MBB Preview: Nebraska
As the Nittany Lions look to continue their win streak, David Arroyo, Tom Shively and Brandon Pelter discuss what the team needs to do to obtain its third-straight win.
The season for Penn State is not what was expected, as the team was supposed to challenge for a tournament spot. That has not been the case, but the Nittany Lions are closing the season playing their best basketball.
Their performance on Tuesday night against a ranked Maryland team showed what the team is capable of. The 83-70 road win against Illinois proved the team is capable of playing consistently well.
Lamar Stevens is playing the best he has all season, as he scored 21 points against the Fighting Illini. It was his second consecutive game over 20 points and the third in his past five.
Stevens’ play has risen over the past couple of games and he has more confidence on his three point shot. The confident stroke he possesses could spell trouble for Nebraska as they do not truly know how to contain a stretch four.
Tony Carr had a decent game against the Illini as he did shoot over 50 percent from the floor, but his six turnovers are a major red flag. He had no turnovers against Maryland so the up and down play is a bit of a concern.
His scoring has been consistent as he has scored double digits in each of the past six games. Carr’s three point shooting has declined over the past five games as he’s only made four of his past 17 threes and needs to improve his stroke in order for Penn State to succeed.
Payton Banks has been inconsistent this season but played fantastic against Illinois. His 24 points led all scorers, making three triples and going 8-12 from the floor.
His scoring outburst from the bench is surprising as he only scored three points in the two games prior to Illinois. Banks is Penn State’s only true scoring option off the bench, so he needs to play consistently if Penn State wants to sustain success.
Shep Garner’s play has cooled off since his scintillating performance against Rutgers as he only scored three points against Illinois. He only took two shots, so his low point total is not that bad, but needs a bounce back game after struggling against Maryland.
Nebraska has lost its past three games, including their most recent one to Wisconsin in an overtime thriller, 70-69. The Cornhuskers kept the game close, but guards Tai Webster and Glynn Watson Jr. were the only consistent scoring options.
They combined to score 34 of the team’s 69 points and need more help from the rest of the team to compete with the Nittany Lions. Webster has been an offensive force this season as his 18 points per game are good for third in the Big Ten.
He is at his best attacking the rim as he only shoots 30.8 percent from behind the arc. Garner, Carr and Josh Reaves will need to keep him out of the paint as he is their best option.
Penn State and Nebraska are headed in different directions and that should continue as Penn State will extend their winning streak to three games with relative ease.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.