Good win. Thoughts after five games.
This is a bad major conference basketball team, and we are in for a long year. ED needs to realize this is a rebuilding season and continue adjusting playing time accordingly. Much better rotation today, except Sasa should get more minutes. This team is going to struggle to reach 14 wins (7/8 wins OOC and 5/6 wins in the Big Ten). 6-12 in the Big Ten would be a significant achievement for this group. Just getting to 6 conference wins requires going 2-10 against top 25 teams, splitting with Wisconsin, and winning 3 of 4 against Indiana/Iowa/Northwestern. A very difficult task. An NIT berth is highly unlikely this season, and I’d prefer ED prepare for next year rather than trying to squeak an extra win to get to 16 and a CBI berth. While the talent level is increased on the team, we are far behind the top 7 teams in the conference.
I have also been disappointed by the relative lack of intelligent basketball discussion on the forum. I blame this on the board’s desire to remove any negative and non-cheerleading fans, which has driven away many posters and eliminated more realistic viewpoints. Its unfortunate and reflected in the quality of the posts on the board. While the negative people may be frustrating, it was more interesting than only reading cheerleading posts. This site feels like part of the PSU hype machine (as in the PSU football story after losses to Iowa/OSU, or PSU’s new view of the “game day” experience). Too bad. Credit to kidcoyote for attempting to analytically break down this team’s offensive struggles. W
As far as the team:
Frazier is going to be a great player. He has more potential than Battle, and credit to ED for inserting him in the starting lineup. He needs 30 minutes a game. Unfortunately, Frazier’s current skill set (speed, penetration, and poor outside shooting) does not complement Battle’s like Pringle’s. Pringle was the most under-rated PSU player since Parkhill, and he made Battle a much better player. With Frazier in the backcourt, Talor is going to have a much worse season statistically this year and ED needs to ensure Battle is on board with the rebuilding nature of this season. This is probably ED’s biggest challenge this year.
Edwards is also a quality player who should be starting over Jackson. Edwards has more potential and is a better rebounder. He’s going to be a significant contributor down the road, so start playing him. Considering that Jackson is already a redshirt senior, its unlikely that he’s going to get much better.
If Buie is as good as advertised, he’s going to start from day one at shooting guard. With Frazier, Buie, and Edwards, Babb is not going to be a starter for PSU past this year. His minutes should increasingly go to Edwards, and they probably will. Edwards played 18 today with Babb 19. I’d prefer a 28 to 10 split going forward. Babb’s shot selection (80-90% of FGAs are 3s) indicates he’s a role player similar to DMo last year.
Sasa hasn’t been great yet, but if ED feels he’s a future contributor, he needs to play more minutes than Ott. Even though Ott may be slightly better this year defensively than Sasa, his ceiling and future impact are much, much lower.
Brooks has been great. He should be a focal point of the offense and shooting at least 10-12 times a game - there is no reason for him to be shooting over 60% from the field with limited FGAs.
Jackson/Jones. Both of have been disappointing this season. Once PSU starts facing legitimate competition, their numbers are going to decrease. I don’t see them improving much as the year progresses, but ED needs to get more production out of them.
Battle needs to handle getting beaten soundly on a regular basis in the Big Ten. Hopefully he develops improved leadership qualities and makes his teammates better as the year progresses. I haven’t seen that yet, particularly with getting our bigs easy looks. Hopefully the Big Ten season does not devolve into the game where Battle tries too much and goes 8-23 from the field. Also, ED needs to figure out how Frazier and Battle can co-exist in the backcourt. I’m not sure who should be the PG in that lineup.
Highberger and Woodyard are most likely out of the rotation going forward.
Overall, this is going to be ED’s toughest season as an in-season coach. There are increased expectations among the players and fan base, and he has a legitimate superstar in Battle who is in for a long season. How do Frazier/Battle coexist? How should minutes be delved out among the freshman and upperclassman? How does ED handle the lack of a leader on the team? It may be ugly at times, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.