Penn State seeks another Quad 1 win at Rutgers
After getting back in the win column against Nebraska, the Nittany Lions now turn their attention to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
The two teams meet for the 80th time in program history with the advantage going to Penn State overall 45-34.
Both teams enter the contest with a 13-6 record, but the Scarlet Knights hold a one game advantage in the conference standings. Penn State is 4-4 in conference play while Rutgers is 5-3.
Rutgers has had a great start to the season and found themselves in second place in the Big Ten standings. They have key wins over Indiana and No. 1 ranked Purdue.
They recently dropped out of the Top 25 rankings after a loss to Michigan State, but these Scarlet Knights are not a team to mess with.
They bolster one of the best defenses in the country which ranks fifth in the nation in scoring defense. Rutgers has held opponents to just 57.6 points per game. In 18 of their 19 games, they have held opponents to under their scoring average.
This success defensively should be no shock to anyone as they roster the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Caleb McConnell, and the player with the fourth most steals in the nation, Cam Spencer.
Rutgers has relied on this dynamic duo heavily this season with the departures of Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. last season.
Spencer, a transfer from Loyola Maryland, has blossomed into a star in the Big Ten. Through 19 games he is averaging 13.9 points per game and has scored in double figures in 14 games so far.
Another bright spot for the Scarlet Knights is junior big man Clifford Omoruyi. After a successful campaign last year, he has taken huge strides this season averaging a double double with 13.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
This trio has propelled Rutgers to the top of the Big Ten and is continuing to display their ability to defend with every game. They will be poised to protect their home court and walk away with another Big Ten victory.
Penn State has battled their way through the season so far, hitting some speed bumps on the way, but they seem to be clicking at the right time.
The standout trait of this team is their ability to shoot the three. They rank fifth in the nation in 3-pointers made per game at 10.9 and are 10th in the nation in 3-point percentage at 39.4.
Their small ball heavy lineups create tons of mismatches offensively that gives them open looks all over the court. Coach Shrewsberry has also increased their pace of play making this team an exciting team in transition.
Penn State has a big advantage over most teams in experience. They have five 1,000 point scorers and are one of the oldest teams in the nation according to Kenpom.
The Nittany lions are also spearheaded by a trio of their own in National Player of the Year Candidate Jalen Pickett, a very efficient Seth Lundy, and sharpshooter Andrew Funk.
These three all average over 13 points per game and have brought a different vibe to Happy Valley. Funk has been the catalyst recently putting up 23, 16, and 23 points in his last three games.
Pickett makes the team go whenever they need him. He is the only player in the country averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game and would be the first player since Denzel Valentine to do so.
This trio will look to dismantle a tough Rutgers defense on the road while the Scarlet Knights look to defend their home court. The game is set to tip-off at 6:30 p.m. inside Jersey Mike’s Arena.
Thomas English is a second-year broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Second-year / Broadcast Journalism
Thomas is a broadcast journalist from Shorewood, Illinois which is an hour South of Chicago. He is a second-year student at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. His goal is to be an ESPN broadcaster who covers a variety of sports including professional and college level football and basketball and bring entertainment to people all over the world. His other goal is to spread his love of sports to all cultures through projects that allow children of all ethnicities to learn and play all kinds of sports. He is currently an active member of CommRadio, a student run radio station at Penn State. He plans to create his own sports podcast as well as doing play by play and analysis for Penn State sporting events in the future. In the future, he hopes to use his skills to entertain people all over the world!