takedown. Everett responds with an escape. The same move is issued again, and Safratowich records another takedown. Everett follows again with a one-point escape. A few seconds later, Safratowich records his fourth takedown of the night. He takes control of the mat, and holds Everett to the mat. Everett is having trouble getting difficulty getting to his feet. Potentially dangerous, re-start. Everett takes the bottom position. Caution issued to Safratowich. End of period, Safratowich leads 10-3.
157: Shane Everett vs. Tyler Safratowich
Penn State's Shane Everett is making his dual meet debut tonight against Minnesota. Safratowich quickly records a two-point takedown. Everett must be facing difficulties, going against a senior wrestler with so much experience. 45 seconds remaining in the match. Potentially dangerous, re-start. Everett starts in bottom position, and records a one-point escape. Safratowich responds with a two-point takedown. 20 seconds remaining. End of the period. Safratowich leads 4-1.
Wrestlers begin the final period scrapping on the mat. Stalemate. One minute remaining in the period. Grygelko drives his opponent to the floor, but Pisani records a one-point escape. 45 seconds remaining. Gygelko goes for Pisani's knees and the two wrestlers are bouting once again on the mat. Stalemate. The period ends with a two-point takedown by Grygelko. He wins the match 8-3.
Caution issued to Grygelko. Pisani drives the wrestlers off the mat. He takes the offensive position. Another caution issued to Grygelko. Wrestlers off the mat, again, Pisani takes the offensive position. Grygelko records a one-point escape. Pisani slides to floor to avoid Grygelko's hold. Bubba Jenkins, the usual starter for Penn State who is out with an injury, is continuously yelling out advice to his teammate. 45 seconds remaining in the period. The wrestlers remain in a locked position. Wrestlers off the mat. End of period, Grygelko leads 5-2.
149: Colby Pisani vs. Joe Grygelko
Grygelko quickly grabs Pisani's right leg and brings him to the mat for a two-point takedown. Pisani responds with an escape. The wrestlers are in a locked position. Grygelko grabs Pisani's leg and the wrestlers are on the floor again. Two-point takedown awarded to Minnesota. Pisani is stuck on the floor, and a stall warning is issued to him. 45 seconds remaining in the period. Stall warning issued to Grygelko. He flips Pisani over, but Pisani gets a one-point escape. 20 seconds remaining. End of period: Gygelko leads 4-2.
Start of the third period. Molinaro grabs Thorn's legs and quickly flips him over. Thorn gets a two-point reversal. Thorn working on the right arm of Molinaro. A one-point escape is awarding to Molinaro, but Thorn quickly comes back with a two-point takedown. Again, Molinaro responds with a one-point escape. A few seconds later, Thorn gets yet another two-point takedown. Stalemate. Four seconds remaining in the period. Molinaro takes the bottom position. Thorn wins by a score of 12-5.
Start of second period. Molinaro takes bottom position and records a one-point escape. Thorn comes back with a two-point takedown. Molinaro is stuggling, and can't seem to get out of his opponet's hold. One minute remaining in the period. Wrestlers off the mat, Molinaro takes the bottom position. 20 seconds remaining in the period. Stalemate. End of period, Thorn leads 5-3.
141: Frank Molinaro vs. No. 8 Mike Thorn
Quickly into the period, Molinaro records a somersaulting two-point takedown. Shortly after Thorn gets a one-point escape. The grapplers are quick on their feet and are constantly going from the floor to their feet. Thorn goes for his opponent's knees and records a two-point takedown. 45 seconds remaining in the period. Molinaro is stuck underneath his opponent's hold. 10 seconds remaining. End of period. Penn State is down 3-2.
Third period underway. Ness throws his opponent to the floor. Strayer is struggling to get out of Ness's hold. Short time-out taken for blood. Strayer takes the bottom position and records a one-point escape. The wrestlers fight back up to the standing position. 45 seconds remain. Wrestlers make their way out of the circle. Match ends, Penn State opens the meet with a 4-3 victory.
The start of the second period. Ness gets a one-point escape early on in the period. The two bouters are in a standing position, locking their arms behind each other's head. Thirty seconds remaining in the period. Not much action going on from either side. Ten seconds reamining in the match. The second period ends in a 3-3 tie.
133: No. 11 Jake Strayer vs. No. 5 Jayson Ness
And the meet is underway. The two wrestlers are handfighting and circling the center of the mat. Strayer gets Ness locked to the side of him and brings him to the floor, Two-point takedown. Caution issued to Ness. Ness takes the bottom position and Strayer holds him to the floor. One minute remaining in the period. Ness records a two-point reversal. Shortly after, Strayer records a one-point escape. Fifteen seconds remaining in the period. The wrestlers end the first period in a locked position. Score: Stayer 3 Ness 2
Hey thanks for tuning into the live blog of tonight's matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Golden Gophers. I'm Jocelyn Syrstad and I will be blogging the first five matches of tonights dual meet. We're about five minutes away from start time, and the stands are beginning to fill up.
Howdy everybody, hope you're having a good Friday. The No. 16-ranked Penn State wrestling team will take on the No. 10-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers at 7 p.m. tonight at Rec Hall.
Here is a preview and some projections for each weight class:
Penn State's Brad Pataky vs. Minnesota's Zach Sanders
This is a very intriguing match for a number of reasons. Pataky comes in ranked No. 17 and Sanders is No. 5 at the 125-pound weight class. Sanders is only a freshman, but has amassed a record of 27-1 already this season. At the National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Jan. 10, the freshman pinned Pataky, giving the Gophers the necessary points to propel Minnesota over the Nittany Lions, 21-18. Pataky, however, has been wrestling very well lately. He pulled off an upset over defending NCAA champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana. This should be a battle.
Projection: Sanders dec. Pataky 9-4
Penn State's Jake Strayer vs. Minnesota's Jayson Ness
This one is going to be good. Strayer, ranked No. 11 in the country, takes on Ness who is the No. 5-ranked 133-pounder. Ness decisioned Strayer at the National Duals, 9-5, so Strayer gets a chance at revenge against the junior. Both wrestlers are experienced and talented, so it will be a matter of execution. If the Rec Hall crowd gets into it, Strayer could be at an advantage.
Projection: Strayer dec. Ness, 6-5
Penn State's Frank Molinaro vs. Minnesota's Mike Thorn
At the top of the 141-pound rankings is a collection of Big Ten wrestlers. This means Molinaro will be challenged in the next couple weeks. He knows he's ready physically to be able to beat these guys, but it's a matter of staying focused for a full seven minutes, which the coaches have said has been difficult for him this season. This is his time to prove that he's one of the elite 141-pound wrestlers in the nation, however. Thorn is the No. 8-ranked 141-pounder in the nation. Thorn pinned Molinaro back at the National Duals.
Projection: Thorn dec. Molinaro, 13-8
Penn State's Colby Pisani vs. Minnesota's Joe Grygelko
Bubba Jenkins will likely not wrestle tonight with his ankle injury, forcing Pisani to wrestle for the second straight weekend. The freshman is 0-3 this year, but he will be facing another freshman in Minnesota's Grygelko. Grygelko is 6-11 on the season, but wrestled Bubba real tough at the National Duals, only losing by a score of 11-6. Two freshmen battling against each other in a big time environment should be interesting to watch.
Projection: Grygelko dec. Pisani 10-3
Penn State's Shane Everett vs. Minnesota's Tyler Safratowich
Everett will make his dual meet debut tonight in front of the Rec Hall crowd. Jocelyn had an article in today's paper previewing Everett's experience tonight. He's going to be nervous, but we will see how he responds. Safratowich is a senior, so experience will likely be the deciding factor in the match, against the inexperienced Everett. Safratowich battled Vallimont back in Iowa, only losing to him by a score of 6-5.
Projection: Safratowich maj. dec. Everett 14-5
Penn State's Dan Vallimont vs. Minnesota's Scott Glasser
Vallimont has made the transition to 165 pounds, and proved he can hold his own there last weekend, as he defeated then-No. 9 Luke Manuel. Glasser is a sophomore from North Dakota with a decent record, but Vallimont has the experience and talent to potentially pull off some bonus points. Senior Mark Friend could also grapple here, but word is is that he is sick so I'm sure Vallimont will be out there.
Projection: Vallimont maj. dec. Glasser 11-2
Penn State's Quentin Wright vs. Minnesota's Matt Everson
Wright, PSU's talented freshman, has been battle tested this season. He is extremely focused on his goals, and he has been in pretty much every match this season. Tonight Wright faces a junior in Everson, who is 6-4 on the season. Wright pinned Minnesota's Kaleb Young at 174 pounds at the National Duals, so we'll see how Everson fairs against Wright.
Projection: Wright dec. Everson 8-5
Penn State's Jack Decker vs. Minnesota's Brent Eidenschink or Sonny Yohn
PSU's senior Phil Bomberger probably will not wrestle tonight. He's been battling back issues for the past month, and he did not participate fully in practice on Tuesday. This means another Lion senior, Decker, will likely wrestle at Rec Hall tonight. Jack Decker decisioned Yohn, 4-1, at the National Duals in Iowa. Decker recorded a technical fall against Indiana, and lost in a tough match, 2-1, against Purdue. He is a technically-sound wrestler who will provide a tough matchup for whichever Minnesota grappler wrestles.
Projection: Decker dec. Yohn 7-4
Penn State's J.R. Brown vs. Minnesota's Gordon Bierschenk
Brown has been forced to wrestle in some tough spots so far this season. The freshman from Bellefonte is 3-10 in his campaign, but he's wrestled some of really top competition. Clay Steadman is still a little banged up, so Brown will likely get the start against Bierschenk, a junior from Missouri. Don't really know a lot about Bierschenk, but we'll see him tonight. This might be a match that decides the outcome of the dual.
Projection: Bierschenk dec. Brown 5-3
Heavyweight: Penn State's Cameron Wade or Stefan Tighe vs. Minnesota's Ben Berhow
Redshirt freshman Cameron Wade has started for the Lions at the heavyweight position all season long, but we'll see if Tighe gets the start tonight. While Wade is undoubtedly talented, he has been inconsistent this season, and the junior Tighe might get a chance to step up. Either one of the heavyweights is a strong choice against Berhow, a sophomore who has compiled a 17-6 record this season. Berhow beat Wisconsin's heavyweight Kyle Massey, ranked No. 6 in the nation at heavyweight, at the National Duals, so this will be a tough match-up.
Projection: Berhow dec. Tighe 6-3 or dec. Wade 8-4
Based on my projections, the final score of the dual meet would be: 19-13 Minnesota. We'll see how my predictions turn out. Hopefully we'll see you at Rec Hall in a couple minutes. Action starts at 7.
Check out our live blog during the contest. Please feel free to comment on the blog, and we'll address your comments during the dual.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Assistant Athletic Communications Director Jen Armson-Dyer saying the Big Ten Network would not be carrying any men's volleyball matches this season -- despite requests from Penn State and Ohio State to do so.
I suppose shows like "The Sharon Versyp Show" or "Big Ten Short Stories" were more pressing than actual athletics.
If the Big Ten Network wants to make itself relevant (which could be hard considering it's quite the niche market to base a network off of) it needs to stop running these feature shows and show more athletics.
ESPN (and its 1,000 networks) or Fox Sports will not be carrying all of the Big Ten's athletic events so the network should do the right thing and start bringing the sports to the fans.
Penn State has a very dedicated volleyball fan base and I'm sure those die-hard volleyball fans would much rather flip to the Big Ten Network to watch their team in action than watching a gamecenter roll over on the computer.
No, this post is not about the next hit FOX reality show.
Viewers of the Rice-Tulane showdown on CBS College Sports on Wednesday were treated to Rice mascot Sammy the Owl running into referee Curtis Shaw after a no-call and then getting into an apparent argument with him.
Shaw promptly threw Sammy out of the game, much to the dismay of 5-year-old Rice fans everywhere. No word on whether or not Sammy went into a Charles Barkley-like "I am not a role model" speech in the locker room after the game.
All I want to know is, what did Sammy say to Shaw? Since when do mascots talk?
Cal Clutterbuck is a name if you heard, you'd likely remember. But since ESPN covers hockey for about 9 nanoseconds a night, you have likely not heard of Cal Clutterbuck.
The Minnesota Wild (quick name five Wild players: Owen Nolan, Mikko Koivu, Nik Backstrom, Brent Burns and Kurtis Foster) rookie forward has only 11 points this season yet there's a movement to name him the Calder trophy winner, given to the best rookie in the NHL.
Star Tribune writer Michael Russo has been mentioning Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild as a Calder Trophy candidate, which is technically correct since he's a rookie. That chatter has now taken a life of its own as Wild bloggers have mobilized to support the candidacy of a winger with 11 points in 48 games.
If I had a vote for the Calder Trophy, it would go to Clutterbuck. There's a silly reason for the vote, Collegian Web editor Ian Brown and his fiancee Genna, former Collegian Web chief Erin Prah, Collegian whipping boy Kevin Zitzman and myself all went up to Niagara Falls, Ontario, to watch Penn State lose to Iowa at Boston Pizza. After we downed our sorrows at the casino bar while Zitzman was gambling with Armenians, we went back to our hotel , built a fort, ordered Rickard's Red and turned on the late game of Hockey Night in Canada. There we saw a Cal Clutterbuck and thought, "damn, this is the coolest name ever." So on our whole six-hour drive from Ontario (after we got lost in Cuba -- Cuba, N.Y.) the five of us tried to make Cal Clutterbuck a word. We did.
Yes, I know it's Super Bowl week, and not only that, but one of our local teams is participating. So all we should be talking about is the upcoming big game. But I'm sorry, I'm not really a Steelers fan, and I am really sick of football.
I also know that the weather outside is conducive for golf not at all. But I can't help it, I have golf fever, hence my second golf post in as many days.
You see, while the entire country is focused on the Super Bowl, one of the PGA Tour's most exciting events in taking place in Scottsdale, Ariz. this weekend. That's right, the good ole FBR Open started this afternoon, and while sports fans in Arizona may only watch football when the Cardinals are good, Arizonans love their golf, and annually make the TPC Scottsdale the rowdiest venue in all of golf.
It's gotten to the point where officials have had to curtail liquor sales near the 16th hole, which is designed with a bowl-like stadium structure that allows between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators.
The atmosphere there is unlike anything else in competitive golf, and it favors some players over others.
While Tiger Woods won't be playing this week, Arizona native Phil Mickelson will be in town, and no one enjoys the limelight quite like Lefty does.
So if you get sick of all the Super Bowl hoopla, the FBR Open provides some sweet relief from football (and Steelers) overload.
We started Between the Pipes back up this week, and now that it's Thursday, it can only mean one thing: Ten Question Thursday.
Before we get to this week's subject, senior defenseman Andrew Magulick, there's some business to attend to.
We're looking to change up the standard ten questions a bit. Don't worry, not all of the questions will be leaving the line-up. What this means for you: as many of you (hopefully) have noticed, the blog articles have comment sections now (If you can't see them, click on the title of the entry in question and scroll to the bottom of the article). Now, keeping them appropriate, feel free to suggest questions you'd like to hear TQT's next subject answer.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
If not hockey, what sport would you be playing?
If not hockey, what sport would I play? I would say football. You get to play in Beaver Stadium or something like that. That'd be awesome.
What is your favorite place to eat in town?
Faccia Luna. It's that pizza restaurant out on Atherton. I love that place. Great pizza.
What is your favorite class taken at Penn State?
I have to say freshman year, a fly fishing class I took. It was a KINES class. Really fun. Learned a little bit. Got to meet some people around here that were involved with the fly fishing program. It was relaxing.
Do you have any hidden talents most people don't know about?
Embarrassing myself. No. I have a good way of making people laugh.
Who is your favorite hockey player?
Obviously it used to be The Great One, but now it's Sidney Crosby. He's just fun to watch. Moves the puck unbelievably well. Extremely fast. Extremely good hands. You never know what he's going to do. I'm gonna have to say Sidney Crosby on that one.
What is your favorite Coach Balboni quirk?
He says "logistics" a lot. He always says, "A little logistics on the weekend." Where we're staying and stuff like that. But he says it all the time.
In the movie of your life, who plays your girlfriend?
Oh. That's an easy question. What's that girl's name from The Girl Next Door? That Canadian. Used to date...
TQT: Elisha Cuthbert.
That's it. She plays my girlfriend.
How do you feel about Sean Avery's feelings toward you?
[Laugh] If he said it in private and not in front of the cameras I think it'd be all right. But if he says it in front of the cameras like that, I would have to disagree with the way he goes about saying stuff.
Who is the biggest ladies man on the team?
I'm going to have to go with Matt Kirstein just because he thinks he is. And he's our social chair, apparently. That's a joke. But yeah, Matt Kirstein.
Who has the best nickname on the team?
Has to be "Sweet Lou," because it's self-proclaimed and no one really understands. I think it's just because he's Steve Thurston and he thinks he's sweet. It's gotta be "Sweet Lou," because it means nothing, he thinks he's sweet and it's self proclaimed. It hasn't been confirmed or denied by any players on the team, yet.
** Some added information that didn't make the article about Frank Molinaro in today's paper.
Assistant coach Matt Dernlan said redshirt freshman Frank Molinaro got more out of his redshirt season than any other person who has come through the program in the last five years.
He said the 141-pounder was one of the best wrestlers coming out of high school, and continues to prove to his coaches that he can beat anyone in the country. Dernlan said Molinaro is "a winner, and he's a champion."
But the talented Molinaro didn't always have a passion for the sport.
"I went to the recreational club and I didn't really like it that much, so I just did handstands on the wall for like two years," Molinaro said.
Molinaro can thank his family for getting him involved in the sport. His parents, Frank and Michelle, decided to sign their son up for wrestling when he was about four years old because they felt bad that he had to sit and watch his older brother, Robert, play Pop Warner football all the time.
Michelle said the wrestling club was located right next to the football fields, so they registered Molinaro since he was not yet old enough to play football. She said her son loved to be with the other kids, and he just stuck with the sport over the years.
"That's how he got started, and then he just kind of stuck with it," Michelle said. "He took some licks over the years, but he worked hard and stayed with it."
The 141-pounder said it wasn't until he started entering tournaments when he was five or six that he began to truly enjoy the sport. But he said it wasn't until he was in high school when he began to really take wrestling seriously.
During his time at Southern Regional High School in his hometown of Barnegat, New Jersey, Molinaro was a three-time state champion and was one of the top two nationally ranked wresters upon graduation.
Dernlan said that is a significant accomplishment, considering the state of New Jersey only has one athletic division, so for him to win the state title is "a testament to the type of competitor he is," Dernlan said.
But Molinaro is not satisfied with his high school accomplishments. He has set high standards for himself now that he is at the collegiate level.
"Well, my number one goal is I want to be a national champ," Molinaro said. "I want to be a four-time All-American, and I want to be a national champ. I feel like if I wrestle to my full potential, that's a pretty good goal for me right there."
Feel free to comment us below the blog using your Facebook account.
Gottfried came under scrutiny following the departure of injury-prone star guard Ronald Steele from the team earlier this season.
Today, Georgia axed Dennis Felton in his sixth season as the head man in Athens. Felton may be best remembered for leading the Bulldogs to a surprising SEC tournament championship last season.
This year, the Georgia administration decided not to wait and see if the Bulldogs would make a similar surprise run, as they fired Felton after a 0-5 start in the SEC.
Coaching changes like this might be expected in the NBA or NHL, but it's unusual to see major moves made in the middle of a college basketball season -- unless of course you're Kelvin Sampson.
But it's been a bad year all-around in the SEC, which finds itself in the basement among the major conferences. Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology shows just three SEC teams in the tournament (Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida). That equals the total of the Mountain West and is less than the five other "BCS" leagues.
A few weeks ago, Rick Pitino said on ESPN2's "First Take" that he would get a small tattoo of a cardinal should his team win the national championship. I won't say his squad is that good, but it sure has come a long way since a non-conference season that saw it drop three games, including one to Minnesota in Glendale, AZ.
With everyone beating each other up in the Big East, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the conference's first-place team at the end of the season will have at least five conference losses.
What, you really thought I'd make a post and leave out the Big Ten?
Indiana was thisclose to winning a conference game Wednesday, but ultimately fell at the the hands of two Craig Moore free throws as Northwestern survived the home scare, 77-75.
The list of rules in place is too long to list here, but it's truly a shame that it has come to this at the high school level. Here's hoping we see less situations like this in the future as schools are forced to crack down on security.
Juniata has called a timeout and has crawled back into this set, as the Lions lead 26-23. Penn State needs to put away the Eagles now as it still has two matches later in the week.
Pavlik didn't say a whole lot to his team as they are standing on the court while Juniata is still in the huddle.
Lipsitz is back to serve, two points away from a Lions victory but Juniata continues to rally and have cut the Lions' lead to 28-26 with control of the ball. However, yet again, Juniata fires it out of bounds and gives the Lions a chance to end it.
The Eagles, as they have all set, continue to fight and force another match point but fire the ball out of bounds and Penn State wins 3-0. Thanks to everyone who hung around with us and we'll see you on Saturday when Penn State takes on Springfield.
Juniata is hanging around, although it doesn't feel like they're in it. Penn State leads 16-12 and I'm personally not sure if this has more to do with a lot of the guys unfamiliarity with Edgardo but Juniata certainly has shown a lot of heart and fight in this third set when they certainly could have rolled over.
While Juniata should be commended for its effort in this third set, the tide has firmly turned and Penn State holds a 22-15 lead
Juniata just took its first lead of the match, taking a 1-0 lead before Penn State promptly regained control and has taken a 6-3 with a little showmanship from Max Lipsitz on the last block.
Sunder just hammers a kill literally off the body of a Juniata defender who turned and ducked for cover as the ball flew at his face.
Penn State continues to roll as Juniata has begun to shoot itself in the foot with hitting and service errors and Penn State leads 13-10 with Edgardo, Lipsitz and Sunder the only starters remaining on the court.
We believe coach Mark Pavlik is starting to call off the dogs. Sweitzer and Holt are both out and he's been shaking their hands as they walk out. Sweitzer and Holt are both resting comfortably on the bench as their teammates stand and look on. Penn State now leads 27-12.
Penn State cruises out the rest of the set and wins the second set 30-12 and it's basically academic at this point. Juniata's locker room cannot be a happy place right now. Pavlik's plan to get the Lions to up their focus seemed to have work as Penn State has tightened its stranglehold in this match and do not seem to be letting go anytime soon.
We'll be back after the intermission.
Senior Jay Stauffer has just made his first home appearance this season as Penn State now leads 17-5.
Juniata just cannot keep up with Penn State. To sum up the entire match, the last sequence consisted of a serve that put Juniata on its heels, set up a week kill that Penn State lazily swatted to the floor.
Max Holt is back to serve and has his first service error of the night but Holt has been the star of the show tonight for Penn State. Look out below when that man is back to serve. Penn State leads 24-10.
Max Holt has just set a Penn State record with eight service aces in a match....and it's only the second set.
The streak ends at 11 as Juniata fires a kill through the defense. Sadly, it's most likely too little too late for the Eagles.
A magnificent volley between the two teams where Juniata showed a lot of heart keeping it alive. Sadly for the Eagles, like everything before it so far, it ended in a Penn State point. The Lions have not let up and are now leading 15-1 at the halfway point.
Max Holt is a bad bad man. Holt lead off serving the first set and the Lions rallied off eight points and Holt is at six and counting.
Holt continues to pick his spots and has continued to extend its lead to 9-0 and Juniata has called a timeout but it doesn't look like it's going to do much good. This is not the same Lions team that came out for the second set against Ball State. Penn State has keep its foot to the pedal and is not looking bck.
A beautiful set by Edgardo to Will Price puts the Lions up 22-9. It was something we haven't seen from Goas in this young season yet. Instead of getting it to an outside hitter, Goas set it up for Price, who was serving on the play, just hammered it home.
Juniata is just getting run out of the gym in the first set. Sunder just slammed a kill off of two Juniata defenders that went careening behind them. The Lions now lead 28-13.
The Lions then took another quick two points and won the first set 30-14 in a brisk 20 minutes.
"Juniata looks like they missed their turn for State College Area High School" - My esteemed partner Michael Oplinger.
Well the streak ends at eight. Holt fired a serve over every one and off the bleachers and is replaced by Del Valle.
Juniata has pulled it together but they still look shaky out there. They rallied off four of the last six before a service error. Penn State still has firm control of this set. They just can't match up with the Lions physically. When Penn State slams a kill, the sound echoes throughout the gym, Juniata on the other hand just doesn't have that same feel to its kills. Penn State now has a 14-6 lead.
The Lions are continuing their domination. Penn State just keeps running the ball right through Juniata's defense and are meeting little resistance. The Lions now lead 20-8.
Crowd is pretty thin tonight, can't say I blame them. It was a mess just walking here.
Penn State has flexed its muscles early. Max Holt has just sent Juniata reeling with his serve. Holt has two service aces as the Lions have cruised to an early 7-0 lead in the first set. It may be a long, long night for Juniata if they don't pull it together quickly.
Dennis Del Valle
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans. This is Tom Kinslow coming to you live from the press box in Rec Hall as your top ranked Nittany Lions get set to take on Juniata in their conference opener.
If you didn't want to trudge through the snow for this mid-week match, feel free to grab your favorite hot beverage, a warm blanket and keep that cursor on the refresh button and we give you our insights during the match. We'll see you after the start.
All Time: Penn State - 32-0
Last Time: Feburary 5, 2008: Penn State 3-0 (30-21, 30-22, 30-20)
As if last fall's Ryder Cup wasn't compelling enough, the 2010 Cup may be even better.
Colin Montgomerie has been named captain for the European team. Yes, the same Monty who has the title as the best player to never win a major, and who has made a name for himself stateside by antagonizing American fans.
I can still remember watching the '97 U.S. Open as a wee lad, and seeing Monty chastise the gallery at Congressional for being too loud.
However, despite his failings in majors, Monty has been a horse in Ryder Cup competition, both on and off the course. He is second only to Nick Faldo in total points earned in Ryder Cup history, and clinched the '97 Cup for the Euros by halving with his nemesis, Scott Hoch.
I think Monty has mellowed in recent years, but I hope the fiery passion that he showed so often back in the late '90s will manifest itself at Celtic Manor in 2010.
Although I felt like I was sleep walking on my way from my apartment up Burrowes Road, Jocelyn and I attended practice at 8 a.m. this morning at the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex, and I will have a full story on Bubba Jenkins' status in tomorrow's paper.
In the meantime, we did attain information on the status of other lingering injuries and items of interest for the Penn State wrestling team, who dropped two spots to No. 16 in this week's Intermatwrestle.com poll, by the way. So here is some random news pieces that we know:
The herpes epidemic (not really an epidemic, like polio) has pretty much been whipped away as a concern right now for the Nittany Lions. Assistant coach Matt Dernlan did not want to comment on which wrestlers were afflicted with herpes, but he did say the lingering cases are being treated up right now, as everybody is on the necessary medication.
"It's a time issue," Dernlan said. "These injuries that are day by day, you pretty much know [what you're dealing with] with skin infections. We're looking at 3-5 days once you get on medication then you get ready to compete again."
Dernlan credited the athletic training staff, which he called the best in the country, for doing everything necessary to allow the team to combat the skin infection. He also added that most times the team does not get these skin infections from their teammates -- it's usually picked up on a road trip. This was true in this instance, because the Lions picked up the infection from a team at the National Duals in Iowa.
Senior 184-pound wrestler Phil Bomberger continues to be hobbled by injuries.
Bomberger participated in drills during the beginning of practice, but stood on the far wall of the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex as he watched his teammates wrestle short-go's against each other.
For the latter part of practice, Bomberger was reserved to lighter training with some of the other injured wrestlers such as Bubba Jenkins and David Erwin.
Dernlan told Jocelyn and I that Bomberger has been battling some tricky back issues this season.
"We're just trying to get him back and get him comfortable," Dernlan said. "It's kind of been a little bit frustrating honestly, to have him out for a month. With a back and a neck issue, it's always difficult to ascertain the direct cause of what's going on because there's so many connecting parts and you can get direct or indirect reads of what the injury is going to be."
Dernlan also said the 184-pounder has gotten three different diagnosis for his injury in the past three weeks, and all of them gave different responses. He was hopeful Bomberger would be back in the lineup soon, but I would guess he would be out for at least this weekend and possibly even the following weekend.
Dernlan said there would probably be a wrestle-off for the starting position at the 165-pound weight class tomorrow. Senior Mark Friend, who Dernlan said has been battling a number of injuries, will wrestle junior Dan Vallimont for the spot.
Vallimont has wrestled at 157 pounds for the majority of the season, until the last two matches when he was moved up to 165. In order to cement himself at his new 165 pound position, he must wrestle Friend, the incumbent starter at 165.
Micah Bollinger, a freshman 165-pounder who looked very impressive in his first dual meet performance vs. West Virginia, is academically ineligible for this season, Dernlan confirmed.
The winner of the Vallimont-Friend match will in all probability wrestle against Minnesota and Wisconsin this weekend. Vallimont or Friend were not at practice Tuesday.
Redshirt freshman Clay Steadman, the current starter at the 197-pound weight class, was at practice Tuesday sitting on the bleachers for the first 45 minutes of practice. Steadman did not participate in any drills, but he was in attendance and appeared to be in good health.
Steadman suffered a concussion at Friday's dual meet against Indiana when he caught the head of his opponent as he went for a shot.
Dernlan made a great point about all these young guys now in the lineup: "You know with all these guys out, it doesn't' matter what grade they're in, freshman or a fifth year senior, it doesn't matter. You're in our starting lineup, we expect you to win for us. That's why you came to Penn State that's why you're putting on the blue and white you want to wrestle with us."
As Jake Strayer put it, this is a great opportunity for many young wrestlers on this team.
Feel free to comment us below the blog using your Facebook account.
I'm not sure on what the has caused the change in the first place voting in this week's poll: Penn State's performance in the second set against Ball State, or Cal State Northridge's start to the season.
I'm willing to guess the latter.
The Matadors have gone 6-0 out of the gate with two wins against UCLA (ranked eighth), two wins against UC Santa Barbara (ranked 10th), a win against Stanford (ranked sixth) and a win against UC Irvine (ranked fourth)
That would be six wins against four of the top 10 teams in the country which is pretty impressive.
Meanwhile, Penn State's opponent last Friday, Ball State followed up its loss in Rec Hall with a loss to Saint Francis 3-1 (31-29, 25-30, 30-32, 28-30) who looks like they might be a possible stumbling block for Penn State if it doesn't bring its A-game.
Following the win over Ball State, the Red Flash took No. 13 Ohio State five sets, losing 3-2 on Saturday. The Lions take on Saint Francis on Friday before taking on Springfield at home on Saturday.
Rank/School(First Place Votes)/Total Points/Record/Last Week
1. Penn State (15), 239, 4-0, 1
2. Cal State Northridge (1), 223, 6-0, 2
3. Pepperdine, 204, 5-0, 4
T4. Southern California, 185, 5-1, 6
T4. UC Irvine, 185, 6-2, 5
6. Stanford, 154, 5-3, 3
7. Long Beach State, 150, 3-3, 7
8. UCLA, 130, 3-4, 8
9. BYU, 111, 4-3, 9
10. UC Santa Barbara, 95, 2-3, 10
11. Lewis, 72, 3-1, 12
12. Hawaii, 61, 1-6, 11
13. Ohio State, 53, 2-4, 14
T14. Loyola-Chicago, 18, 3-0, NR
T14. Saint Francis, 18, 3-1, NR.
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Ball State 10; George Mason 10; UC San Diego 6
ESPN graces our TV screens, computer monitors, BlackBerry devices and pretty much anything else with pixels. Now ESPN.com uses its SportsNation poll to gauge the opinion of sports fans across the country.
They're usually pretty simple. Who is the most overrated baseball player? Who do you agree with: McNamee or Clemens? What was the most exciting sporting event over the weekend? Boxers or briefs? Just kidding on that last one...I think.
But this one takes the cake, in my opinion. Ladies and gents, be prepared to pick a side for good. "What will be the outcome of the pregame coin toss before Super Bowl XLIII?"
I wish I was kidding.
Now I see this as a little joke from the guys and gals over at ESPN. If I were them, I'd probably do the same thing. I can see it now. "I wonder how many people will honestly try to predict the outcome of SB's coin toss." Apparently, 11,717 people have done just that as of 6:40 p.m. Tuesday. And the age-old 50-50 scenario has been thrown off balance. The heads have it with a whopping 51%.
This is what happens when it's a week before the Super Bowl...We voted for heads by the way ; )
Following her remarkable performance Thursday night, Penn State's Tyra Grant was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week.
Grant shares this week's accolades with Ohio State's scoring threat, Jantel Lavender.
The Lady Lions' guard had a night to remember Thursday night, capping off a 32-point performance against Wisconsin with a turnaround jumper at the final buzzer in overtime to end Penn State's three-game losing skid.
Grant accounted for more than half of Penn State's 58 points Thursday and scored 22 of the team's last 34 points after starting off slowly.
Kudos to Ty. She definitely deserves this week's honor.
It's safe to say the UConn Huskies had a pretty successful week.
After knocking off then-No. 2 North Carolina last Monday by 30, the Huskies beat another top-25 team, the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals by 28 points.
As expected, they are the unanimous number one team in the nation once again. Oklahoma remained at No. 2, but the top ten got shaken up after that.
The Tar Heels fell from third to tenth after dropping all three of their games last week (coming off a 17-0 start).
Stanford jumped up three spots in the poll to No. 8 after rolling through Oregon and Oregon State last weekend. Here is the rest of the ESPN/USA Today top ten:
At 16-3, Ohio State remains the only Big Ten team ranked in the top 25 (they were the only team to receive a vote as well). The Buckeyes sit atop the Big Ten at 7-1, a half game ahead of Indiana and Michigan State who are each 7-2 in the conference. Minnesota and Purdue round out the top 5 at 6-3, an important position because each of the conference's top five teams will get a bye in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Penn State (3-5) in the conference takes on the Hoosiers at 7 p.m. Thursday in Bloomington, Ind. If the Lady Lions lose that game, their chances of reaching that first round bye will decrease significantly.
Twice the dual came down to the last guy. Twice the Nittany Lions were ahead going into the final bout.
Twice, the dual meet ended in a tie.
Senior Phil Haas described it as "weird," and I'm sure the guys on the bench just looked at each other Saturday when it happened again. Although Haas said it was a little different Saturday, since junior Bubba Jenkins and redshirt freshman Clay Steadman were out of the lineup with injuries, it was like deja vu all over again.
Cameron Wade, the heavyweight redshirt freshman, was responsible for getting the team the win on Friday night. Just as he has at points this season, he looked impressive against his opponent. But when he makes his move on an opponent, I have noticed he tends to move a little slowly. Instead of getting points for himself, he exposes himself and finds himself taken down.
This is what happened against Nebraska at the National Duals two weeks ago. With the match on the line, Wade shot at Tucker Lane and appeared in position for the go-ahead takedown, but Lane simply countered it and moved behind Wade for a takedown of his own.
Deja vu all over again.
Wade was a victim of the same situation Friday, as he gave up a 5-2 decision to force the Lions into a tie.
Haas described the emotion on the bench as the team cheered on Wade.
"We were all cheering for him," he said. "At one point the refs made a pretty bad call in the heavyweight match there, so that kind of changed the momentum of the match. At one point Cameron looked to have a point and the ref just didn't call it. Maybe that played in his head a little, I'm not sure. But everyone was behind him and cheering for him and obviously wanted him to win, he just came up a little short."
The same situation occurred Saturday with senior Jack Decker. His opponent was No. 14-ranked 197-pounder A.J. Kissel. Decker fought hard, but Kissel countered one of his shots and turned it into a takedown.
Bubba J always says how it's unforunate how most matches begin with the lower weights and move into the higher weights, because if he was the last match to wrestle, he promises he would come away with at least a major decision. I'm not sure how the rules work.. I know in most high school leagues the officials draw the weights randomly.
But it would definitely be to Penn State's advantage if it could get the lower weights as the last match of the night. Right now, that's where the strength of the lineup lies.
After all, you can't put all the weight on the heaviest guys. (attempt at being clever with words)
Feel free to comment us below the blog using your Facebook account.
I love college football, but it seems a bit ridiculous that just about every team .500 or better gets a postseason bid.
Well, college basketball appears to be on its way to duplicating that. For years, the NCAA tournament and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) were the only two shows in town after the season, with the NIT serving as a sort of consolation prize for those who missed out on the Big Dance.
Last year, the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) made its debut, more or less taking NIT rejects. Tulsa won the inaugural championship with a win over Bradley in a best-of-three series. But my guess is a good portion of casual fans have no idea the CBI even exists.
If all that isn't enough, CollegeInsider.com will be holding its own 16-team postseason tournament starting this season. Apparently schools must boast winning records against Division I opponents to qualify, and the tournament will also favor schools from conferences not as well represented in the NCAAs and NIT.
I'm not going to complain about having more games to watch (that is, if they are readily available on TV and not competing with NCAA/NIT games... further inspection seems to indicate that, like the CBI, these games will appear on the FOX College Sports channels), but I don't know if games matching NIT rejects from the Southland and Big Sky conferences will qualify as riveting TV in March with so many bigger games going on.
One of the most sacred rules for sportswriters is to remain unbiased. If you're interviewing your childhood idol, you're not supposed to crack a smile or snap a picture with your camera phone. You'll hear it in the press boxes too...."There is no cheering in the press box." Like we didn't know already.
But what if your own son was on the field? AND he's playing in the Super Bowl? AND he's arguably the most interesting player on the field? Just keep doing your job.
That's what Larry Fitzgerald Sr. will be doing Sunday when Jr. is snagging pass after pass from Kurt Warner for the Arizona Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald Sr. will be covering his 29th Super Bowl this weekend, but this one is obviously a little different. He's become the idol in the press box as of late, even though he is treating it like any other game. Just like he has for all his years.
A lot of people say Junior's talent could be linked to everything he was exposed to as a kid following his father around. Cris Carter, Kirby Puckett and Kevin Garnett to name a few. Whatever the reason, Fitzgerald Jr.has already made a name for himself in this playoff season. He has surpassed Jerry Rice's record for receiving yards in a single postseason.
As for Fitzgerald Jr. as a person, he's been called the "anti-T.O." You know, meaning he's an amazing receiver that never brings attention to himself. No popcorn or ridiculous TD celebrations for this guy. And when he's not on the field leading up to the Super Bowl, Junior will apparently be at dinner with pops...off the record of course.
Hello y'all wrestling fans. Welcome to Back Bullets, the new "weekend-in-review" edition here on Back Points, where we will post anything we deem interesting in interviews after the remaining conference dual meets.
*** Junior Brad Pataky, the No. 19-ranked, 125-pound wrestler in the nation, pulled off a victory of a lifetime Friday against Indiana's Angel Escobedo. Escobedo is last year's NCAA champion and has defeated Pataky in the past.
Pataky said the key to the match was definitely staying composed. The coaches gave him a gameplan, and he went out and executed.
"I wrestle my best when I have fun and keep my composure," he said. "I knew I had to go out there and lay it all on the mat and not hold anything back."
Last week, the 125-pounder told TDC that in order for the team to get back on track again, they need to focus on having fun. As cliche as it sounds, Pataky said this was the key to his success this weekend.
Escobedo is really quick -- a smart wrestle who doesn't make any mistakes, Pataky said.
"That's the way I have to wrestle every single match to wrestle with those guys," the Clearfield, Pa. native said. "I know I'm right there, I just have to make sure I wrestle smart and keep my composure out there."
Ken Chertow, who announced the Indiana match for the Big Ten Network, said he felt Pataky really came into his own. The former Penn State grappler said the win should help Pataky's ranking and his confidence.
"If there's something to be taken positive from the road trip, Pataky started off by going into IU on their home floor and taking out the defending NCAA Champion in front of his home crowd," Chertow said. "That's something special, he'll remember that forever. So that's definitely an exciting time for him."
Senior captain Tim Haas said his teammates' huge victory was one of the things that fell the Nittany Lions (7-6-2) way this weekend. Junior Bubba Jenkins, who was injured in the match, said the weekend was bittersweet on the whole. Pataky was the first teammate he mentioned when naming successful wrestlers this weekend. He also mentioned senior Jake Strayer, redshirt Frank Molinaro and junior Dan Vallimont.
It was a successful week for Penn State with a blowout win against Michigan Tuesday night and a dramatic comeback victory over Iowa Saturday. Thanks to the wins, RealTimeRPI's daily update on Sunday morning had the Nittany Lions up 12 spots from 87th to 75th.
Of course, the weak resumes of PSU's non-conference opponents continue to hold back the Lions' RPI. So again, here is the week's look at Penn State's opponents and the Big Ten (Jan. 19-25):
-William & Mary (6-13)...L 54-44 at Hofstra, L 62-49 at Drexel
-NJIT (1-19)... W 61-51 vs. Bryant, L 63-51 at Longwood
-Hartford (6-15)... L 66-59 at Binghamton, L 79-65 vs. Vermont, L 72-63 at Stony Brook
-New Hampshire (7-11)... L 78-75 at Maine, L 60-47 at Binghamton, L 72-56 at Vermont
-Penn (4-10)... L 79-70 at La Salle, L 80-68 vs. St. Joe's
-Rhode Island (13-7)...L 78-75 at Richmond, W 94-89 at George Washington
-Towson (7-14)... L 70-59 at James Madison, L 103-98 vs. UNC Wilmington
-Georgia Tech (9-10)... L 80-76 vs. Boston College, L 73-59 at Clemson
-Temple (11-7)... W 65-40 vs. Saint Louis, W 80-53 vs. Charlotte
-Army (5-13)... W 76-71 vs. Navy
-Mount St. Mary's (11-9)... W 64-62 vs. Central Connecticut St., W 70-52 vs. Monmouth
-Lafayette (6-13)... L 71-61 at Bucknell, L 60-57 vs. Lehigh
-Sacred Heart (8-11)... W 70-66 at Quinnipiac, W 68-64 at Wagner
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 6-1 (16-3)
2. Illinois 5-2 (17-3)
3. Purdue 4-2 (15-4)
4. Minnesota 5-3 (17-3)
4. Penn State 5-3 (16-5)
6. Michigan 4-4 (14-6)
7. Ohio State 3-4 (13-5)
7. Wisconsin 3-4 (12-7)
9. Iowa 2-5 (12-8)
9. Northwestern 2-5 (10-7)
11. Indiana 0-6 (5-13)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record: 94-152
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 131-59
Total Opponents' Record: 225-211
Well, the good news for Penn State is that NJIT got a win! Yes, that's right, the NJIT Highlanders ended their 51-game losing streak with a win over mighty Bryant. Other than that, well, the non-conference opponents failed to grab any big wins and ended up 9-18 for the week. I added the record of each of those teams and put those in, revealing that the Lions played just three non-conference teams with winning records -- Rhode Island, Temple and Mount St. Mary's. Only the Mount St. Mary's game resulted in a victory. It's not hard to figure out why PSU's RPI is less than desirable for a team that's tie for fourth in a tough conference. There are just way too many bottom-feeders on that non-conference schedule.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten continues to prove that just about anyone can beat anyone on any given night. Even Indiana almost notched a conference win against Minnesota Sunday afternoon. They key word being "almost." Who would have thought Indiana would ever be the Detroit Lions of Big Ten basketball? I apologize to all Indiana fans for that. I assume that within just a few years Tom Crean will have the Hoosiers back at the top.
But the biggest story of the week was definitely the Michigan State-Northwestern thriller that took part on an all-around great night of college basketball on Wednesday. The Wildcats walked out of the Breslin Center as victors thanks in part to a brilliant showing by Kevin Coble (31 points). If Northwestern was at home, the game wouldn't be nearly as surprising. The Wildcats don't exactly boast a great home-court advantage, but any road game in the Big Ten is an upset waiting to happen. But I don't think anyone could have seen Northwestern winning in East Lansing.
Other games in the conference to highlight include Iowa's overtime win over Wisconsin after the Badgers drilled a 3 at the end of regulation to extend the game. Thursday, Purdue picked up a huge win by beating Minnesota at Williams Arena. It's so rare for a team to shoot so poorly (27.6%) from the field on its home floor, but Minnesota did just that at The Barn.
With the new rankings set to come out Friday, and big changes likely to happen, I figured we'd just take a quick look at the current ACHA rankings. First, there's the top-3 that has remained unchanged since the preseason rankings, with Illinois at No. 1, Lindenwood at No. 2 and Penn State at No. 3. However, with last weekend's sweep of Illinois, the Illini will likely fall from the top spot, but with Penn State's loss to No. 7 Rhode Island yesterday, it should be interesting to see who takes over as No. 1. Illinois has been ranked No. 1 in 17 consecutive polls, but that streak should come to an end Friday.
Lindenwood made their case for the No. 1 ranking by winning both of their games this weekend quite convincingly, but they were against Michigan-Dearborn, a 16-15-2 team. Although Dearborn beat the Icers earlier this season, it would be hard to argue that Michigan-Dearborn is on the same level as Rhode Island.
And you thought the BCS was confusing?
Anyway, some other notable things from this set of rankings:
- The Icers are not the only team representing Penn State in the polls. Penn State-Berks is currently ranked No. 24.
- SUNY Canton has broke into the polls in its first year competing in the ACHA, coming in at No. 25. Even more interestingly, perhaps, is their nickname. The Roos. As in Kangaroos. Now being from New York, myself, I find Kangaroos to be an interesting enough nickname for a NY team as it is, but shortening it and just being the Roos? I like it.
- Robert Morris comes in at two different spots in the rankings. Confused? Well, Robert Morris (Pa.) sits at No. 9, and Robert Morris (Ill.) is ranked No. 15.
- Neither Adrian nor Drexel is in the top 25. Adrian, however, did receive more votes than Drexel coming in at No. 28, whereas Drexel is No. 30. Earlier this season, the Icers lost at home to Drexel, 3-2. Less than a month earlier, the Icers had beaten Adrian 16-1. Go figure.
Well, that's it for these rankings. Check back Friday night to see what the new rankings bring. Could Penn State be No. 1? Maybe No. 2? Maybe the ACHA will really try to imitate the BCS and really confuse us by leaving them at No. 3?
The evil empire is being exposed. Gasp! But wait, what could Joe Torre's tell-all book really tell us about the New York Yankees that we don't know already?
Tom Verducci, SI baseball writer and Daily Collegian alum, wrote The Yankee Years, which includes some interesting revelations from the long-time Bomber coach. The book is set to be released on February 3. Torre was at the helm from 1996 to 2007 and compiled some impressive stories.
Apparently, the book explains how Alex Rodriguez's teammates referred to him as "A-Fraud" instead of "A-Rod." And on top of that, he became slightly obsessed with diamond-mate Derek Jeter...but who can blame him since all of NY does.
Most interesting, however, is Torre calling Yankee GM Brian Cashman "as a less than supportive ally who betrayed him on several fronts." Hmm. Surprising? No. Depressing? Yes.
Torre compiled four titles and six pennants in the Big Apple. In that span, the men in pinstripes became huge dollar symbols walking around in human form. Big George Steinbrenner started dishing out the cash for overrated, past-their-prime athletes. I can't speak for all Yankee fans, but Torre represented the team with the likes of Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams and Scott Brosius. That certainly changed. I don't know about you, but I'd take Tino over Mark Teixieira any day.
When Torre didn't cut it anymore, he was offered a weak, one-year contract for a job he's held for 12 years. And apparently, Cashman let it happen without a fight. Applaud Torre for walking and taking Don Mattingly to L.A. with him. How fitting. If only DJ jumped ship too.
No matter the authenticity of the stories, good for Torre for telling his side of the story. Although it's nothing new, it's nice to see one of the evil empire's faces take it down a peg or two...especially to a Penn Stater.
The No. 2-ranked grappler in the land at the 149-pound weight class, Bubba Jenkins, sat out tonight against No. 25 Purdue, after he injured his ankle in Friday's match against No. 21 Indiana. Additionally, redshirt freshman Clay Steadman, the starter at 197-pounds, suffered a nasty-looking injury in his match Friday, as he was headbutted by Indiana wrestler Matt Powless.
These injuries forced J.R. Brown and Adam Lynch into the spotlight against the Boilermakers. Brown lost by a major decision and Lynch lost by technical fall. In a match that ended in a tie, those bonus points could've been the difference.
Both conference dual matches (against No. 21 Indiana and No. 25 Purdue) ended in ties this weekend for the No. 14-ranked Penn State wrestling team.
Nationally-ranked David Erwin, 197-pound wrestler Andrew Haile have already been lost for the season with injuries. NCAA qualifying 184-pounder Phil Bomberger continues to miss action with an injury, too.
165-pound wrestlers Mark Friend and Micah Bollinger did not appear in either of this weekend's matches.
Check here for more information about Bubba's injury, and Monday's paper for a comprehensive article on the road trip.
That'll do it from here again, once again the final score is Penn State 63, Iowa 59 in a thrilling comeback at the BJC. Thanks for following along.
The front end of the 1-and-1 is no good, giving Iowa a chance to tie. Peterson misses a 2-point attempt but the ball went out off of Penn State. 15.1 seconds left, Iowa ball.
Penn State got confused on the in-bounds pass and Palmer was just wide open for 3 but tossed up a brick. Battle goes to the line for a 1-and-1, and he needs to hit at least one.
But he misses.
But Stanley Pringle comes up with a monster defensive play and rips the ball away from a steal. Peterson fouls, and Pringle gets 2 shots now with 4.1 seconds left. Make one and this game is over.
Nothing but net. 63-59 Penn State.
The second is no good but that'll do it. Iowa's last second prayer misses and that's a wrap.
PENN STATE 63, IOWA 59
Battle misses a 3, PSU gets the offensive board and Battle nails his second-chance. Penn State has taken its first lead with under 2 minutes now to play. Wow is all I can say.
Battle steals it and takes it to draw a foul on Matt Gatens -- that's his fourth. Timeout Todd Lickliter and the BJC is absolutely rocking.
Battle's first free throw is good, and the second is nothing but net. Talor Battle has found a way to get to 20 points after nothing went right earlier in the game. 62-59 Lions.
Gatens misses a 3 and PSU has the ball as the clock winds under a minute.
PSU can now be patient with the lead. Morrissey just misses on 3, but Cornley with a fantastic rebound/save. Peterson fouls and Battle will go to the line for a 1-and-1.
30.2 seconds second half
PSU 62, Iowa 59
David Palmer at the line for a 1-and-1 for Iowa, and he hits. Iowa has yet to miss a free throw at 13-13. Make that 14-14.
Cornley battles hard and scores again, he now has 22 points to lead all scorers.
Battle picks up his third foul on another questionable call. I'll go ahead and say the officials have been less than stellar this game.
The Hawkeyes actually miss a free throw as Peterson misses the first. The second is good, 59-55 Iowa.
Who else for Penn State? Cornley scores again. He has completely taken over for the Lions, and the full court press forces a turnover. Somehow Penn State can now tie or take the lead this possession, and Ed DeChellis uses a timeout.
2:40 second half
Iowa 59, PSU 57
At the line, Cornley finishes of a 3-point play to cut the lead to 54-50.
Nice offensive play by Iowa as Jeff Peterson had a nice dish to Aaron Fuller for 2.
But now Jamelle Cornley just wants to take this team on his back. 3 pointer for Cornley, lead down to 3.
Battle is called for a foul and Iowa will head to the line for a 1-and-1 after a timeout.
3:41 second half
Iowa 56, PSU 53
It's definitely safe to say the momentum has shifted well into Penn State's favor. The team looked like it was lacking in effort earlier in the game, but the Lions appear re-energized now. This could be an interesting finish.
A nice job by Cornley to fight for the ball down low and we have an alternate possession to Penn State. But Morrissey misses a very long 2 and the ball goes back to Iowa.
Jeff Peterson just put up an air ball, and while the ball was deflected out by Penn State, the shot clock expired. Kelly fouls Battle on a 3, and that's Kelly's third foul. Battle makes all 3 at the line, 54-44 Iowa.
Battle draws another Kelly foul, which is huge. Kelly leads all scorers with 19 and had one foul just a few moments ago it seemed. Now, he has 4. Battle buries a 3 and all of a sudden we have a game on our hands again.
Cornley with a 2 and he's fouled, causing the BJC to erupt... without a doubt the loudest moment of the game as Zombie Nation is blasted from the speakers and Iowa calls a timeout.
4:45 second half
Iowa 54, PSU 49
If Penn State wants to win this game, it absolutely has to start climbing back right now. But every time the Lions start to get it together, there is some kind of answer. It looked like we had a game but the momentum was completley killed by the technical and subsequent Iowa points.
Battle finally hits a 3 after Morrissey passed one up and swung the ball to Battle at the top of the key.
Jake Kelly answers right away for Iowa with a 3 of his own. Just another huge answer for the Hawkeyes and Penn State is in real trouble with 8 minutes left, down 13.
Cornley misses and the ball gets stuck between the rim and backboard.
7:34 second half
Iowa 54, PSU 41
Battle misses another 3 after a timeout. He's now 0-6 from 3 and his only field goal is a dunk.
Of course, right after that Battle picks up a steal, passes to Morrissey who finds Pringle for 3. Then Pringle steals it and Cornley slams one in with authority. And Penn State has some life, as do the fans.
Peterson's 3 just barely rims out and Morrissey misses on the other the end. The refs say the ball went out on Cornley, but honestly, that clearly looked like Iowa hit it out. Cornley just picked up a technical now after he kept talking to the official after the ball went off of him on a kick.
Gatens is at the line after the technical and he hits both free throws. Iowa keeps possession and the officials have certainly not made any friends here at the BJC. Don't expect a Christmas card form Jamelle Cornley.
Pringle swipes the ball but is called for a foul and the crowd chants some not-so-flattering things. Iowa is in the bonus now and Jake Kelly hits both shots. Just when PSU had the momentum, all of it got taken away when Cornley was hit with the technical.
8:56 second half
Iowa 51, PSU 38
Out of the timeout, Pringle launches a 3 and Jones can't get to the ball in time as it slips out of bounds. Peterson beats Battle and Iowa has extended its lead to 14 -- the largest lead of the game.
Pringle hits a nice floater and Cornley wanted full court pressure after the made basket but nobody else joined.
Pringle just got badly beaten by Kelly on a shot fake, and Kelly ducked under him and connected for 2.
11:16 second half
Iowa 47, PSU 33
Gatens steals the ball from Jackson and takes it all the way in for 2, and DeChellis wisely uses a timeout.
The offensive effort for Penn State has just been all-around poor so far with bad shooting, a lack of player movement and sloppy ball-handling. With just over 13 minutes left, the Lions really need to get focused and start to make a move. This looks nothing like the team that took the floor against Michigan on Tuesday.
13:14 second half
Iowa 43, PSU 31
Jeff Peterson draws a foul on a drive and the fouls are the opposite of the first half, as Penn State has four and Iowa has none. Peterson hits both to build the lead back to 10.
Battle with a nice pass to Jones, who knocks a shot down and draws a foul. That would be the first shot of the game by Jones... and he misses the free throw.
And now Ed DeChellis shows some emotion as Cornley is called for a questionable walk. Looked like he got pushed there.
The Lions are really struggling from deep as Battle misses a 3. PSU got the rebound but Cornley tried to do way too much with the ball and ended up falling and having it stolen. Now Brooks picks up his fourth foul to send Matt Gatens to the line. Gatens makes the first and D.J. Jackson replaces Brooks. Gatens' second shot is also good.
13:36 second half
Iowa 41, PSU 31
And the teams are taking the floor as we get to set to start the second half with Iowa getting the ball. The Hawkeyes miss and there's a tie-up on the loose ball, giving PSU possession.
Battle misses a 3 and he has still yet to hit a field goal. Jake Kelly responds with 2 to give the Hawkeyes a 9-point lead.
Aaron Fuller with a great move to the basket as he ducked past Cornley and scored. The lead is back to double digits but Cornley answered right back with a leaner off the glass.
Kelly scores again on a drive for Iowa. I don't remember the last time Jeff Brooks hit a 3, but he drained one from the corner. Talor Battle follows that up with a steal and a breakaway two-handed slam to get the crowd energized again. But Fuller again scores from Iowa on a tough bank shot. 37-29.
Now the officials are feeling the wrath of the crowd after calling Jeff Brooks for an offensive foul, then discussing it, then upholding the call against Brooks.
15:46 second half
Iowa 37, PSU 29
The Penn State football players who signed autographs prior to the game are now being introduced on the floor as Stefen Wisniewski holds the Big Ten championship trophy high.
FGs: Iowa 47.8%, PSU 35.0%
3s: Iowa 30.0%, PSU 18.2%
FTs: Iowa 4-4, PSU 6-9
Rebounds: Iowa 15, PSU 13
Turnovers: Iowa 5, PSU 6
Aaron Fuller, 10
Jake Kelly, 8
Jamelle Cornley, 10
Stanley Pringle, 5
We have about 6 minutes left until we get back underway as Iowa returns to the floor.
And a quick note, they have changed the buzzer-beating Iowa basket to a 2 from a 3, so the score is 29-22 Iowa.
Iowa 29, PSU 22
And it's a very rough end to the first half for the Lions as Jake Kelly hit an off-balance 3 as time expried to give the Hawkeyes a 30-22 lead.
Iowa 30, PSU 22
Stanley Pringle rushes a 3 point attempt and misses. The offense hasn't been clicking, but rushed shot attempts aren't the answer.
And Talor Battle is back in the game, replacing Danny Morrissey. I would guess he won't leave the floor again.
Fantastic effort on a diving save by D.J. Jackson on the sideline to give Penn State the ball. Iowa knocks away and PSU pass into the backcourt but Jermain Davis picks up a loose ball foul and Pringle heads to the line in the double bonus. He makes both and the Iowa lead is down to 23-20.
Jake Kelly answers for the Hawkeyes and we have under a minute to play in the half. Pringle turns the ball over and Iowa has it with a 10 second difference between the shot clock and the game clock. A couple questionable foul calls on Chris Babb send Jake Kelly to the line for a 1-and-1. And he hits both.
Battle patiently waits for the shot clock to wind down and he feeds Cornley for a long jumper for 2. Iowa takes a timeout with 4.8 seconds left in the half.
4.8 seconds first half
Iowa 27, PSU 22
Talor Battle gets a rare breather as Chris Babb replaces him after an Iowa offensive foul. Jeff Brooks picks up an offensive foul of his own and we head to a timeout.
This has to be the largest crowd of the year at the BJC with yet another impressive student turnout and what looks like the best alumni/other fan turnout of the year.
3:53 first half
Iowa 23, PSU 18
Iowa ball out of the timeout, and well, PSU could use a defensive stop. The Lions don't get it as Jeff Peterson knocks down a long 2 over Talor Battle.
The Hawkeyes defense is just completely shutting down whatever Penn State is trying to do. Battle misses a 3, but now Cornley just slammed one home after an offensive rebound, a turnover, and a Pringle steal and assist.
Now Talor Battle is at the line as Iowa picked up its ninth team foul. Battle's only points so far are at the line, so we'll see if he can add to that total. He hits both and Penn State shows some full-court pressure.
But Aaron Fuller drills a 3 and kills any momentum PSU may have had. 23-12.
Pringle with a huge answer as he hit a deep 3 from the far wing. Iowa misses and Battle gives a little behind-the-back feed to Morrissey, who also buries a deep 3. 23-18 and the momentum is back on PSU's side. The crowd is back into the game and and Pringle grabs a board for Penn State. But Jeff Brooks misses a 3.
4:07 first half
Iowa 23, PSU 18
Cornley just drew two fouls in about three seconds, but Cornley missed the front end of a 1-and-1. The good news for PSU is that it is extremely early to already be in the bonus.
Fuller buries a 3 and it's 16-8. PSU desperately needs a bucket here.
Instead Morrissey draws a foul and heads to the line for a 1-and-1. And he misses the front end. Wow. With how poorly they've shot from the field, the Lions cannot afford to give away points at the line.
Jake Kelly scores and I'm surprised DeChellis isn't using a timeout as the lead is 10.
Battle steps on the end line and we head to the under-8 timeout.
7:53 first half
Iowa 18, PSU 8
Out of the timeout David Palmer connects for 2 and the Iowa lead is 5.
PSU just can't hit a 3 as Morrissey misses another, but Jackson grabbed the board and the Lions have a second chance. I don't know what the deal is with the offense as their is little player movement and Battle jacked up a 3 and missed.
9:43 first half
Iowa 13, PSU 8
Danny Morrissey replaces Pringle and comes up short on a pretty open 3. Fuller scores again for the Hawkeyes and it's a 7 point lead.The Lions are now a Michigan-like 1/7 from the field.
A Jake Kelly foul sends Talor Battle to the line, and he got quite the shooter's roll on the first one as it falls in after hitting everything except the shot clock. The second is also good and it's 9-4 Iowa.
Iowa walks and D.J. Jackson replaces Jeff Brooks. Jackson was no longer sporting the corn rows at practice Thursday but has changed back today.
Cornley hits a nice fade-away jumper and draws a Jarryd Cole foul. Cornley misses the shot but there's a foul on Iowa on the rebound and PSU keeps possession. What a move by Cornley as he hit a terrific turn-around jumper to cut the lead to 1.
Jeff Peterson gets a great roll on his jumper and it falls for the Hawkeyes. Fan favorite Andrew Ott enters the game for Andrew Jones to a nice applause.
Cornley misses another 3 attempt for PSU and Iowa draws a Danny Morrissey foul on the other end.
11:50 first half
Iowa 11, PSU 8
There were long lines in the concourse before the game as several members of the Penn State football team were on hand to sign autographs, including Daryll Clark, Evan Royster, Jared Odrick and others. Now, the football contingent and recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary have moved behind the basket to our right with a recruit or two.
We're about ready to tip-off here as Jamelle Cornley as usual is greeting the students and gave a point to those in the upper deck.
Jones wins the tip and we are underway. Iowa comes out in a man-to-man defense and Cornley had an open look for 3 but missed. Iowa's Aaron Fuller does the same.
Stanley Pringle had to launch a 3 from 7 or 8 feet beyond the arc with the shot clock winding down, and that hit hard and missed.
The teams have now exchanged I believe three consecutive turnovers, and Iowa finally gets points on the board with a Matt Gatens 3. Rare that it takes three minutes for either team to score in a game. Cornley answers with a short jumper for the Nittany Lions.
Pringle picks up a foul to send Fuller to the line, and he knocks down both at the stripe.
A brick by Pringle and PSU really hasn't found any sort of offensive rhythm yet. Palmer slams it home and it's 7-2 Hawkeyes.
15:09 first half
Iowa 7, PSU 2
What's up basketball fans, Matt Brown here to take you through today's conference showdown between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Iowa Hawkeyes here at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State enters the game tied with Minnesota for fourth in the Big Ten, while Iowa is tied for ninth. The Hawkeyes will likely be without leading rebounder Cyrus Tate, who suffered an injury Jan. 8 versus Minnesota and hasn't seen the floor since. Three Penn State players -- Jamelle Cornley, Talor Battle and Stanley Pringle -- have higher scoring averages than Iowa's leading scorer, freshman guard Matt Gatens (10.9 ppg).
We've got a decent crowd on hand with plenty of people in the upper deck on the two sides, and the student turnout is strong despite it being a THON canning weekend. The courtside student section received t-shirts with each section rotating between white and blue.
The sports world lost one of its most enthusiastic coaches, and one of its strongest fighters against breast cancer when Kay Yow, North Carolina State's head coach lost her 22-year battle with the disease.
Yow passed away at WakeMed Cary Hospital after being taken there for treatment last week.
She was a hall of fame coach who won more than 700 games, and reached the Final Four in 1998.
But Yow, who once coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal, is remembered most for not just her battle with cancer, but the support, awareness, and funds she raised in the process.
Today is a sad day, not just in the WCBB world, but in the entire sports world, as it has lost a truly remarkable person.
Here is the link to a Mechelle Voepel ESPN story about Yow's legacy and her fight to the bitter end:
With Penn State two points away from victory, Goas is back to serve and following a short volley, Sweitzer fires a kill off a defender and out of reach and put Ball State to match point.
Schulte keeps the Cardinal alive with a kill and cuts the score to 29-26.
Lipsitz fires a kill home and ends the match for Penn State 3-1 (30-20, 24-30, 30-19, 30-26)
We're headed down to the interview room so this is Tom Kinslow signing off and we'll see you here Wednesday for the Juniata match.
A block by Holt and Price gives the Lions a 26-24 lead and gives the serve to Holt who has been excellent at serves all night. However, Ball State manages to gain the serve after a miscommunication that slowed the Lions' offense.
Price puts the Lions three points away from victory with yet another kill as Edgardo takes the serve.
Sunder fires a kill that grazes a Ball State defender which draws a huge cheer from the home crowd and another timeout from Ball State.
Holt fires his serve off of a Ball State defender which booms back over the net and out of bounds and tying the game at 18 before Ball State regains the lead with a Schulte kill.
Price continues the back and forth nature of this fourth set as he ties the game at 19 before Schulte responds with another kill giving the Cardinal the lead.
Lipsitz continues to keep up the great night that he's been having as he ties the game at 20 with another kill.
The two teams continue to go back and forth, neither one gaining a real foothold in this fourth set as after a Sweitzer kill, Penn State promptly fired the serve out of bounds.
Holt ties the game at 22 and Sweitzer goes back to serve and a passing error gives Penn State the lead and Ball State fires the ball way out of bounds and through the hands of the leaping Nittany Lion mascot and Ball State calls a timeout with the score 24-22 Penn State.
The Lions are half way home to sending the Penn State faithful home happy as Sunder stuffs a kill at the net giving Penn State a narrow 15-14 lead.
Ball State momentarily ties the set at 15 before a service error gives control to Sunder and the Lions.
The Cardinal take a two point lead at 18-16 and Pavlik calls a timeout to settle his team.
A Lipsitz kill ties the set at three with Price to serve. Lipsitz follows up with another kill to give the the Lions to lead before Price fires his second serve into the net.
Max Holt makes his reappearance coming in for Del Valle and promptly fires a kill between defenders to give Penn State a 6-5 lead.
Penn State is slowly starting to open up a lead on the Cardinal with the score 9-6 Lions following a hitting error by Ball State.
Sunder sprawls out for a dig followed by Price hammering a kill home to give the Lions an 11-9 lead.
Edgardo overpowers the defender at the net giving Penn State a 12-10 lead and Goas cracks a smile as he gets a hug for one of his teammates. Edgardo hasn't shown much emotion but he shows a whole lot of hustle as he ran way out of bounds to keep the play alive but couldn't get back across the net in time and Ball State got the point.
Price hammers home a kill to give Penn State a 13-12 point until a Lions block that goes sailing out of bounds ties the game.
Edgardo has the serve out of the time out which is fired back by Schulte to cut the lead to 10.
Following another Ball State kill, Lipsitz hammers home a kill to put the Lions two points away from taking a 2-1 lead.
Del Valle hammers a kill that catches a piece of a Ball State defender leading to the first set point but Price's serve catches the net.
On the second set point, following a diving dig Price lofts the ball over two Ball State defenders to win the set 30-19 for Penn State.
Edgardo had a much better third set, spreading the ball the outside which resulted in the same successes the Lions had in the first set.
Pavlik calls a timeout as Ball State rattles off four straight points to cut the score to 23-15.
Out of the timeout, Sweitzer smashes a kill off of a Ball State defender to extend the Lions' lead to nine.
Penn State responds to Ball State's run of four with four of its own, resulting in a timeout from the Ball State bench. The Lions lead 27-16.
Sunder and Holt combine for a block that pushes the lead to 19-10 Lions before a service error gives Ball State the serve.
Holt slams down yet another kill, followed by Sunder's kill which flies into the stands off of a Ball State defender pushing the lead to ten.
The momentum has clearly shifted further into Penn State's favor as Sweitzer booms a kill off of a sprawling Cardinal defender. Sunder follow that up with a service ace. Ball State finally stops the bleeding with a Spadavecchio kill, his seventh of the night with the score at 23-12 Penn State.
Gasparovic thunders down another kill, his fifth on the evening as Ball State cuts the lead to 3-2 Penn State before giving the serve right back on an error.
Lipsitz and Sweitzer combine for a block, getting the crowd into the match, followed by a thunderous service ace by Will Price, who has been killing the ball on serves all night.
Penn State has widened its lead to 8-3 on a ball hit out of bounds by Ball State after a short volley.
Spadavecchio thunders a kill off of Sweitzer's left shoulder which draws a slight grimace from Sweitzer but Penn State responds with a kill by Goas to make the lead 10-5 Penn State.
Gasparovic thunders down another kill, his fifth on the evening as Ball State cuts the lead to 3-2 Penn State before giving the serve right back on an error.
Lipsitz and Sweitzer combine for a block, getting the crowd into the match, followed by a thunderous service ace by Will Price, who has been killing the ball on serves all night.
Penn State has widened its lead to 8-3 on a ball hit out of bounds by Ball State after a short volley.
Spadavecchio thunders a kill off of Sweitzer's left shoulder which draws a slight grimace from Sweitzer but Penn State responds with a kill by Goas to make the lead 10-5 Penn State.
The two teams have continued to go back and forth with the Lions still holding on to a five point 13-8 lead before a Price kill widens the lead to six.
Sweitzer lands a booming kill that richoets into the Ball State bench followed by a Sunder kill to widen the lead to 16-9.
For the set, Ball State did a much better job defensively and blocked a number of the Lions kills at the net and kept the ball in play a handful of times, where in the first set the Lions just overpowered the Cardinal.
Edgardo Goas struggled a little in the first set, which led to many of the blocks by the Cardinal. Well with less than a minute to go, the fans are settingling back in and the teams are finishing warmups and are ready to being the third set.
Penn State is desperatly in need of a run if it wants to win this set as the score goes to 25-18 Ball State off of a Holt hitting error.
Following an Goas kill, Penn State missed an opportunity to put a run together as Stauffer caught a piece of a kill that was headed out of bounds giving Ball State a 26-20 lead.
Sunder returns for Stauffer as Ball State took at 27-21 which is followed by another hitting error by the Lions, putting them two points away from losing the set.
Kills by Holt and Sweitzer cut the lead to five as Sweitzer fires the serve out of bounds, putting the Lions' backs to the wall.
Penn State responds with a kill by Goas as Sunder takes serve. Holt tried to attempt a block on a Ball State which flew out of bounds giving Ball State the second set 30-24.
Coming out of the timeout the Lions got two quick points off of a Ball State hitting error and a block by Goas and Holt that brought the crowd back to live, cutting the lead to two.
Penn State knots the game at 11 on a kill by Lipsitz that hit Ball State and went flying into the stands, followed by a Sunder kill that gave the Lions their first lead since Price gave the Lions a 1-0 lead.
Ball State takes a 15-12 lead on a hitting error by Penn State that from our vantage point looked to be in, confused the ref above the net but drew no protest from Pavlik and co.
The defensive intensity continues for the Cardinal with another blocked kill which lead to the appearance of Jay Stauffer subbing for Sunder.
I'm not sure what was said to Ball State in between sets but it seems to have worked because Ball State has opened a 20-14 lead which drew another timeout from Pavlik. Pavlik is calm and steady in the huddle while re-focusing his players as a We are... chant begins in the crowd.
Out of the timeout, a Holt hitting error extends the Cardinal lead. Yet another block by Ball State as the Cardinal begin to widen their lead to 22-14.
Ball State takes an early 3-2 lead off of a Chamberlain kill and the Cardinal seem to be doing a better job on the defensive end with a block on a Sweitzer kill.
Both teams have started to get a little sloppy. Three straight service errors giving Penn State the serve only to be regained by the Cardinal on a kill by Spadavechhio.
The Cardinal continue to pick up their play on the defensive end with yet another block, this time on Sunder. Ball State seems to have hit a groove hear and coach Mark Pavlik called a timeout to settle the Lions down with the score 8-4 Ball State.
Following kills by Price and Sunder to take it to a game point, Ball State rallied on two game points to cut it to 29-20 Penn State before Joe Sunder slammed a kill to the floor to close first set action at 30-20 Penn State.
The Lions dominated the first set. Penn State just seems too big and strong for the Cardinal to handle and Ball State is unable to stop Penn State's kills. Sweitzer led the way with six kills in the first set followed by Sunder with four and Price with three. The Lions hit .407 in the first set while Ball State hit for only .097.
Penn State lengthen its lead to 12-6 before three consecutive Cardinal points cut it to a three point lead.
A run of three straight Penn State points was ended by a miscommunicaion by Penn State where the ball just fell between three or four Lions to make the score 19-12 Penn State.
The score is now 23-14 Lions following a block by Price and Holt at the net.
The Lions are dominating the action in the first set. Max Holt's serves are sending Cardinal players reeling and the Lions are continuing to find holes in the Cardinal's defense as they've lengthened their lead to 27-17.
Penn State is off to a quick 4-0 start with blocks by Goas, Lipsitz and Price, a kill by Goas before a service error by Holt gets Ball State on the board.
Sunder slams a kill to the floor and Ball State calls a time to regroup with the score 8-3 Penn State
Dennis Del Valle
Hey all you Penn State men's volleyball fans, this is Tom Kinslow coming to you live from the press box above Rec Hall where the top-ranked Nittany Lions (3-0) are set to take on the Ball State Cardinals (0-1) in Penn State's home opener.
The two teams are warming up on the court now with a little less than 14 minutes to go before game time and the crowd is slowly filing in as well.
The player to watch for is current MIVA player-of-the-week Todd Chamberlain. Chamberlain leads all players with 20 kills on the early season and is hitting .410.
All Time: Penn State leads 51-19
First Meeting: 1977
Last Meeting: March 29, 2008. W Penn State 3-0 (30-26, 30-22, 30-17)
Win Streak: Penn State (6)
Well everybody, that's me for now. Make sure to keep your mouse over the refresh button throughout the match.
Jeff Jordan (yes, son of this Jordan) was awarded a scholarship by Illinois, Coach Bruce Weber said yesterday.
Jordan walked on last year but has emerged this year as a key defender for the No. 24 Illini.
When Iowa enters the BJC tomorrow against Penn State, the Hawkeyes will be without a pair of key contributors.
Freshman guard Anthony Tucker was ruled academically ineligible for the remainder of the season.
Tucker started in eight games and averaged 10.4 ppg.
Perhaps more significant, at least for the Lions, will be the likely absence of senior forward Cyrus Tate.
Tate had averaged 7.4 ppg and 6.3 rpg before suffering a high ankle sprain in a Jan. 8 loss at Minnesota. He hasn't played since.
No. 20 Minnesota has suspended backup point guard Kevin Payton for academic reasons.
This is probably not too big of a loss for the Gophers, considering the redshirt junior has yet to score a single point in eight appearances this season.
I swearrr I wrote my column before reading this interview, but apparently Gus Johnson thinks Penn State is capable of making the NCAA tournament if it takes care of its road troubles, as well.
: It seems like Penn State is the first Big Ten on the outside looking in when it comes to the NCAA tourney. Do you think they are a tourney team?
Gus Johnson: Oh, yeah, no doubt. They have to win on the road, which is always difficult. I just think they are growing into a really good team. I really like what I saw from them. They're improving a lot, and they're definitely on the rise.
During last weekend's alumni exhibition, one of the highlights was former Penn State player Keith Kowal.
Kowal holds numerous records at Penn State, including single season records for hitting percentage (.574, 2004), block assists (182, 2005) and total blocks (194, 2005).
Kowal also holds the career marks in each of those categories and his performance while in school earned him the cover of a volleyball magazine which with the title "Mr. Accuracy", a magazine that still hangs on the wall in the coaches' offices in Rec Hall.
Following the match, as Mike and I were talking to senior middle hitter Max Holt, Kowal approached us and let us know the "alumni middles dominated the match." Kowal also jokingly introduced himself as Mr. Accuracy .
However, Kowal has another nickname that he didn't let us know about.
When Kowal was first brought onto the team, he didn't have much in the way of volleyball experience, but he could leap higher than anyone else on the team.
"His freshman year, redshirted him, and in the fall of his freshman year, the guys on his team nicknamed him 'Bambi,' because he looked like a newborn deer out on the court," coach Mark Pavlik said. "So it went from Bambi to Mr. Accuracy, which is probably at testament to Keith's sticktoitivness and athletic ability."
Despite that shaky start, there's no doubting the career that Kowal had and he certainly was a highlight of our experience at the alumni exhibition.
Just nine months ago, Luke Murray was an All-American setter for Penn State's national championship team. But last weekend, he was on the opposite side of the net from most of his team, playing for the Alumni squad in the annual Varsity vs. Alumni Exhibition.
Since graduating in May, Murray has been training in Anaheim with a USA Volleyball pipeline team for young players fresh out of college.
Murray's goal is to follow former teammate Matt Anderson into the pro ranks. Anderson gave up his final year of eligibility to play professionally in Korea.
Coach Mark Pavlik is confident Murray will be able to find a job, but it's just a matter of at what level he's going to start.
"I'm so pleased he has a chance to follow his dream of doing this," Pavlik said.
Pavlik wants other people in the volleyball world to have the same confidence in Murray.
"I've told coaches that the worst thing you can do with Luke Murray is underestimate him," Pavlik said.
Grant again gives PSU a short-lived lead, with an easy lay-up after a steal by O'Rourke. But Wisconsin knotted the game again, this time with a Dunham bucket.
Grant then gave her team its biggest lead of the night with a 3-pointer. She faked a shot and then brought the ball even further out from the 3-point line and made the shot without hitting the rim.
Just as quickly as the Lady Lions went on a 4-0 run, UW answered with four quick points. Two came from the free throw line by Davis. The other came on a Grant lay-up past a slightly slow Penn State defense.
The Lady Lions remained unfazed, taking the lead again with a fastbreak lay-up by Grant after a Williams steal.
After a bad turnover by Penn State, Wisconsin continued the back-and-forth play with a 3-pointer by Karel to take the 54-53 lead.
Grant again took the shot with the game on the line, hitting a fadeaway to giver her team a one-point lead.
And after being dominated at the foul line the last three games, perhaps it was a little justice Penn State gets a benefit of a missed one-and-one FT opportunity by Wisconsin.
Grant gives the Lady Lions a two-point lead in the extra frame with a made second FT. After she missed the first, Grant walked off the foul line, made her way to midcourt and stood in silence. She eventually made her way back to the line, but not before gently tapping her on her head with her hand.
And then with what is perhaps the highlight of the season, Grant scored at the buzzer to giver her team the win.
On that last possession, everyone in the building knew Grant would get the last shot: Grant, her teammates, Wisconsin and the fans.
The fact that she made the contested jumper in the middle of traffic to what is perhaps the greatest performance Grant has had in her career.
Her statline: 32 points on 12-of-24 shooting, including one final shot that sent the crowd and her teammates jumping in excitement.
And Grant made sure she didn't miss out on the celebration. After she made the buzzer-beating shot, she stomped her way around the court to celebrate the win in probably the guttiest performance all season long.
If the Lady Lions can build off this win, Grant's shot later be definitely be looked at as the start of the turnaround.
Good night, basketball fans. Thanks for following what is probably the most intense game PSU has had all season.
PSU-45, WIS-45; end of regulation
After being completely dominated for most of the game, a huge second half run as propelled the Lady Lions to their first lead of the game thanks two two more points from Grant.
The Badgers were able to force a tie with two FTs.
The offenses then went through a stretch of turnovers and missed shots, with neither team able to grabbing an advantage.
Both teams were unable to score with their first chances under a minute, with Grant missing a jumper and Wisconsin eventually turning it over after a missed lay-up.
Grant turned the ball over with 1.3 seconds left with a travel near midcourt, and the Badgers' last heave near midcourt wasn't close.
PSU-41, WIS-41; 3:38 left
What a turn of events. Penn State just seems a little quicker to the ball this half.
Trogele was able to tie the game with an offensive rebound and a score after an initial miss. The second the ball fell through the hoop, the entire PSU bench rose in unison.
The Badgers haven't scored since 10:21.
WIS-41, PSU-37; 6:05 left
A score, a point and a chest bump.
O'Rourke did a quick stop and scored close to the basket, leading to a timeout from Wisconsin. O'Rourke then received a friendly point from Grant with the index finger. The two then met near center court for a chest bump with an alive crowd looking on.
Wisconsin's struggles continue. They must have caught the buagaboo PSU had earlier, with a few missed lay-ups and open shots.
The Lady Lions are now on a 13-0 run, and were even able to draw closer without Grant, who took a seat on the bench.
WIS-41, PSU-33; 7:27 left
O'Rourke exits the game, so this will be a rare chance Williams gets to be the point guard.
She gets a nice pass to Trogele, but the post player misses a contested lay-up.
Earlier, one bright spot was Janessa Wolff's bucket, which made it four players on the scoreboard for Penn State. After missing a shot, Wolff got a looseball rebound and put it back in for an easy two.
After a deadball, O'Rourke re-enters the game.
Penn State shows life offensively with five quick points, including a 3-pointer from Grant. The back-to-back scored brought the crowd back into it.
After a missed 3 from Wisconsin, Grant tried to bring her team closer, but instead took a nasty foul. She missed the FT. She quickly made ammends the very next offensive chance, taking the ball inside for a spinning lay-up to cut the deficit to 10. The basket was the best individual play so far tonight and got a nice "Wooo" from the re-energized crowd.
Grant continues to carry her team, as she knocks down the jumper.
The junior has 16 of Penn State's 33 points.
WIS-34, PSU-21; 14:52 left
Penn State and Wisconsin now seem to be exchanging points.
That's good news for the Badgers, who are maintaining a double-digit lead.
But the Lady Lions do seem to be attacking the rim a little bit more lately. This has lead to two fouls in the half, and put O'Rourke to the foul line. Washington said she wanted to see her players go to the rim more, and it may be finally sinking in.
WIS-30, PSU-17; 17:28 left
The BJC has fallen nearly silent.
The offense is still without fluidity, and only three players have scored for Penn State.
Wisconsin's offense has been tough to stop when it doesn't turn the ball over, and this half, the Badgers have an early edge on the glass and are now shooting 50 percent.
WIS-24, PSU-15; half
Well, the Lady Lions did at least end the half on a 4-0 run.
Only three players have scored for Penn State, with Grant posting a game-high nine points.
On two possessions late in the half, the Lady Lions turned the ball over off of an in bound pass, including one with just more than 1 second left.
Here are the stats:
FG: PSU-6-24 (25 percent), WIS-10-21 (48 percent)
3: PSU-1-6 (16.7 percent), WIS-3-6 (50 percent)
FT: PSU-2-2 (100 percent), WIS-1-3 (33 percent)
Rebounds: PSU-11, WIS-18
Assists: PSU-1, WIS-6
Turnovers: PSU-8, WIS-12
Leading Scorers: Grant, PSU-9; four with four points for WIS
Yes, only on assist to eight turnovers. It probably is an uncomfortable locker room right now for the Lady Lions.
WIS-23, PSU-11; 3:43 left in the first half
Another easy chance to score points is missed.
Williams had no Badger in front of her, but she was unable to convert the lay-up, with UW players quickly closing in on her. This could have bothered Williams, but this was another case of a missed opportunity.
A couple possessions later, Meredith Monroe misses from right underneath the bucket, leading to a mix of groans and surprise after another miss close to the basket.
The blown lay-up came right after O'Rourke dished out a great pass through the defense. But the pass won't show up in the statbox as an assist.
WIS-21, PSU-9; 7:09 left in first half
Penn State's offense has become nonexistent.
The Lady Lions have gone three straight possessions without getting a good pass. Wisconsin's defense is strong enough regularly, but being unable to pass the ball effectively only makes its job easier.
One one possession, PSU was thisclose to turning the ball over. Instead, the Lady Lions retained the ball...only to have freshman Zhaque Gray shoot an airball on a 3-pointer.
WIS-17, PSU-9; 11:20 left in the first half
Either Grant's groin is healthy or she is just fighting through the pain, but Grant isn't backing away from being aggressive. She contact to force a shooting foul, where she made both free throws.
In case you all don't know, PSU has really been dominated at the foul line in the last three games, from free throw attempts to free throws made.
Washington doesn't look very happy on the bench. The Lady Lions blew another chance to score on a fastbreak, this time not even getting a shot off.
While the Lady Lions are struggling to score with transition points, Wisconsin has gotten into a groove in its halfcourt offense. The Badgers are shooting 70 percent and now have their biggest lead of the game.
WIS-11, PSU-7; 14:54 left in first half
The quick pace of the game should be helping PSU, but Wisconsin is the one taking quick shots on the offensive end.
The Badgers are 3-for-3 on long-range so far, with three different players knocking down a 3-pointer.
Penn State has had a mix of good possessions and bad, with a nice fadeaway jumper by Trogele tossed in with a couple of missed close shots by Grant.
Long time, no blog, Penn State fans.
The Lady Lions return home for the first time since Jan. 11 as they play conference rival Wisconsin.
Penn State (7-10, 2-5 Big Ten) will try to break a three-game losing streak by beating the Badgers. An NIT participant last season, Wisconsin is only 14-1 at PSU all-time. But luckily for the Badgers, that "one" came last season.
Wisconsin is all about defense, defense, defense. Lady Lion coach Coquese Washington said earlier this week how it would be important to establish her fast-paced offense to dictate the game's flow.
We will see which side will eventually give in.
Rae Lin D'Alie
A quick side-note before the game starts: D'Alie wrestled and played football through junior high. Very impressive considering she stands at just 5-foot-3. Even so, I know I would not want to challenge her in any athletic event.
Ooooh, PSU brings out gray jerseys for the game. They look sharp. Definitely a nice change.
Anyway, Steelers long-time broadcaster Myron Cope died back in 2008 and with the Steelers about to win their sixth Super Bowl in Myron's honor, it's time to look back at the highlights of the career of the man who created the Terrible Towel.
First how can't you like a video with Chico Lind and Zane Smith references.
No. 1 Wake Forest saw its undefeated season come to an end tonight after suffering a 78-71 home loss to Virginia Tech. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say barring a loss later this week (hell, even if it does lose) Duke will be voted No. 1 in both polls this coming Monday.
But the basketball gods decided to have a little fun, seeing as watching one team losing its first game just simply isn't enough. So, to top it off, NJIT (yes, these guys) snapped its 51-game losing streak by topping visiting Bryant, 61-51, in Newark for its first win since February 19, 2007.
If that doesn't show the parity of the conference this season, maybe this will: Penn State's Saturday opponent, Iowa, survived a miraculous Wisconsin three from Jordan Taylor that forced overtime and beat the Badgers, 73-69, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Just two games separate teams 2-10 in the conference as it nears its half-way point in the coming week.
And what fun would a crazy night be without an incredible finish...or two.
The first one comes from Columbia, S.C., where the Gamecocks completed a seven-point comeback in the final two minutes in improbable fashion, stunning Florida with a length of court pass and lay-in in under four seconds to give South Carolina the 70-69 win over the No. 24 Gators.
I'm pretty sure that there are no die-hard Arizona Cardinals fans out there. The Cardinals are basically football's version of the Devil Rays -- a team that struggled to draw fans until it became good.
Now, Deadspin tells us the tale of two trashy individuals, who decided to prep for the NFC Championship by allegedly burning Donovan McNabb's lawn.
The Cardinals fans who left diesel fuel messages in the lawn of Donovan McNabb's Chandler home also left something else -- a box with a postage sticker that listed the suspect's name and address. The two men, Rex Perkin, 37, and Ryan Hanlon, 28, were arrested Saturday around 6 p.m., for using the fuel to kill the grass in the Philadelphia quarterback's lawn and leave the messages., "Go Cards," "Go Kurt," and "I (heart) AZ."
Originally when I read this story, I figured it was teens who did this.
The guy on the right kinda does look like a 37-year-old who would allegedly burn stuff into a opposing team's quarterback's lawn.
I'm waiting to see how many Cardinals fans show up at the Super Bowl. My guess -- somewhere between 50 to 100.
It appears as if the Penn State wrestling team has been afflicted with a case of the herpes.
Although the case of herpes gladiatorium is only a skin condition (not the genital variation), it will likely affect the team this weekend as the team travels to No. 21 Indiana and No. 25 Purdue.
Assistant coach Matt Dernlan told The Daily Collegian it will be a game-time decision if three of the 12 travelling wrestlers will wrestle this weekend or not.
Although head coach Troy Sunderland, Dernlan, and players could not comment on who the affected players are, it is clear that this is a concern for the team.
Dr. Philip J. Bosha, the doctor who is treating the wrestlers at Hershey Medical Center, could not comment on who the wrestlers are, but did clearly define the rules and how it will affect the wrestlers. Bosha said if the wrestlers breakout 72 hours before the meet, then they will not be able to compete.
Additionally, Bosha said the wrestlers must be on medication for at least five days before the meet in order to wrestle.
For complete coverage on the situation, check tomorrow's article, where Jocelyn combines all the information into a nice article. Good reporting Ms. Jocelyn! When we find out more, you'll be the first ones to find out. (Maybe after our editors)
Again, feel free to leave comments through your Facebook and let us know how we're doing.
For those of you still awake, there is one negative thing DeChellis can pull from this game. His team is shooting 6-for-16 from the free throw line. In a game like this, that really doesn't play into the outcome. And foul shooting hasn't really lost a game for the Lions this season. But it's still an issue that can hurt them down the stretch in some closer games.
Apparently John Beilein hates all things Collegian, calling a timeout after a three to stop the clock down 20. We do have a deadline, John.
Billy Oliver is getting a couple shot outs for some PT. Don't waste that redshirt, DeChellis. Will Leiner, the boy from Coplay, get some burn, though.
PSU 73, Mich 58
Four players in double figures for the Lions, and Ott is two away from making that five guys.
Battle is done taking this game seriously. He keeps running down the shot clock near half court, taking his defender one-on-one.
I think Beilein, Harris and Michigan just want to get out of here.
3:05 left 2nd half
PSU 72, Mich 48
Wow. Michigan cannot buy a bucket. Another shot went halfway down and out, and that turned into Battle leading a break and finding Ott for a lay-in which he got fouled on. Ott checks out to a big ovation.
DeShawn Sims has a quiet 21 points. He seems to be the only guy in yellow who can score. Battle, meanwhile, hits another three to up his point total to 12, tripling Harris' total, who still has four.
5:00 left 2nd half
PSU 70, Mich 46
Battle just made an interesting mistake. He got called for backcourt after his bounce pass to Morrissey went behind the half court line. That's the first time I ever saw that in 14 years of watching organized basketball.
Harris is back in now for the Wolverines. This kid hasn't impressed me, but he's still got a boat load of talent. He played just 12 minutes in the first half and has just 4 points after 30 minutes. He only has one foul, too, so it's not like the kid is playing sloppy on the defensive end.
Penn State's lead is still hovering around 20. This is probably the most complete 40 minutes this team has played all season. I mean, Andrew Ott is dunking the ball for crying out loud.
7:53 left 2nd half
PSU 62, Mich 43
Some bitter Michigan fan is getting into it with the student section. Just my take, but he's probably fighting a losing battle. Morrissey gives the students more ammo with that killer three. Boys and girls, this one is probably over.
12:06 left 2nd half
PSU 53, Mich 30
Brooks tips in a Morrissey miss for his first bucket, a rare miss for Morrissey. He's 3-for-4, all 3's.
11:11 (make a wish) left 2nd half
PSU 55, Mich 32
Hershey's Kiss Cam time. It's pretty PG right now with all taps on the lips. Now a Michigan fan and a Penn State fan lock lips, and it earns moans and groans from the whole arena.
Pringle drills a three from the corner to push this lead up to 17. If things keep going like this, maybe Beilein will erupt in the post-game press conference.
Morrissey hits a three from the same spot Pringle and Battle did before. Well, if Penn State ever goes into scoring drought, they know where to shoot it from.
12:55 left 2nd half
PSU 50, Mich 30
As you can count, an 8-2 scoring run to open the second half really lets Penn State dictate the tempo. Michigan leads the Big Ten in 3-point makes, so this is far from over if Harris or anyone gets hot from the outside. Turning the ball over is not what you want out of a timeout, though. Beilein flirting with a technical after the turnover.
The Wolverines have no answer for Cornley. His 17 points is miles ahead of the next leading scorer for any team, and the only thing stopping him is the charity stripe. He's 1-for-4 at the line, and 8-for-9 from the field.
Battle doubles his scoring output with a 3-pointer from the far corner. He now has six. Penn State is keeping this lead at about a dozen, and coach Beilein is livid with his team's effort on the glass.
14:41 left 1st half
PSU 42, Mich 28
Michigan shows a half-court trap to open up the second half. Cornley kicks off the scoring with a two underneath.
The entire band and some of the students have Talor Battle face masks. Everyone was waving them as Harris shot his free throws. Maybe when the Lions head to Ann Arbor, the Maize faithful sport Harris faces. Beilein wants time after a fast-break, uncontested Cornley slam.
17:36 left 2nd half
PSU 37, Mich 24
Well, so far this game has lived up to its billing, except for that whole preview seen in today's Daily Collegian.
Battle and Harris have combined for just five points in the first half. Battle will be the first to tell you it doesn't matter if he scores 0 or 50, all he cares about is getting that dub-ya. (Although 50 goes a long way toward a win).
What a surpise, Michigan closes the half with a missed three. On the previous possession, if you can even call it that, Pringle races down the court and pulls up for a short jumper before any of his teammates are down there. While the shot went in, it's risky taking a jumper with no rebounding options except yourself.
PSU 29, Mich 22
Michigan is doing a great job collapsing on Battle once he breaks the first line of defense. Two, three guys just all crowd the paint and force Battle to pass or go up over multiple defender. He has just three points. The other hot shot on Mink's Star Watch, Harris, two points.
Both have a ways to go to reach their totals from last year's duel in the BJC when both went for almost 30.
Battle sits with 3:30 to go, probably to avoid picking up his third foul. Jeff Brooks bricks a three, but Cornley hauls in the rebounds and finishes with a 3-point play to extend the lead to seven with a little more than 2 minutes remaining in the half. Cornley gets deep in the paint again and did his signature baby hook. The Wolverines, though, are hanging tough, keeping this thing well in reach as we near the first half buzzer.
Cornley is just so wide and big-bodies, he makes sealing off the defender look so easy. All you have to do is just pass the ball away from the defender, and he'll catch it, turn and pivot, and nobody stop him from muscling his way up.
3:49 left 1st half
PSU 22, Mich 16
As promised, here's a D.J. Jackson scoring comparison. First, tonight marked the first game Jackson attempted a shot since the Minnesota game. And, his two points are his highest since his three point effort in Madison on Jan 3. Maybe his New Year's resolution was to contribute in other areas than scoring?
Manny Harris just went through Cammeron Woodyard for a basket. Woodyard turns the ball over on the next possession, promptly sending Morrissey to check-in for the freshman.
OK. Novak sinks a pair at the line to get Michigan's scoring column to change again. It's a pretty low scoring game halfway through the first half, but I don't think it's from the defense.
BREAKING NEWS: D.J. Jackson scored. We're looking into when Jackson last made a field goal.
Jackson's offense may have been the spark the Lions' offense needed. Battle hit a three. And Ott may have just made his one great of the night. He posted Novak on the low block, somehow was quick enough to get around him, then finished with a reverse lay-up. Touche, Ott.
8:09 left 1st half
PSU 20, Mich 12
The Lionettes just put on a kick-ass performance, where one girl stood on her hands and waved her legs in the air for a couple seconds. Definitely the best performance of the year from the Lionettes.
Andrew Ott fresh in the game takes all the steps he's allowed and converts a lay-in to extend the lead to four. Ott usually gives ya one real good play a game. Let's hope the transfer from Villanova breaks that streak.
Michigan is 1-for-10 from 3-point land.
11:55 left 1st half
PSU 11, Mich 7
About five minutes in and the Big Ten's top two scorers (Harris and Battle) have goose eggs next to their names. It's still early, so they'll remain on Mink's Star Watch for this evening.
Danny Morrissey enters the game for Jeff Brooks. Brooks contributed nothing once again. Cornley gets a tough lay-in plus the foul.
Jeez, I think the staff at the BJC tightened these rims a bit too much. Nothing is staying down for either team. Snipe Morrissey nails a three from the left wing to give the Lions their first lead. This reporter is getting an inkling that number 33 could be in the starting five come Saturday.
13:09 left 1st half
PSU 9, Mich 7
DeShawn Sims gets the scoring going with a tough lay-in where he goes right through Andrew Jones to corral the offensive rebound and quick two. Aside from that, two or three Michigan shots have gone half-way down, then out. Meanwhile, Penn State has two turnovers already. I'm sorry, make that three, as I write that. Here's the kicker, Michigan forced zero of them.
Grady drilled a three. In about three minutes, Michigan shot seven 3's and made one. Kelvin is the younger brother of Wolverine running back Kevin Grady. I'm guessing there's a third Grady named Kevion.
15:28 left 1st half
Mich 7, PSU 4
Mink here taking you through the full 40 minutes tonight. There's a lot at stake for both teams here: Conference standings, conference scoring lead. None though more important than trying to string together some wins in the Big Ten.
I don't want to get too far ahead here, seeing as we're only a third of the way through conference play, but this is one of those games that can dictate the direction a team will go the rest of the way.
A win, start thinking top half of the conferece. A loss, well, it's not like they've never been at the bottom of the league before.
We're ready to go.
Welcome to another installment of Nittany Lion hoops. Today's special guest, the Wolverines from Michigan. They come into the Bryce Jordan Center with a 13-5 record, 3-3 Big Ten, right on par with Penn State.
Making the move even more interesting is the fact that Michigan's DC from last season, Scott Shafer, is taking over the same position at Syracuse, in what definitely looks like a downgrade for the Wolverines.
Now I know that Michigan had one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten last year, ranking ninth in the conference in total defense and tenth in scoring defense. But the Wolverine offense couldn't stay on the field last year, making it difficult for the defense to avoid wearing down in the second half, as it did against Penn State.
Regardless, Shafer was considered one of the top assistants in the country after being nominated for the Broyles Award (given to the nation's top assistant) with Western Michigan in 2006. Last year's nightmare in Ann Arbor has dimmed his star, and he and Rich Rodriguez parted ways.
No offense to Greg, but I'm not sure he can take much credit for the Broncos' success, considering they had John Elway manning the quarterback position and considering that Greggers presided over the Kansas City Chiefs' porous defense that couldn't stop the Colts in the 2004 divisional round.
At any rate, for Penn State fans, this will be an interesting situation to watch. Robinson and Michigan both have a lot to prove. However, if Robinson's tenure with Syracuse is any indication, Daryll Clark might be having another field day with the Wolverines in 2009.
Marquette escaped the Dunkin' Donuts Center with a 91-82 victory over the Friars on Saturday, but the story of the day happened early in the second half.
Providence's Jeff Xavier drew contact on a drive down low and went hard to the ground in pain, covering his face. The refs didn't blow the whistle until Geoff McDermott drew contact on the same possession.
While McDermott was at the free throw line and Jeff was leaving the court, Jeff's brother, Jonathan, took it upon himself to let the refs know how he felt about the earlier no-call.
I haven't had the chance to meet or interview any of the siblings of Nittany Lion players, but I certainly hope they'd be a little less forgiving should I write not something not so flattering about the players.
John Wall, the nation's top-rated point guard prospect according to the ESPNU 100, may have gotten Kansas coach Bill Self in some hot water.
The incident happened during an evaluation period last week when coaches are not allowed to have contact with prospect other than to exchange greetings.
According to the report, Self and Wall had a brief encounter following Wall's game Jan. 15.
"Basically, it's accurate," Self said after a recent win. "I don't know if the exact quote is accurate. After the game was over, like I always do, like every coach always does, I had to catch a plane. So I went back to tell the coaches, 'Congratulations, good win.' I was approached and shook a hand and said, 'I can't talk to you, but you played really well.' "
The only way Self and Kansas violated a rule would be if the NCAA considered the exchange as contact.
The Lady Lions found out in December and North Carolina found out last night: No one messes with the Connecticut Huskies.
In what was supposed to be the match-up of the year between No. 1 UConn and No. 2 North Carolina Monday night, Geno Auriemma's squad absolutely demolished the Tar Heels, winning 88-58 IN Chapel Hill.
Let me repeat that: The Huskies blew out then-unbeaten North Carolina by 30 points on its home court.
It's not like UNC was overrated. The Tar Heels had a 31-game home winning streak before Monday night's loss, which was the team's worst home game since this reporter was born in 1988.
But when UConn gets double-digit points from each of its starters and out-rebounds its opponent by 20, things tend to get out of hand.
Auriemma said after the game he's not interested in the supposed gap between his Huskies and the rest of the NCAA field. He doesn't have to be. Monday's beat-down is enough evidence that UConn is once again the easy favorite to stand above the rest come the end of March Madness.
The loss won't affect North Carolina's ranking in the Associated Press poll this week, but we'll see how far it drops in next Monday's release. Here's how the Top-10 shakes up this week (note: records listed are records as of the time the poll was released):
1. Connecticut 17-0
2. North Carolina 17-1
3. Oklahoma 14-2
4. Duke 15-1
5. Baylor 15-1
6. Auburn 18-0
7. Louisville 18-1
8. California 14-2
9. Texas A&M 14-2
10. Tennessee 14-3
Why no love for the undefeated Tigers? Well, their strength of schedule isn't what one could call "rigorous." Auburn played three major-conference teams in its out-of-conference schedule: No. 19 Ohio State, 8-10 North Carolina State and 10-8 Miami (FL). The Tigers did bump off No. 15 Florida a little more than a week ago, but we'll see after their date with Pat Summitt's Lady Vols on Sunday if they're worthy of a Top-5 rank.
In the second poll of the year, the Penn State men's volleyball team maintained its number one ranking and for the second straight week received all 16 first place votes.
The rest of the poll remained relatively static with no team rising or falling no more than a spot on the list. However, No. 2 Cal State Northridge did gain three points on the NIttany Lions, closing within 17 points of Penn State.
Penn State's opponent for Friday's home opener, Ball State, is still ranked 13th after a 3-0 (30-20, 32-30, 30-22) loss to No. 3 Stanford Saturday night.
Rank/School(First Place Votes)/Total Points/Record/Last Week
1. Penn State (16), 240, 3-0, 1
2. Cal State Northridge, 223, 5-0, 2
3. Stanford, 201, 5-1, 4
4. Pepperdine, 194, 3-1, 3
5. UC Irvine, 174, 4-2, 5
6. Southern California, 158, 3-1, 6
7. Long Beach State, 150, 2-2, 7
8. UCLA, 132, 2-3, 8
9. BYU, 106, 2-3, 10
10. UC Santa Barbara, 96, 2-3, 9
11. Hawaii, 68, 1-4, T11
12. Lewis, 57, 1-1, T11
13. Ball State, 47, 0-1, 13
14. Ohio State, 37, 1-4, 14
15. George Mason, 18, 1-0, 15.
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: UC San Diego 5; Loyola-Chicago 2
Sorry for missing you guys last week. We had a little problem with our server. This week, however, it's fixed. Just in time for a new No. 1 team, Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons take over the top spot after defeating previously unbeaten Clemson on Saturday. Pittsburgh also lost, falling to No. 4, one spot behind Big East rival Connecticut, which is at No. 3
Duke received the other four of the 72 total first-place votes and comes in at No. 2. Don't get me wrong, the Blue Devils have played tremendous thus far, but who in their right minds wouldn't vote Wake at the top after being the only unbeaten team and coming off a tough road win? The Duke bias continues...
On the Big Ten side of things, Michigan dropped out from its previous No. 25 ranking after losing to Illinois and Ohio State. The win for the Illini moved them into the Wolverines' place at No. 25.
Michigan State remained at No. 7 despite tough wins over Penn State and Illinois. Purdue moved up one spot to No. 18 while Minnesota fell three spots to No. 21 after an upset loss at Northwestern yesterday. Ohio State and Michigan received votes.
It would have been interesting to see what a comeback win against the Spartans would have done for the Nittany Lions within the polls.
1. Wake Forest (68) 16-0 1,793 2
2. Duke (4) 16-1 1,721 3
3. Connecticut 16-1 1,590 4
4. Pittsburgh 16-1 1,569 1
5. North Carolina 16-2 1,510 5
6. Oklahoma 17-1 1,498 6
7. Michigan St. 15-2 1,394 7
8. Syracuse 17-2 1,146 8
9. Louisville 13-3 1,090 20
10. Clemson 16-1 1,043 10
11. Marquette 16-2 1,003 14
12. Georgetown 12-4 979 13
13. UCLA 14-3 897 9
14. Texas 13-4 858 11
15. Xavier 15-2 848 15
16. Butler 16-1 726 17
17. Arizona St. 15-3 671 16
18. Purdue 14-4 553 19
19. Notre Dame 12-5 469 12
20. Villanova 14-3 353 23
21. Minnesota 16-2 298 18
22. Memphis 14-3 208 --
23. Gonzaga 12-4 201 --
24. Florida 16-2 175 --
25. Illinois 15-3 159 --
Others receiving votes: Baylor 148, Saint Mary's, Calif. 137, Kentucky 105, California 82, Florida St. 34, Kansas 23, Ohio St. 20, Davidson 14, Missouri 14, Tennessee 14, Utah St. 12, Washington 12, Miami 8, West Virginia 8, Arkansas 6, Michigan 5, Dayton 4, George Mason 1, LSU 1.
Yesterday was the greatest day in Pittsburgh sports history since May 18, 2008, when the Pittsburgh Penguins embarrassed the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-0, to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After spending Saturday night at Collegian Web guru Ian Brown's apartment enjoying pounds and pounds of lamb, I spent the beginning of my Sunday afternoon unable to get out of my bed. However, I had great entertainment on my decade-old television. The struggling Penguins beat the New York Rangers, 3-0.
But the best part of the game didn't happen until NBC was wrapping its awful, terrible coverage.
Contrary to Ed Olczyk's beliefs, I don't think Fleury could play tight end and I'm pretty sure Big Ben is content with his own tight end.
It proved to be an interesting week for Penn State, as the Nittany Lions made a great comeback effort against Michigan State at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday before falling in a close one. That ended a three game winning streak against ranked teams at home. Saturday, the Lions picked up the first win in program history at Indiana's Assembly Hall. While it wasn't the prettiest of wins and Indiana is certainly nowhere near the team it usually is, any win on the road in the Big Ten is big.
I have been using RealTimeRPI to track Penn State's RPI, but that site has decided to make its up to the minute rankings subscription-only. The daily update is still free though, and Penn State has fallen to 87th according to that, through Saturday's games at least.
Anyway, again here are the week's (Jan. 12-18) results from what is proving to be a less than stellar batch of opponents for Penn State
-William & Mary... L 61-57 vs. George Mason, L 71-62 at Delaware
-NJIT... L 70-62 at Loyola (MD), L 59-40 vs. Pennsylvania
-Hartford... W 76-71 vs. Maine, L 69-60 at MD-Baltimore County
-New Hampshire... W 65-47 vs. MD-Baltimore County, W 68-59 at Dartmouth
-Penn... L 78-53 vs. Temple, W 59-40 at NJIT
-Rhode Island... L 67-65 vs. Xavier, W 98-67 vs. Fordham
-Towson... L 78-71 vs. Virginia Commonwealth, L 68-46 at Georgia State
-Georgia Tech... L 70-56 vs. Duke, L 76-71 at N.C. State
-Temple... W 78-53 at Penn, L 79-75 at Massachusetts
-Army... L 47-36 vs. Holy Cross, L 77-57 at Lehigh
-Mount St. Mary's... W 80-54 vs. Long Island, W 78-67 vs. Sacred Heart
-Lafayette... W 69-62 vs. Colgate, W 84-69 vs. Navy
-Sacred Heart... W 73-64 at Bryant, L 78-67 at Mount St. Mary's
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 5-0 (15-2)
2. Minnesota 4-2 (16-2)
3. Illinois 3-2 (15-3)
3. Ohio State 3-2 (13-3)
3. Purdue 3-2 (14-4)
3. Wisconsin 3-2 (12-5)
7. Penn State 3-3 (14-5)
7. Michigan 3-3 (13-5)
9. Iowa 1-4 (11-7)
9. Northwestern 1-4 (9-6)
11. Indiana 0-5 (5-12)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record: 83-135
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 123-49
Total Opponents' Record: 206-184
Another week, another below-.500 record for the non-conference opponents. Georgia Tech gave Duke a run and trailed by just three at halftime, but the Blue Devils pulled out a 14-point win despite shooting 39 percent from the field.
Rhode Island also came close to a big win but fellow short against Atlantic 10 favorite Xavier. The Muskeeters certainly didn't help themselves by committing 22 turnovers in that contest.
And I have to emphasize that the mighty NJIT Highlanders fell twice once again (although one was to another Penn State opponent -- Penn), making it a remarkable 51 consecutive losses. Attendance at that game? 419. NJIT remains the only winless team in Division I college basketball.
In the Big Ten, perhaps the biggest news came Sunday afternoon, when Northwestern took down Minnesota in Evanston for the Wildcats' first conference win. Welsh-Ryan Arena is not the most intimidating venue, but it really is hard to win on the road in the Big Ten, especially with how deep the league is this year.
Michigan State got a scare at home from Illinois on Saturday but managed to pick up its 11th win in a row after beating Penn State earlier in the week. The Spartans fell behind by seven at the half but ended up winning by six. Michigan State's guards shot a miserable 10-for-33 from the field but somehow the Spartans pulled out the victory.
When the alumni take the court this Saturday to challenge the current Penn State men's volleyball team, two familiar faces will be staring at them from across the net.
Travis Foltz and Luke Murray, two of the members of last year's national championship team will be returning to Penn State to take part in the team's alumni weekend according to head coach Mark Pavlik, who says it's always a great weekend when the alumni are in town.
"It's always great to see the alums come back," Pavlik said. "Whether they're a '74 alum who was here before I was, or a guy like Chuck Kegerreis who I played with and roomed with and up through the '94 guys who won the first national championship. It's always great to have your family back together and it's always something, they come in and they kind of look and say 'OK, what's this team like?'"
Pavlik went on to say the only downside of the weekend is that so many alumni come back, that he only gets to spend a couple of minutes with each one but it's still nice to sit down with them and see how they're doing.
As it pertains to the actual game, the current starters are 0-2 against the best team the alumni have put on the court and Pavlik said that depending on how many young guys return it could be a good matchup between the two squads.
Will the lack of success against the alumni motivate the Nittany Lions? Pavlik hopes the Lions play hard for a whole different reason.
"I would hope that they would want to play well enough to show the alumni that the program is in good hands for this year too, so we'll see," Pavlik said.
But one of the things that Pavlik always enjoys watching is what he jokingly refers to as "The Geezer Game," which will have the two oldest groups go head-to-head, where the alumni can show everyone that they've still got it.
"Every so often, those that play, even if they are a little bit older, you'll see glimpses of what they once were," Pavlik said.
If you picked up the February issue of GQ, you were graced by the presence of King James on the cover. Accompanying the cover story, the magazine has put up a video of a little pick-up game with the 24-year old Cleveland Cavalier star (future Kinckerbocker?!?! Here's hoping!)
Wherever your allegiances lie, this video is definitely worth a gander. As expected, James rises high above the rest and looks to just be standing there for most of the game. Instead, you'll see the GQ magazine editors doing their best to show off their skills to the big man....That ended up with blood on the court at one point.
Maybe the writers from Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, or dare I say the Collegian would have fared better. But then again, there's a reason we're writers and not on the field. Oh, and it's LeBron James
Following Penn State's three victories over the break over Southern California, Ohio State and Hawaii, the Nittany Lions picked up the two rogue first place votes that went to UCLA and Pepperdine in the preseason poll.
The biggest jump of the week was UC Santa Barbara, who jumped up five spots from 14 to ninth in the poll. The biggest drop was UCLA, who after losses to now-No. 2 Cal State Northridge and now-No. 5 UC Irvine dropped from second in the poll to eighth.
Penn State should be secure at that top of the poll for at least another week as the Lions take on the alumni of the program this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Rec Hall before taking on Ball State next Friday.
Rank/School(First Place Votes)/Total Points/Record/Last Week
1. Penn State (16), 240, 3-0, 1
2. Cal State Northridge, 220, 3-0, 5
3. Pepperdine, 199, 1-0, 3
4. Stanford, 184, 2-1, 8
5. UC Irvine, 168, 3-1, 6
6. Southern California, 159, 2-1, 7
7. Long Beach State, 148, 1-2, 4
8. UCLA, 133, 1-2, 2
9. UC Santa Barbara, 117, 2-1, 14
10. BYU, 91, 1-2, 9
T11. Hawaii, 73, 1-2, 13
T11. Lewis, 73, 0-0, T10
13. Ball State, 49, 0-0, 12
14. Ohio State, 41, 0-3, 10
15. George Mason, 14, 0-0, 15.
Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Loyola-Chicago 6; UC San Diego 5
Lucas hits one at the line, making it a two possession game. And that's all she wrote. Lions come up empty, foul. but just 2.5 seconds left. Lions comeback bid falls just short.
MSU 78, PSU 73
Pringle drove, got fouled and his lay-in just rolled off the rim. He hits one of two at the line to cut the lead to three. Only chance here would be to foul and hope the Spartans come up empty.
9.4 seconds left 2nd half
MSU 76, PSU 73
Battle gets caught in traffic on the perimeter and loses the ball. The quickly fouls. He is out of the game with five fouls.
Jones and Pringle also have four fouls. Lucas hit a pair at the line.
14.6 seconds left 2nd half
MSU 76, PSU 72
Lucas hits both free throws. Spartans up three.
Battle responds with two free throws. Not exactly how these two stud PGs were supposed to do battle.
In fact, Lucas has been matched up with Pringle all night. So, a Pringle foul means Lucas heads back to the line.
Under 30 seconds to play, Lucas hits one to extend the lead back up to two.
Final minute now. Battle gets called for a foul. Each foul at this point is a huge mistake. Two foul shots coming up.
52.4 seconds left 2nd half
MSU 71, PSU 70
Battle huge three to cut the lead to one. Timeout Michigan State.
1:11 left 2nd half
MSU 71, PSU 70
Big key to these last five minutes might be free throw shooting.
Clock starts up again, and here we go. Battle drives, draws the defense and finds Cornley. He has a game-high 26.
Lucas at the line, now.
1:56 left 2nd half
MSU 71, PSU 67
Pringle five straight points to cut the lead to seven. Could be the Lions last chance to keep this deficit low.
Jones fouled in the act of shooting after a defensive stop, gets one to go. Another defensive stop, and Battle goes coast to coast to bring the Lions within four.
3:33 left 2nd half
MSU 69, PSU 65
Brief scare moments ago, a questionable transition pass from Pringle to Cornley had the forward jump to catch it and landed awkwardly, going to the floor and grabbing his right ankle.
Cornley though, in to shoot his foul shots. Both teams in the double bonus. Lions down nine.
Cornley drills a three to get the deficit down to eight. Crowd louder than usual, hoping for a run.
Suton quiets the students with a baseline jumper.
5:15 to play 2nd half
MSU 69, PSU 57
The Lions are starting to inch back via the charity stripe. Problem with that is, it's increments of one.
7:50 left 2nd half
MSU 63, PSU 53
Just less than 12 minutes to go in the second half. Possible turning point here. Lions down 58-47 but have come on strong the last couple possessions. Any 3-4 point burst here makes things real interesting.
Both teams are one foul away from putting the other team in the double bonus. Folks, we still have more than 10 minutes to play in the second half.
9:41 left 2nd half
MSU 63, PSU 49
Babb gettin' more burn here in the second half. Battle, Morrissey and Babb on the floor together make it pretty obvious DeChellis needs jump shooters on the court. Plus, Pringle hasn't brought his "A" game tonight.
13:22 left in the second half, and Michigan is already past the foul limit. One more whistle on the Lions, and they put the Spartans in the 1-and-1, too.
Babb hits his second 3-pointer of the game. Last two games now he's starting to find his stroke from the perimeter, and it could be a dangerous scoring option off the bench down the road in the Big Ten.
12:19 left 2nd half
MSU 58, PSU 47
My favorite part of the Penn State basketball phenomenon, the Hershey's Kiss Cam. Time for incredibly awkward moments, especially when the crowd boo's. I love when they come back to a couple to help a poor guy out.
OK, back to the action, which lately hasn't lasted too long with all the fouls being called. Nine combined less than five minutes in.
A thunderous Brooks dunk can't spark a rally if Michigan State answers on the next possession.
14:20 left 2nd half
MSU 55, PSU 38
When Goran Suton drives baseline and finishes with a reverse lay-up, you know your help defense is bad.
Michigan State up 13 about 17 minutes left.
Suton is making it real difficult for Cornley to get any rebounds. He had just two at halftime. Andrew Ott in now, all 6-foot-10 of him.
15:50 left 2nd half
MSU 51, PSU 36
I guess Ed DeChellis wants his guys to crash the boards, as Brooks comes flying in for a dunk without the ball trying for a huge put-back
Cornley leads all scorers with 13 with the half's first basket. Jones follows that up with a 3-point play opportunity. A quick start to the second half is the only way Penn State has chance to make the Spartans play timid, and they've held up their end of the bargain.
Pesky Kalin Lucas answers with a jumper at the other end.
18:40 left 2nd half
MSU 44, PSU 34
Hey boys and girls, Mink here. Right now there's a small child shooting a basketball at halftime, and every time he misses I fear for the lad's life as the ball could probably crush his skull.
He did make one shot though, and only two Lions made more in the first half. That equates to a double-digit deficit, which is what we have through the first 20.
FGs: MSU 56.7%, PSU 40.7%
3s: MSU 50%, PSU 30.8%
FTs: MSU 4-4, PSU 3-5
Rebounds: MSU 20, PSU 7
Turnovers: MSU 7, PSU 5
Raymar Morgan, 10
Kalin Lucas, 7
Chris Allen, 7
Jamelle Cornley, 11
Talor Battle, 8
Obviously the two things that stick out most are the shooting percentages and the rebounds. Michigan State and Penn State are 1-2 in the Big Ten in rebounding, but the Spartans are simply dominating on the glass. 17-for-30 shooting certainly helps as well, and Penn State is just 4-for-13 from beyond the arc.
That'll do it for me... Nate Mink will be taking over the blog in the second half, which is about eight minutes away.
MSU misses but Battle turned it over. It looked like D.J. Jackson got away with a foul on a block of Lucas with a few ticks left. The refs whistled Jackson for a foul as time expired, but replay apparently says it was after the buzzer.
Michigan State 42, Penn State 29
Cornley hits a 3 out of a PSU timeout, and now Michigan State uses a timeout with 25.4 seconds left on the game clock and 14 seconds on the shot clock.
0:25 first half
MSU 42, PSU 29
Michigan State ball with a 10-point lead and PSU certainly needs to close this gap a bit before heading into halftime. One field goal in about nine minutes isn't going to cut it.
Lucas at the line for a 1-and-1... he knocks down both.
Pringle misses again with a jumper. PSU just can't seem to create anything offensively.
The Lions get a fast-break opportunity but Pringle picked up his dribble and dished to Jackson, who walked.
Lucas drills a 3 and all of a sudden it's 42-27. Penn State's offense has completely collapsed since that run in the middle of the half.
1:18 first half
MSU 42, PSU 27
Ibok is whistled for an offensive foul away from the ball and Penn State will take over down 4.
Cornley at the line now for PSU, who is already in the bonus. And Cornley misses the front end of a 1-and-1, which has been a problem all year for the Lions. Another foul on Ibok as he went over-the-back on a Suton miss.
D.J. Jackson enters the game for the first time, replacing Jones. Cornley hits the first of a 1-and-1 and connects on the second as well. 27-25 Spartans.
Goran Suton attempts his second 3 of the game and this time he buried it to get the lead to 5. Not bad for a 6-10 guy.
Chris Allen nails a 3, and all of a sudden it's an 8 point game. Pringle ends about a seven minute PSU drought without a field goal, but Morgan answered right away.
Babb misses a 3 and MSU can extend its lead to double digits here with under four to play in the half. Morgan does just that with a leaner in the paint. 37-27.
Pringle misses and then gets called for a loose-ball foul. We've reached what is a much-needed timeout for Penn State.
2:50 first half
MSU 37, PSU 27
PSU has been great on the offensive glass this season, but it's MSU (the Big Ten rebounding leader) who has taken control tonight. The Spartans have out-rebounded the Lions 14-5 so far, and six of their nine missed field goals have resulted in offensive boards. Cornley and co. need to take back some control down low.
Cornley hits 1-of-2 for the line and Summers answers with a 2-point bucket to cut the lead to 23-20.
Some sloppy rebounding efforts by Penn State lead to a Walton basket and the lead is down to 1.
Idong Ibok grabs an offensive board for MSU and follows to give the lead back to the Spartans, 24-23. Pringle unwisely pulls up for 3 and misses, and Summers responded by burying a 3 of his own.
Babb just missed on a 3 and Cornley couldn't connect on the follow. MSU ball with the under-8 media timeout.
6:41 first half
MSU 27, PSU 23
Penn State is now on a 14-2 run, and the energy level in the building is certainly better than any other game so far this season. Another upset today would go a long way toward getting people to keep coming back.
Chris Allen at the line for 2 out of the timeout. He hits both to cut the lead down to 3 and then is promptly replaced in the lineup for Travis Walton. Tom Izzo calls for full court pressure after the made free throw, but PSU had little trouble getting the ball up the court.
Chris Babb nails a big 3 for PSU in an effort to keep increasing his playing time. MSU steps on the sideline and turns it over.
After a Cornley miss, Goran Suton scores on a really nice feed by Durrell Summers to the post.
10:08 first half
PSU 22, MSU 18
Andrew Ott enters the game replacing Jones, and Cornley hits for 2 for PSU. Ott gets a steal but Pringle couldn't handle the pass and MSU got it back.
MSU turns the ball over anyway, and while Battle missed a tough lay-up attempt, Ott came up with a terrific follow and put it back in.
11:34 first half
PSU 19, 14
Danny Morrissey just spent about 10 seconds fumbling around with the ball before gaining control and launching a nothing-but-net 3. I just don't no where to even begin describing that one. I'm sure that's just how DeChellis drew it up though.
Cornley with a 2-pointer and the lead is down to 12-10, and PSU has the ball back again. Morrissey misses a 3, but PSU rebounds and Battle knocks another one down. Wow. 13-12 PSU. That's an 8-0 run for the Lions, causing maybe the loudest moment of the Jordan Center this year.
Raymar Morgan quickly quiets everyone but ending the run with a 2, but Cornley answered right back with a long fade-away 2.
12:48 first half
PSU 15, MSU 14
With a good student turnout, the Stanley's Pringles fan group has made what I think is its first appearance of the season. Maybe the new "This is Sports Center" like PSU basketball commercial convinced them to return.
Andrew Jones won the tip but Michigan State controlled it and will start with the ball. Kalin Lucas gets things started by drilling a long 2-pointer from the corner.
The Spartans are in a man-to-man defense. Battle pulled up for way behind the line and missed, and Raymar Morgan hits for two on the other end.
Again the Lions struggled to find a good look as Pringle was forced to shoot a 3 with the shot clock winding down. He missed and Travis Walton scored for MSU. 6-0.
Definitely a sloppy start for PSU offensively as the Spartans come away with a steal. Penn State thought it had a steal but Cornley got whistled for a foul. The fans are getting a bit restless and Brooks just got called for the third PSU foul of the possession.
Travis Walton connects on a deep 2 and it's 8-0. Battle gives PSU its first points as he beats Morgan to the bucket for 2. Morgan answers right away though.
After a MSU foul, Battle drilled a deep 3 from the corner, but again MSU had a quick answer with a deep 2.
15:34 first half
MSU 12, PSU 5
Jeff Brooks is in the starting lineup for the fifth consecutive game now. The three position is certainly the position to watch as Penn State has been unable to find consistency between Brooks, D.J. Jackson and increased playing time for freshman Chris Babb.
A scoreboard pump-up video just tried to get the crowd pumped up, but it wasn't exactly effective. Of course, they started playing the wrong video (a Lady Lions one) before getting it corrected.
We're about to tip-off.
What's up everyone, Matt Brown here to take you through the first half of tonight's showdown beaten the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan State Spartans here at the BJC.
Of course, in MSU's last visit to Happy Valley, PSU came out with its biggest win of the season and the night ended in a storming of the court. Looks like we could have a decent crowd on hand tonight... one of the curtains on the end has actually been lifted to make room for an overflow of students.
The Lions have won seven straight Big Ten home games and three straight homes games versus ranked opponents, while the Spartans enter tonight riding a nine-game winning streak. Something's gotta give.
Everyone has gotten into this argument. What exactly constitutes a sport? There are the popular controversial "sports" such as cheerleading, chess, synchronized swimming, horse racing, NASCAR, and even trampoline??
Here's the newest one to add to the mix - beer pong.
ESPN.com's Rick Reilly explores the issue in his recent column . Reilly had the pleasure of experiencing the World Series of Beer Pong held in where else, Las Vegas.
FIrst of all, please notice the atrocious leaning violation from the guy in the picture. I guess that rule goes out the window once you get to the big leagues. Before you brush these beer-guzzling athletes as just guys, and yes girls, that have taken an unhealthy obsession to the college-favorite game, take a look at the "stats."
These people are hitting 10 cups on only 12 throws. Take last year's final between "Albany's the Iron Wizard Coalition" and "Chauffeuring the Fat Kid." The former sank its last cup while its opponent still had four cups sitting at the opposite side of the table. BUT, as is the hope for all of us who lack pong skills, there is always redemption. "Chauffering the Fat Kid" hit all four remaining cups and took home the grand prize, $50,000. That's right - $50,000. 5-0. Just a tad more than what you get from those beer pong tournaments around State College. Oh, and if you come in second among the 414 teams in the tourney? Nada. Sucks for you.
So before you sign you and your partner's name at the beer-soaked sheet above the table at the next party, don't see it as just a chance to lower your inhibitions and possibly make the other team do a naked lap. See it as an opportunity to hone your ping pong wielding skills. And maybe, just maybe you can win some big cash.....or just leave Vegas with nothing but a bigger gut and the shame of your naked lap around The Mirage and Caesar's Palace.
Just another day in the life of the all-american "athlete."
Monday night was an historic night in women's college hoops that went unnoticed for the most part. But aside from just history, a Division II game played in Texas turned into one of the most exciting contests of the year -- in any sport.
Albilene Christian beat Texas Woman's in four overtimes by a final of...
Get ready for it...
The game shattered all sorts of long-standing NCAA women's basketball records, including most total points, most points by a losing team, most total points in overtime (112), and most points in overtime by one team (58 by Albilene Christian).
Renee Renz scored 63 points for Texas Woman's, and Jamie Meyer had 49 for Albilene.
Just another reminder of how sports can amaze us, coming from what began just as any other Division II NCAA women's basketball game.
Some other news in WCBB:
All of the top ten teams in the ESPN/USA Today poll remained the same, although Notre Dame will most likely drop after Tuesday's loss at Marquette. Here they are:
2. North Carolina
4. Notre Dame
6. Texas A&M
The absence of a Big Ten team has become a recurring theme this season, as there is still just one team in the top-25 (Oho State at No. 13), and only one other team -- Penn State's next opponent, Purdue -- received a vote.
Five games into the conference slate, the Buckeyes sit atop the Big Ten at 5-0, with Indiana and Purdue just one game back.
The Lady Lions sit in a tie for seventh at 2-3, one game out of fifth, with the top five teams receiving first round byes in March's conference tournament in Indianapolis.
While the Eastern Conference of the NHL has the three best players in the league -- Geno Malkin, Sidney Crosby and that Russian guy for the Capitals, it's pretty clear that the talent level in the Western Conference is ten times greater than it is in the East.
TSN's SportsCentre (That's Canadian for "SportsCenter") compiled the Top 10 plays from the NHL so far. And while the Eastern Conference is represented, highlighted by Tim Thomas' ridiculous save against New Jersey, the Western Conference, as always, steals the show.
Personally, my favorite play is the Mike Ribeiro shootout goal against Los Angeles. It was hard for me to pick that, especially when Ribeiro is the type of the player that pulls this kind of stuff:
We could go on and on about the stacked the Western Conference is with talent, but who wants to read a list of names?
Side note: Much to Collegian web editor Ian Brown's surprise, there were no plays from Penguins defenceman Rob Scuderi or goalie Dany Sabourin in TSN's top plays. He was quite disappointed.
When the Penn State men's volleyball team traveled to Hawaii for the Outrigger Invitational, coach Mark Pavlik only had two rules for his team when it came to off-the-court activities.
One, don't get on a moped and two, don't get sunburnt.
Other than that, Pavlik left his team to its own devices but credited his veterans with doing a good job of keeping the younger players focused during the trip.
"I don't have the guys scheduled," Pavlik said. "I like to have practices in the morning and give the guys the rest of the day. Go do things, see things. Generally, we have enough groups of parents there that they'll hang out with guys' parents and do things. "
But for Pavlik, who has made the trip to Hawaii 20 times, has found that the sights that Hawaii has to offer have worn on him over time.
"You can only go to Pearl Harbor so many times, you can only go to the North Shore so many times," Pavlik said. "I just like to enjoy the weather and walk around for the most part. I think the guys had a good time though."
If you haven't noticed, it's that time of the semester where the HUB and even areas outside it are bombarded with the faces of Kramer, James Dean and Frank Sinatra. You know what I'm talking about, and I'm sure you've even picked up a few items at the traditional, start of the semester poster sale.
But I must say, walking through the HUB this afternoon, I saw a familiar face. His name is Cristiano Ronaldo. Know him? Well, you should.
Now to preface this post, I have to admit my slight bias toward the Portuguese soccer player. Besides sharing my nationality, Ronaldo started his career with the soccer club I adopted from my grandfather - the one and only Sporting. I remember him in the green and white jersey, but he's gone on to bigger and better things playing for the ever-popular Manchester United in England. (And even wearing the No. 7 jersey, once donned by the one and only David Beckham).
And now look at him, staring right at me in the HUB. Quite a difference from the mention of him in Portuguese newspapers I have tucked away at home.
Whatever you may think of the 23-year-old European celebrity, he was recently named FIFA's world player of the year. No easy feat. He claimed the honor after leading ManU to the Premier and European League titles. He also scored 42 goals in '08, making him Europe's leading scorer. He beat out the likes of Euro 08 hero Fernando Torres, Argentina's Lionel Messi, and last year's winner Kaka.
Despite all his accomplishments, Ronaldo is still perceived as arrogant and immature. If you read the tabloids, you might hear about all the escapades which include even crashing a Ferrari 599 GTB just a few days after it came in his possession. You either love him or you hate him, as the new Nike commercial points out.
But here's the truth. Soccer is a big deal everywhere but in the United States, and that's just sad. When there are people like Ronaldo, Beckham, Torres and Messi accomplishing feats in the most popular sport in the world, a little recognition on this side of the pond is nice to see. Even if it is on a cardboard poster board standing in your way as you get to class.
Despite a rather lopsided loss at Minnesota, Penn State once again has seen its RPI rise this week. Last week, RealTimeRPI had the Nittany Lions at No. 98. This week, thanks to an important win over Purdue, they have moved to No. 81 with a strength of schedule of 178 (as of the time of this writing). Penn State is still second-to-last in the Big Ten according to the RPI, but having the conference's only triple-digit strength of schedule certainly plays a large role in that. Meanwhile, in the conference rankings, the Big Ten has slipped back to third, which seems about right considering the strength of the Big East and ACC.
Anyway, here again is the weekly look at how Penn State opponents fared in the past week (Jan. 5-11):
-William & Mary... L 62-50 vs. Old Dominion, W 73-59 at UNC Wilmington, L 74-65 vs. James Madison
-NJIT...L 80-51 vs. Yale, L 73-50 at Columbia
-Hartford... L 55-47 at New Hampshire, L 71-63 at Yale
-New Hampshire... W 55-47 vs. Hartford, L 68-37 at Boston U.
-Penn... W 84-70 vs. Lafayette
-Rhode Island... W 86-77 at Toledo, L 92-86 at St. Joe's
-Towson... W 62-61 at Delaware, L 71-59 vs. George Mason, L 68-53 at Northeastern
-Georgia Tech... W 67-62 vs. Georgia, L 68-61 at Maryland
-Temple... W 73-58 vs. Kent State, W 67-45 at Eastern Michgian, W 75-68 at La Salle
-Army... L 59-54 vs. Fairfield, L 64-42 vs. Colgate
-Mount St. Mary's... L 77-70 vs. Robert Morris, W 81-62 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, W 74-62 at St. Francis (NY)
-Lafayette... L 84-70 at Penn, L 81-71 at Holy Cross
-Sacred Heart... L 74-67 at Long Island, W 76-60 vs. St. Francis (PA), L 72-70 vs. Robert Morris
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 3-0 (13-2)
2. Minnesota 3-1 (15-1)
3. Michigan 3-1 (13-3)
4. Wisconsin 3-1 (12-4)
5. Illinois 2-1 (14-2)
6. Penn State 2-2 (13-4)
7. Ohio State 1-2 (11-3)
8. Purdue 1-2 (12-4)
9. Iowa 1-3 (11-6)
10. Northwestern 0-3 (8-5)
11. Indiana 0-3 (5-10)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record:72-120
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 114-40
Total Opponents' Record:186-160
After a week at the .500 mark, the non-conference opponents slipped back into their losing ways, combining to go 12-18 during the week. The only big-name win on the resume there is Georgia Tech's victory over in-state rival Georgia, but the Bulldogs don't appear to be one of the SEC's stronger teams this year.
Rhode Island returned to the Palestra to play St. Joe's, and I was lucky enough to turn the game on just as it entered its second overtime. The teams traded 3-pointers in the final seconds of the second overtime, sending the game into a third extra period in which the Hawks outlasted the Rams 12-6.
In the Big Ten, the biggest news was made in one of the conference's few non-conference games of the rest of the season, as Michigan State took care of Kansas on Saturday at the Breslin Center. Kansas held an 11-10 first-half edge in that one before the Spartans decided to go off on a 27-8 tear to finish the half. The stats that jump out of the box score are certainly the teams' combined 55 fouls and 63 free-throw attempts.But it's not surprising to see a Big Ten team come out on top in a physical game like that.
In conference play, Indiana nearly pulled off its first victory but blew a 39-22 halftime advantage and lost to Michigan 72-66 at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers promptly went out and got blown away by Illinois in their next outing, 76-45, at the other Assembly Hall.
Big Ten scores of note from the week
-Penn State 67, Purdue 64
-Michigan State 67, Ohio State 58
-Michigan 72, Indiana 66 (OT)
-Michigan State 75, Kansas 62
-Purdue 65, Wisconsin 52
Games to watch this week:
-Michigan State at Penn State, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Williams cleans up a missed jumper and gives Penn State two points. The inbounds pass bounces right to Evelyn Lewis who passes it around to Grant. Grant tries to take in to the rack but the attempt doesn't fall and Penn State is forced to foul to save some clock.
Indiana hits both foul shots. The Lions get a pair of free throws from Wolff then nearly strip the inbounds pass. The Hoosiers make one foul shot and that will do it for this one.
Penn State just couldn't close this one out. Whitney Thomas leads all players with 19 points, while Tyra Grant leads Penn State with 17.
IND 81, PSU 73 -- 1:34 in 2nd half
Wolff can't hit the short jumper and Indiana gets a fastbreak lay-up. Then Roberson steals the inbounds pass and puts it back in, extending the Hoosiers' lead to eight in the blink of an eye. It looks like some of the fans here have seen enough as seats begin to empty.
IND 77, PSU 73 -- 1:56 in 2nd half
Neither team can hit the go-ahead basket for the first minute after the break. Whitney Thomas finally drains the jumper for Indiana around the 2:20 mark. Grant tries to chase down a loose ball on the offensive end but steps on the baseline. Roberson follows with a nice drive and a lay-up, causing Coquese Washington to call a timeout.
PSU 73, IND 73 -- 3:43 in 2nd half
Grant gets the lead back for the Lady Lions after hitting two from the foul line. But Roberson drives the lane on the other end and ties it right back up. This has turned into quite a good game.
PSU 71, IND 71 -- 4:21 in 2nd half
Tyra Grant gets a shot stuck in the rim, leaving the guard shaking her head smiling. Monroe takes the inbounds pass and puts it in for two. Monroe and Williams both have eight points as of now, giving the Lady Lions the point distribution they greatly need if they want to win.
Penn State tries to press after Trogele visits the free-throw line, but Indiana breaks it easily and Braun drains a three. Trogele responds with a lay-up after she missed her initial shot. O'Rourke goes to the floor and it looked like the officials were going to call her for blocking, but another ref overturned the call, much to the delight of the home crowd. Evelyn Lewis follows on the next possession with a nice block. Tyra Grant uses an up-and-under move the other way to bring Penn State's lead back to three.
Grant tries to draw a charge near the basket but she doesn't get the call. This visibly frustrated Grant as she cried out loud while coming to her feet. Indiana only hits one of its foul shots. Grant takes it right back to the hole on Penn State's next possession, then follows up defensively with another failed charge attempt. Grant lays back in wonderment afterward. Braun hits one foul shot and misses her second, but gets it back off a rebound and drains the game-tying three.
PSU 61, IND 59 -- 7:58 in 2nd half
Braun abuses Zhaque Gray on her way to the basket but her shots don't fall. Jackson grabs the rebound and goes down hard on her way to the free-throw line, where she hits one of two. Meredith Monroe hits a jumper on the other end to extend Penn State's lead back to three. The Lions have been distributing the points fairly evenly today, as three players share the team's points lead (Grant, O'Rourke and Gray with 11).
O'Rourke is forced to throw up a bad shot but Monroe is there on the boards. The ball bounces around for a while until a foul is called on Wolff for going over the top. Amber Jackson hits one foul shot to tie the game at 57.
Williams tries to draw a charge but doesn't get the call, which causes the crowd to boo rather veraciously. Thomas hits both free throws and gives the Hoosiers a two-point lead. But it doesn't last long as Williams drives to the hole and gets an And-1 call. She misses the foul shot, but Monroe gets the board and puts it back in for an And-1 of her own. Monroe misses her shot as well, though, making it just a two-point lead for the Lions.
Monroe is called for a foul the other way, bringing Penn State's total up to 10. The officials are calling a pretty tight game today. Fortunately for Penn State, Thomas misses both shots from the stripe.
PSU 55, IND 51 -- 11:27 in 2nd half
O'Rourke can't hit the three and Indiana turns it into two points. But Gray cleans up her own miss, hits the follow-up and goes to the foul line. She can't convert the 3-point play, but she does get a steal and another chance from the stripe. She hits the second shot, and then Williams grabs another steal. But Indiana takes it right back. The Hoosiers can't do anything with it, and Gray drains a three to finally give the Lions the lead again. Williams then takes the ball again, drives the length of the court and gets a lay-up. Penn State's pressuring defense has finally woken up in the second half.
IND 49, PSU 47 -- 13:31 in 2nd half
Kim Roberson hits her foul shots and gives Indiana a one-point lead. O'Rourke tries to penetrate and kick it to the corner but she's called for travelling. Grant puts on a nice move after a Wolff defensive rebounds, and then Penn State has a 2-on-0 fast break. But Williams misses the lay-up, which leads to an Indiana steal and breakaway lay-up, not to mention the lead.
Braun loses the ball but Thomas is there and draws a foul by Zhaque Gray. Thomas hits one of two. Penn State grabs a loose ball on their end and call timeout.
PSU 45, IND 44 -- 15:40 in 2nd half
Penn State starts the second half with more good interior defense by Evelyn Lewis, leading to a near breakaway lay-up by Mashea Williams. But Williams can't convert and Indiana turns it into two free throws and a two-point lead. Tyra Grant drives the lane, turns around and finds Trogele, who drains the open jumper. Penn State then gets another low post strip but can't get the points on the other end.
Indiana is hitting its foul shots now after going 6-for-11 in the first half. It gets two more from Whitney Thomas, then one following a missed Lions jumper. Zhaque Gray answers with a 3-ball following Thomas' missed shot, then a travel gives Penn State the ball again.
A few possessions later O'Rourke steps back and nails a three to give the Lady Lions the lead once again. But Thomas banks in an easy jumper the other way to bring to within one. Janessa Wolff throws the ball high and out of bounds trying to set up Penn State's offense. O'Rourke gets it right back but can't hit the transition jumper. Lewis is called for a foul, Penn State's fourth in the half, as the game goes to break.
PSU 37, IND 37 -- end of 1st half
Penn State fails to hold the halftime lead as Jori Davis sticks a sweet jumper on the 3-point line to tie it up with six seconds to go. A desperation heave by O'Rourke falls short, and the Lady Lions head into the locker room all tied up.
Indiana crawled back into this game by hitting its threes and pressuring Penn State's ball-handlers the entire length of the court. Amber Jackson leads all scorers at the half with 10 points, while Tyra Grant and Indiana's Andrea McGuirt, a perfect 3-for-3 from long range, trail close behind with nine points apiece. The Hoosiers are 5-for-9 from 3-point land but shooting just under 40 percent from the floor. The Lady Lions, meanwhile, are shooting 45.5 percent from the field, plus a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line.
Both squads have 20 rebounds and Jackson leads all players with seven. Julia Trogele leads Penn State with five boards.
PSU 37, IND 35 -- 13.6 seconds in 1st half
Indiana's press is working so far as Trogele's inbounds pass to Emily Phillips is overthrown and intercepted, leading to two points by Whitney Thomas. Rashida Mark cleans up her own miss on the other end, though, bringing the lead for Penn State back to six.
It doesn't last long though, as the Hoosiers hit a three to reduce the lead to three. After nailing a pair of free throws, O'Rourke commits a bad foul at midcourt. It doesn't lead to anything, though, except a transition jumper for Tyra Grant. Indiana's starting to heat up from downtown as Jamie Braun drains another three. The Hoosiers are now 4-for-8 from distance.
Whitney Thomas plows over two Lions on her way to two more points, then a Penn State turnover leads to a 3-on-1 bucket to tie it up. Grant misses a contested jumper and Lewis can't follow, but a steal for Penn State leads to a nice O'Rourke jumper at the top of the key to regain the lead.
PSU 29, IND 22 -- 4:17 in 1st half
Trogele opens the action following the break with two free throws. The Lions then force a turnover, which leads to Zhaque Gray hitting a running jumper in the lane to extend the lead to six. Evelyn Lewis gives Penn State some tough defense down low, forcing a bad shot and then positioning herself to prevent the Hoosiers from retaining the ball.
Gray forces a shot in transition between three Indiana defenders, which leads to a three the other way by the Hoosiers. After a quick timeout, Indiana steals the ball back with a full-court press, but a 3-second violation gives it back to Penn State. Meredith Monroe hits a jumper in the lane, then a Rashida Mark defensive outlet pass gives Tyra Grant an easy transition lay-in.
Mashea Williams gives Penn State a few more transition points with a basket and assist right before Indiana calls for time.
PSU 17, IND 15 -- 7:59 in 1st half
The box-out efforts continue at Jori Davis is called for a foul when Mashea Williams keeps her away from a loose ball. Indiana commits yet another travelling violation, one of the major problems the Hoosiers have faced so far. The other would have to be shooting percentage, as Penn State's good defense so far has limited Indiana to 25 percent from the field.
Tyra Grant goes hard to the hole and visits the foul line, where she drains both shots. So far neither team has missed from the charity stripe. At least, not until Indiana's Ashlee Mells misses both of hers. The missed foul shots are followed by a 3-pointer by Jamie Braun, the first three made by the Hoosiers so far. They were 0-for-3 before then.
The three gave Indiana its first lead, but a Grant three swings it back to Penn State.
PSU 10, IND 10 -- 11:54 in 1st half
The Lions open up with a nice offensive set and a jumper by O'Rourke that's good for two. Williams grabs a defensive board and tries to turn it into two more, but she missed the contested lay-up and Jackson scores on the other end. Janessa Wolff follows up a lay-up with what looked like another good stuff, but the officials call it a foul.
O'Rourke misses a three attempt but good positioning by Lewis gives the Lions two points. She follows that up by grabbing a defensive rebound. Penn State's doing a fine job at getting good positioning on rebound efforts. But if the Lady Lions want to hold a lead and build on it, they have to hit their shots.
PSU 4, IND 4 -- 15:36 in 1st half
A pretty good crowd on hand considering how much the snow has affected travel into the State College area. Penn State wins the opening tip and try to get a quick transition basket. The ball goes out of bounds and Evelyn Lewis quickly comes in for Wolff. Lewis gets the feed inside and puts up a nice shot but it doesn't fall.
O'Rourke hits a fall-away jumper a few possessions later for the first points of the game. Jackson immediately follows suit for Indiana, but a nice J by Trogele gives the lead right back to the Lions.
Penn State's looking pretty good on the glass thus far. A long rebound off a missed Hoosier three almost leads to a quick transition bucket. Trogele follows up a missed open jumper and nearly gets two more off of it. But Penn State needs to convert those opportunities to knock off Indiana.
Meredith Monroe appeared to get a nice block but she's called for the foul, much to the chagrin of the home crowd. Monroe, Lewis and Wolff are rotating constantly to keep fresh against the tough post combo of Jackson and Thomas. Penn State's defense is looking good, drawing an offensive foul just before the timeout.
Penn State (7-7, 2-2 Big Ten) vs. Indiana (10-3, 3-1)
Coming off a dominating victory against Michigan, the lady Lions look to go 2-0 on their short two-game home stand today when they host Indiana at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Hey Folks, it's Dan coming to you live from the BJC with updates on today's Big Ten clash. The Lady Lions are 13-1 all-time against the Hoosiers at home, but have dropped three of the last four overall meetings, including a 79-67 Indiana victory in last season's finale.
Indiana had its nine-game winning streak snapped Thursday in Minnesota. It boasts the No. 5 scorer in the Big Ten, Amber Jackson, and the No. 2 rebounder, Whitney Thomas.
Here are the starting line-ups:
Penn State -- G Tyra Grant, G Brianne O'Rourke, G Mashea Williams, F Julia Trogele, F Janessa Wolff
Indiana -- G Jamie Braun, G Jori Davis, G Kim Roberson, F Whitney Thomas, F Amber Jackson
With an ice storm keeping many fans inside their warm, cozy homes, Tuesday's game against the Boilermakers seemed like it was played on a neutral court. Coach Ed DeChellis challenged his players to create their own energy by starting strong and attacking Purdue the moment the ball went in the air. The Nittany Lions actually pressed, and forced a turnover on the Boilermaker's first possession.
Penn State scored the first 14 points of the games, holding Purdue scoreless for the first five minutes.
"Coach had talked about throwing the first punch," sophomore guard Talor Battle said. "Sometimes that's not always the best thing. We exerted a lot of energy early, and they were able to come back."
Matt Painter wasn't too ticked with the opening five minutes, saying his team showed a lot of character withstanding the Lions' early flurry to fight back when two of its better players were out with injuries. Sophomore forward Robbie Hummel, the preseason Big Ten player of the year, has a sore back, and junior guard Chris Kramer, last year's conference defensive player of the year has a "heavy" foot, where it's still uncomfortable to change direction quick.
Painter said Kramer's defensive edge is when he gets into players and knocks them out of system. The Boilermaker's coach said he could have played Kramer had there been an appropriate spot to throw him in.
One last game note to wrap things up. Lion's senior guard Danny Morrissey had two 3-pointers to move him past current assistant coach Dan Earl on the school's all-time 3-point list. Morrissey now has 195 career treys. Earl finished his career with 194. As he crept closer to Earl's name throughout the year, Morrissey didn't really care too much that he was going to pass the former Lion guard. And, it wasn't because Earl had about seven years to reach his total.
Whether Morrissey cares about it or not, he will have an easy time remembering the 3-ball that moved him ahead of Earl. Morrissey's shot hit the front of the rim, bounced up and off the top of the backboard before going through the hoop.
"Maybe luckiest," Morrissey said of the shot. "I didn't think it went in. I turned to T, and he was screaming in my face."
For the first time in school history, Pitt is No. 1 in the AP poll. The Panthers moved ahead of North Carolina and UConn --- who both suffered home losses -- after escaping the RAC with a win over Rutgers on New Year's Eve and then heading down to D.C. to take care of Georgetown, who moved into the Top 10 at No. 9 because of its win earlier in the week at UConn.
West Virginia cracked the poll at No. 25, giving the Big East NINE! teams in the Top 25.
Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest give the ACC a nice 1-2-3 punch at Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
On the Big Ten side of things, Michigan AND Ohio State dropped out of the poll, leaving the Big Ten with just a trio of ranked teams --- No. 8 Michigan State, No. 14 Purdue and No. 22 Minnesota. Those are Penn State's next three opponents, although not in that order.
Wisconsin won back some votes after a pair of Big Ten wins over the Wolverines and Nittany Lions.
Also, be sure to check out Club Trillion, a hilarious blog written by Ohio State back-up guard Mark Titus. My life as a Penn State basketball reporter would be much more entertaining if the Lions had a player like that for me to interview.
After five nights in Marina del Rey, Calif. -- where my family and I shared a hotel with the Philadelphia 76ers, who were in town for a Wednesday-night tilt with the Clippers, and the Columbus Blue Jackets, who played the Kings on Monday -- I am back in my much colder hometown of Perkasie, Pa.
The Nittany Lions opened Big Ten play by fighting off some illnesses in a comeback win against Northwestern on New Year's Eve before falling in a close contest at Wisconsin on Saturday. I was actually able to catch most of the Northwestern game over breakfast (it was a 9 a.m. tipoff Pacific time) in a restaurant in the rather interesting Venice Beach.
Anyway, at the moment, RealTimeRPI.com has Penn State back in the top 100, coming in at 98th with a strength of schedule of 260th.
With my return, it's once again time to look at how Penn State's opponents fared in the past week (Dec. 29 through Jan. 4):
-William & Mary... W 67-54 vs. Harvard, L 60-44 at Northeastern
-NJIT... L 66-38 vs. Lehigh, L 73-47 at Vermont
-Hartford... L 69-55 at Stanford, W 64-54 vs. Albany
-New Hampshire... W 58-54 vs. Santa Clara
-Penn... L 81-64 at UCF, W 78-67 at Campbell
-Rhode Island... W 95-80 at Farleigh Dickinson, W 79-50 vs. Akron
-Towson... L 88-68 at N.C. State, W 58-57 vs. James Madison
-Georgia Tech... W 63-58 vs. Tennessee State, L 88-77 at Alabama
-Temple... L 62-45 at Villanova
-Army... L 70-61 at Florida Gulf Coast, W 61-54 at Dartmouth
-Mount St. Mary's... W 68-44 vs. Bryant, W 67-62 at Lafayette
-Lafayette... W 54-53 vs. Princeton, L 67-62 vs. Mount St. Mary's
-Sacred Heart... W 84-79 at Columbia, L 89-76 at Boston College, L 70-56 at Monmouth
Big Ten Standings
1. Michigan State 2-0 (11-2)
2. Wisconsin 2-0 (11-3)
3. Minnesota 1-1 (13-1)
4. Illinois 1-1 (13-2)
5. Ohio State 1-1 (10-2)
6. Penn State 1-1 (12-3)
7. Michigan 1-1 (11-3)
8. Iowa 1-1 (11-4)
9. Purdue 0-1 (11-3)
10. Indiana 0-1 (5-8)
11. Northwestern 0-2 (8-4)
Non-Conference Opponents' Record: 60-102
Big Ten Opponents' Record: 104-32
Total Opponents' Record: 164-134
Considering Big Ten teams will only be playing Big Ten teams now (for the most part), we'll switch to a look at the Big Ten standings each week.
For the non-conference opponents, it was a successful week -- at least by the standards of these teams. They went .500 this week, although there were no signature wins. Temple was steamrolled by Villanova in the second half of a Big 5 matchup, while Georgia Tech fell at Alabama and NJIT's futility continued (that would be 47 straight losses now for the mighty Highlanders).
But it was a successful week for Penn State, as it made a huge jump of 52 spots in the RPI. I'd like to know what a win over Wisconsin would have done. The Badgers are No. 12 in the RPI right now.
Two in-state rivals will travel to Rec Hall on Sunday to face Penn State. One match will be an easy victory and one match will be a battle.
The No. 16 Nittany Lion wrestling team starts off the new year with a double-dual meet against No. 9 Lehigh at 1 p.m. and neighboring-school Lock Haven at 3 p.m. on Jan. 4 at Rec Hall. Lock Haven and Lehigh will not wrestle each other.
This will be the first time the Lions (4-2) compete in team fashion since their last dual meet against West Virginia, which they won 27-10.
Lehigh is a very tough squad -- they are currently undefeated heading into Sunday's match. The Mountain Hawks are led by four ranked wrestlers. Lock Haven is 4-3, so the Lions should fair well against them. Penn State leads the all-time series against the Bald Eagles, 30-4, dating back to their first matchup in 1942.
Here's a look at the projected starting lineups for the double dual:
Penn State's redshirt sophomore Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.) (13-4) vs. Lehigh's freshman John McDonald (7-4) and Lock Haven's sophomore Nick Hyatt (Boyertown, Pa. native) (13-7)
Penn State's senior Jake Strayer (5-1) (South Fork, Pa. native) or redshirt senior Tim Haas (4-3) (Camp Hill, Pa. native) vs. Lehigh's No. 20-ranked junior Matt Fisk (11-4) (Wyalusing, Pa. native) and Lock Haven's sophomore Billy Ashnaul (11-7)
** My guess is Strayer will wrestle against Fisk and Haas will face Ashnaul.
Penn State's redshirt freshman Frank Molinaro (13-2) vs. Lehigh's junior Seth Ciasulli (8-6) (Easton, Pa. native) and Lock Haven's sophomore Owen Wilkenson (7-6)
Penn State's No. 2-ranked junior Bubba Jenkins (11-0) vs. Lehigh's No. 11-ranked senior Trevor Chinn (16-2) and Lock Haven's senior Matt Fittery (19-2) (Denver, Pa. native)
** These will be two contested bouts for Bubba, pretty much his first difficult matches of the year.
Penn State's No. 8-ranked junior Dan Vallimont (8-3) vs. Lehigh's freshman Sean Bilodeau (7-7) and Lock Haven's sophomore Dave Richmond (8-9)
Penn State's senior Mark Friend (2-5) or freshman Micah Bollinger (9-4) (Mifflinburg, Pa. native) vs. Lehigh's No. 17-ranked junior Mike Galante (14-3) and Lock Haven's freshman Aaron Ernest (4-5) (Selinsgrove, Pa. native -- home of Susquehanna!)
** After Bollinger's impressive showing against West Virginia, it will be interesting to see if coach Troy Sunderland goes with the freshman against a ranked wrestler. My guess is that he will opt for Friend, the senior, to face Galante since he has a little more experience in bigger bouts.
Penn State's No. 15-ranked freshman Quentin Wright (7-4) (Wingate, Pa. native) vs. Lehigh's No. 14-ranked sophomore Alex Caruso (7-2) and Lock Haven's freshman Dan Tolbert (2-5)
Penn State's senior Phil Bomberger (1-6) (Port Royal, Pa. native) or senior Jack Decker (4-2) vs. Lehigh's junior David Craig (8-3) and Lock Haven's senior Tom Kocher (12-5) (Lancaster, Pa. native)
** Bomberger went a perfect 5-0 to capture the 184-pound weight class title at the Wilkes Open last week, so he has that going for him to argue for a starting spot. But it would also be nice to get Decker some time at 184 pounds to see what he could do.
Penn State's freshman Clay Steadman (2-5) (McKean, Pa. native) or sophomore Nathan Andrews (6-9) (Spring Mills, Pa. native) vs. Lehigh's No. 19-ranked freshman Joe Kennedy (12-6) (Milford, Pa. native) and Lock Haven's senior Ben Hepburn (13-7) (Williamsport, Pa. native)
** I would be surprised if Steadman did not start tomorrow. He was very, very impressive in the West Virginia match, as he won the wrestler of the day award.
Penn State's freshman Cameron Wade (7-5) vs. Lehigh's freshman Zach Rey (7-2) and Lock Haven's freshman Gabe Murtorff (5-9) (Boiling Springs, Pa. native)