Legends Classic Preview

Story posted November 20, 2017 in CommRadio, Sports by Brian McLaughlin

Legends Classic Preview

This season’s Legends Classic brings together a mix of two Pennsylvania teams and two from the heart of the Midwest. Oklahoma State and Texas A&M will match up in the opener of the tournament in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn while Penn State and the Pitt Panthers will play the night cap.

Texas A&M – The Aggies are the clear favorite to win this tournament. After a great win to open the college basketball season against West Virginia, this team is a serious threat to anyone in the Big 12. Currently ranked 16th in the country, Texas A&M can shoot the lights out and hit over 50 percent from three-point range in the win against West Virginia. This is especially impressive due to West Virginia’s defensive reputation. Bob Huggins’ program is known for creating chaos and turnovers, shutting down otherwise powerful offenses. The Aggies are still flying under the radar nationally but this offense and shooting should make them very dangerous across the country.

Oklahoma State – The Cowboys will be faced with a tough matchup in the opener of this tournament. Texas A&M is the clear favorite, but these teams from the southwest both have growing programs. In recent years Oklahoma State has produced talent such as Celtics guard Marcus Smart and continues to produce top talent. This is a balanced team without a star player emerging yet, that can really shoot the ball well from three.  They will need this shooting to win a likely shootout against Texas A&M.

Pitt – The Panthers are in an odd place, just a few years removed from a deep run into the NCAA tournament, Pitt is coming off early season losses to Montana and Navy. In a year of transition, it could be the final year for Kevin Stallings with fans calling for his firing. A team that lacks talent isn’t likely to win a game in this tournament. Unless Penn State’s injuries come back to haunt them, Pitt will have a tough task entering play on Monday with a very talented Penn State opponent. Their best player is likely Ryan Luther who can stretch the floor shooting the three and will match up with Lamar Stevens in a matchup of talented forwards.

Penn State – The Lions are possibly the biggest question mark entering this tournament. They definitely have the most to prove, with loads of talent but haven’t been able to showcase it on the national stage. They survived a game without Tony Carr and Josh Reaves against Columbia last Friday thanks to a double-double from Mike Watkins. Penn State is proving to be very sound defensively, and that will only improve when Reaves returns to the floor. In his absence, Nazeer Bostick has been great and freshman Jabari Wheeler has played big minutes at point guard. Carr is the best player on Penn State and they will desperately need him to return to have any shot at A&M. He can shoot from deep and is a 6-foot-5 point-guard that has the ability to play at the next level.

Brian McLaughlin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email bxm48@psu.edu