Jerry Dunn is unfairly blamed for "ruining" an "overrated" 1995-96 team


#1

I think JD gets a bad rap for supposedly “ruining” that 1996 season. If you look at that season, people on this board (and PSU fans) have a very inflated sense of how good that team was. First, they played a relatively easy non-conference schedule, which let them start 9-0. Best wins were against a Bradley and Santa Clara squads ranked about 40th in the computer rankings that year. Second, they were a very bad road team (going 2-6 in conference). Third, it was a down year for the Big Ten. The Big Ten had a terrible NCAA tournament showing that year - going 2-5, with the only wins being a first round W by the 1 seed Purude and a first round win by Iowa (a 6 seed).

They also played a much easier first half of the conference schedule, which let them start 9-2 in conference. They went 2-2 in road games, with the wins coming at Ohio State and at Northwestern, who went a combined 5-31. Coupled with the 9-0 start from the soft OOC, people thought that PSU was a top 15 team. In reality they probably weren’t. I think even the characterization that they “limped” to a a 3-4 finish in conference is unfair. If anything, they played to form and lost all 4 games on the road and won their home games against tougher teams. Yes JD practiced too hard, but that PSU was the benficiary of a forgiving easy first-half schedule.

While it was a good team, let’s not go crazy and say it was the best team PSU ever had. I’d take the Crispin, Titus, and GCH team.

Here’s the final big ten standings:
1 Purdue 15 - 3 26 - 6
2 Indiana 12 - 6 19 - 12
3 Penn State 12 - 6 21 - 7
4 Iowa 11 - 7 23 - 9
5 Michigan 10 - 8 20 - 12
6 Minnesota 10 - 8 19 - 13
7 Michigan State 9 - 9 16 - 16
8 Wisconsin 8 - 10 17 - 15
9 Illinois 7 - 11 18 - 13
10 Ohio State 3 - 15 10 - 17
11 Northwestern 2 - 16 7 - 20

Penn State’s Big Ten Schedule:
Jan 3, 1996 at Ohio State W 72 - 69
Jan 7, 1996 vs Wisconsin W 79 - 50
Jan 11, 1996 vs Minnesota W 76 - 61
Jan 13, 1996 at Northwestern W 83 - 74
Jan 21, 1996 at Michigan L 66 - 67
Jan 24, 1996 vs Purdue W 87 - 77
Jan 27, 1996 vs Indiana W 82 - 68
Jan 31, 1996 at Michigan State L 58 - 61
Feb 3, 1996 at Iowa W 95 - 87
Feb 8, 1996 vs Illinois W 61 - 58
Feb 10, 1996 vs Michigan State W 54 - 50
Feb 14, 1996 at Indiana L 54 - 72
Feb 17, 1996 at Purdue L 49 - 66
Feb 22, 1996 vs Michigan W 67 - 57
Feb 28, 1996 vs Northwestern W 78 - 62
Mar 2, 1996 at Minnesota L 60 - 65
Mar 6, 1996 at Wisconsin L 52 - 54
Mar 9, 1996 vs Ohio State W 86 - 70


#2

[quote=“FanofPSU, post:1, topic:804”]I think JD gets a bad rap for supposedly “ruining” that 1996 season. If you look at that season, people on this board (and PSU fans) have a very inflated sense of how good that team was. First, they played a relatively easy non-conference schedule, which let them start 9-0. Best wins were against a Bradley and Santa Clara squads ranked about 40th in the computer rankings that year. Second, they were a very bad road team (going 2-6 in conference). Third, it was a down year for the Big Ten. The Big Ten had a terrible NCAA tournament showing that year - going 2-5, with the only wins being a first round W by the 1 seed Purude and a first round win by Iowa (a 6 seed).

They also played a much easier first half of the conference schedule, which let them start 9-2 in conference. They went 2-2 in road games, with the wins coming at Ohio State and at Northwestern, who went a combined 5-31. Coupled with the 9-0 start from the soft OOC, people thought that PSU was a top 15 team. In reality they probably weren’t. I think even the characterization that they “limped” to a a 3-4 finish in conference is unfair. If anything, they played to form and lost all 4 games on the road and won their home games against tougher teams. Yes JD practiced too hard, but that PSU was the benficiary of a forgiving easy first-half schedule.

While it was a good team, let’s not go crazy and say it was the best team PSU ever had. I’d take the Crispin, Titus, and GCH team.

Here’s the final big ten standings:
1 Purdue 15 - 3 26 - 6
2 Indiana 12 - 6 19 - 12
3 Penn State 12 - 6 21 - 7
4 Iowa 11 - 7 23 - 9
5 Michigan 10 - 8 20 - 12
6 Minnesota 10 - 8 19 - 13
7 Michigan State 9 - 9 16 - 16
8 Wisconsin 8 - 10 17 - 15
9 Illinois 7 - 11 18 - 13
10 Ohio State 3 - 15 10 - 17
11 Northwestern 2 - 16 7 - 20

Penn State’s Big Ten Schedule:
Jan 3, 1996 at Ohio State W 72 - 69
Jan 7, 1996 vs Wisconsin W 79 - 50
Jan 11, 1996 vs Minnesota W 76 - 61
Jan 13, 1996 at Northwestern W 83 - 74
Jan 21, 1996 at Michigan L 66 - 67
Jan 24, 1996 vs Purdue W 87 - 77
Jan 27, 1996 vs Indiana W 82 - 68
Jan 31, 1996 at Michigan State L 58 - 61
Feb 3, 1996 at Iowa W 95 - 87
Feb 8, 1996 vs Illinois W 61 - 58
Feb 10, 1996 vs Michigan State W 54 - 50
Feb 14, 1996 at Indiana L 54 - 72
Feb 17, 1996 at Purdue L 49 - 66
Feb 22, 1996 vs Michigan W 67 - 57
Feb 28, 1996 vs Northwestern W 78 - 62
Mar 2, 1996 at Minnesota L 60 - 65
Mar 6, 1996 at Wisconsin L 52 - 54
Mar 9, 1996 vs Ohio State W 86 - 70[/quote]

That team had 5 legit big ten starters and finished 4 games better in the standings than the 2001 team (which is a sizeable difference - I don’t think the league was really terrible or anything in 95-96). I think the Crispin team maybe had a higher ceiling because Joe and Titus could shoot you into a win, but as far as consistently who the better team was, I think you have to give it to the 95-96 team. Just look at the scores you put on there. Everyone of those road games except Indiana and Purdue was very close. I especially remember that Michigan road game as PSU was 13-0 and I believe Masseo Baston got a tip in on the last possession to win (or something like that). I seem to remember the Crispin teams could look just as bad as good. (See blowing a 20 point home halftime lead to Ohio State). My point is you had many more options that a coach could exploit on the 95-96 team and JD didn’t do anything to elevate the very good lineup provided to him


#3
I think JD gets a bad rap for supposedly "ruining" that 1996 season. If you look at that season, people on this board (and PSU fans) have a very inflated sense of how good that team was. First, they played a relatively easy non-conference schedule, which let them start 9-0. Best wins were against a Bradley and Santa Clara squads ranked about 40th in the computer rankings that year. Second, they were a very bad road team (going 2-6 in conference). Third, it was a down year for the Big Ten. The Big Ten had a terrible NCAA tournament showing that year - going 2-5, with the only wins being a first round W by the 1 seed Purude and a first round win by Iowa (a 6 seed).

They also played a much easier first half of the conference schedule, which let them start 9-2 in conference. They went 2-2 in road games, with the wins coming at Ohio State and at Northwestern, who went a combined 5-31. Coupled with the 9-0 start from the soft OOC, people thought that PSU was a top 15 team. In reality they probably weren’t. I think even the characterization that they “limped” to a a 3-4 finish in conference is unfair. If anything, they played to form and lost all 4 games on the road and won their home games against tougher teams. Yes JD practiced too hard, but that PSU was the benficiary of a forgiving easy first-half schedule.

While it was a good team, let’s not go crazy and say it was the best team PSU ever had. I’d take the Crispin, Titus, and GCH team.

Here’s the final big ten standings:
1 Purdue 15 - 3 26 - 6
2 Indiana 12 - 6 19 - 12
3 Penn State 12 - 6 21 - 7
4 Iowa 11 - 7 23 - 9
5 Michigan 10 - 8 20 - 12
6 Minnesota 10 - 8 19 - 13
7 Michigan State 9 - 9 16 - 16
8 Wisconsin 8 - 10 17 - 15
9 Illinois 7 - 11 18 - 13
10 Ohio State 3 - 15 10 - 17
11 Northwestern 2 - 16 7 - 20

Penn State’s Big Ten Schedule:
Jan 3, 1996 at Ohio State W 72 - 69
Jan 7, 1996 vs Wisconsin W 79 - 50
Jan 11, 1996 vs Minnesota W 76 - 61
Jan 13, 1996 at Northwestern W 83 - 74
Jan 21, 1996 at Michigan L 66 - 67
Jan 24, 1996 vs Purdue W 87 - 77
Jan 27, 1996 vs Indiana W 82 - 68
Jan 31, 1996 at Michigan State L 58 - 61
Feb 3, 1996 at Iowa W 95 - 87
Feb 8, 1996 vs Illinois W 61 - 58
Feb 10, 1996 vs Michigan State W 54 - 50
Feb 14, 1996 at Indiana L 54 - 72
Feb 17, 1996 at Purdue L 49 - 66
Feb 22, 1996 vs Michigan W 67 - 57
Feb 28, 1996 vs Northwestern W 78 - 62
Mar 2, 1996 at Minnesota L 60 - 65
Mar 6, 1996 at Wisconsin L 52 - 54
Mar 9, 1996 vs Ohio State W 86 - 70

That team had 5 legit big ten starters and finished 4 games better in the standings than the 2001 team (which is a sizeable difference - I don’t think the league was really terrible or anything in 95-96). I think the Crispin team maybe had a higher ceiling because Joe and Titus could shoot you into a win, but as far as consistently who the better team was, I think you have to give it to the 95-96 team. Just look at the scores you put on there. Everyone of those road games except Indiana and Purdue was very close. I especially remember that Michigan road game as PSU was 13-0 and I believe Masseo Baston got a tip in on the last possession to win (or something like that). I seem to remember the Crispin teams could look just as bad as good. (See blowing a 20 point home halftime lead to Ohio State). My point is you had many more options that a coach could exploit on the 95-96 team and JD didn’t do anything to elevate the very good lineup provided to him

Agreed. I think the two teams were close. But I think its revisionist history to claim they “collapsed” down the stretch and were a Big Ten powerhouse. They just ran into a hot Arkansas team that made the Sweet 16 and lost to UMass.

Also, the big ten during 2001 was much stronger. 2 number seeds in Illinois (Elite eight) and Michigan State (final four). Also, had 7 teams make the NCAA tourney (PSU was the lowest seed at 7) versus only 5 teams making the tourney in 1996.

Also, the 2001 team was only blown out twice on the road - both times against Number 1 seeds (at MSU, at Illinois). Rest of the road games were close.


#4

Why did you move this to the main board? It was perfectly fine on Deadwood. Isn’t the Subject going to confuse and turn people off on this board?


#5

No, I was curious to hear other people’s thoughts on the analysis. The deadwood board is full of people with one viewpoint. The main board has some varying opinions.


#6

I don’t necessarily disagree, fan, I don’t think Jerry ruined it, it just seems hard to deny that it was one of the more talented teams we ever had. And I would take them over the Crispin sweet 16 team. Like you said, they ran into a surging Arkansas team, and the 01 psu team ran into a poorly coached (but talented) UNC team that has players that have made more pro bowls than all star games.


#7

That “relatively easy non-conference schedule” consisted of road wins over the 31st and 57th teams in the RPI and a neutral court win over the 25th ranked team in the RPI. They only had one win against a team with an RPI over 225. They ended the year with an RPI of 14th, and had a Strength of Scheule of 39th. You’re knocking the Big Ten that season, but they still had a conference RPI of 3rd. They went 3-6 on the road in conference (remember that we played 18 games back then), however the worst loss of those 6 was to a Michigan St team that finished 78th in the RPI, and the otehr 5 teams were in the top 60. I personally think that the 95-96 team would have beated the 2000-2001 team 7 times out of 10.

As far as the players being worn out, that came from their mouths. I believe DJones did an article on the abuse of the rules regarding practice time and the intensity of the practice that was held leading up to the Arkansas game.


#8

I think JD just gets a bad rap in general. Any success he had just gets credited to Parkhill or the Crispin team ‘coaching themselves’ as if he was a totally passive entity that did not even recruit the players. Any struggles that Ed has get blamed on Dunn leaving the program with the cupboard bare. Dunn is irrelevant now - Ed has been here since 2003 and has crashed the ship all on his own this time


#9

[quote=“frats, post:7, topic:804”]That “relatively easy non-conference schedule” consisted of road wins over the 31st and 57th teams in the RPI and a neutral court win over the 25th ranked team in the RPI. They only had one win against a team with an RPI over 225. They ended the year with an RPI of 14th, and had a Strength of Scheule of 39th. You’re knocking the Big Ten that season, but they still had a conference RPI of 3rd. They went 3-6 on the road in conference (remember that we played 18 games back then), however the worst loss of those 6 was to a Michigan St team that finished 78th in the RPI, and the otehr 5 teams were in the top 60. I personally think that the 95-96 team would have beated the 2000-2001 team 7 times out of 10.

As far as the players being worn out, that came from their mouths. I believe DJones did an article on the abuse of the rules regarding practice time and the intensity of the practice that was held leading up to the Arkansas game.[/quote]

Fair points - I was using a computer ranking for the 40th comments, not the RPI. I’d take the win over KY at KY over any of the 1996 non-conference wins. The Big Ten was down in 1996 compared to 2001. Agreed on being worn down - however, that may have been the by-product of the nature of the players. Gaudio and Earl were never very durable and had difficulty staying healthy.

I think those teams split ten games, but its definitely close.


#10
[quote="frats, post:7, topic:804"]That "relatively easy non-conference schedule" consisted of road wins over the 31st and 57th teams in the RPI and a neutral court win over the 25th ranked team in the RPI. They only had one win against a team with an RPI over 225. They ended the year with an RPI of 14th, and had a Strength of Scheule of 39th. You're knocking the Big Ten that season, but they still had a conference RPI of 3rd. They went 3-6 on the road in conference (remember that we played 18 games back then), however the worst loss of those 6 was to a Michigan St team that finished 78th in the RPI, and the otehr 5 teams were in the top 60. I personally think that the 95-96 team would have beated the 2000-2001 team 7 times out of 10.

As far as the players being worn out, that came from their mouths. I believe DJones did an article on the abuse of the rules regarding practice time and the intensity of the practice that was held leading up to the Arkansas game.[/quote]

Fair points - I was using a computer ranking for the 40th comments, not the RPI. I’d take the win over KY at KY over any of the 1996 non-conference wins. The Big Ten was down in 1996 compared to 2001. Agreed on being worn down - however, that may have been the by-product of the nature of the players. Gaudio and Earl were never very durable and had difficulty staying healthy.

I think those teams split ten games, but its definitely close.

I completely agree that the wins over Kentucky and NC are better than anything that the 95-96 team did (probably even the wins over Michigan St and Illinois). However, the 00-01 team had a lot more peaks and valleys, where the 95-96 team was a squad where I felt like I knew that I was going to get. If you needed to pull off a big upset, you’d probably want the 95-96 team. If you wanted to play a 30 game schedule, then I’d take the 95-96 team, as they didn’t have a single bad loss all season.

Edit - Meant to say that you’d want the 00-01 team if you needed a big upset.


#11
[quote="frats, post:7, topic:804"]That "relatively easy non-conference schedule" consisted of road wins over the 31st and 57th teams in the RPI and a neutral court win over the 25th ranked team in the RPI. They only had one win against a team with an RPI over 225. They ended the year with an RPI of 14th, and had a Strength of Scheule of 39th. You're knocking the Big Ten that season, but they still had a conference RPI of 3rd. They went 3-6 on the road in conference (remember that we played 18 games back then), however the worst loss of those 6 was to a Michigan St team that finished 78th in the RPI, and the otehr 5 teams were in the top 60. I personally think that the 95-96 team would have beated the 2000-2001 team 7 times out of 10.

As far as the players being worn out, that came from their mouths. I believe DJones did an article on the abuse of the rules regarding practice time and the intensity of the practice that was held leading up to the Arkansas game.[/quote]

Fair points - I was using a computer ranking for the 40th comments, not the RPI. I’d take the win over KY at KY over any of the 1996 non-conference wins. The Big Ten was down in 1996 compared to 2001. Agreed on being worn down - however, that may have been the by-product of the nature of the players. Gaudio and Earl were never very durable and had difficulty staying healthy.

I think those teams split ten games, but its definitely close.

I completely agree that the wins over Kentucky and NC are better than anything that the 95-96 team did (probably even the wins over Michigan St and Illinois). However, the 00-01 team had a lot more peaks and valleys, where the 95-96 team was a squad where I felt like I knew that I was going to get. If you needed to pull off a big upset, you’d probably want the 95-96 team. If you wanted to play a 30 game schedule, then I’d take the 95-96 team, as they didn’t have a single bad loss all season.

Good points - as a fan, I probably remember the big UNC and KY and MSU wins a lot more than the blowout losses and OSU debacle.


#12

I remember the last few games thinking that the team just looked tired. They made mental mistakes which they weren’t making earlier in the year. That team had an extremely high basketball IQ and they just didn’t look like themselves. Arkansas was probably the worst matchup we could have had. A surging team which loved playing at a high tempo against a tired more methodical team.

I still feel it was our best overall team. Like FanofPSU said that team had 5 legitimate Big Ten players starting and also a pretty good bench. The 00-01 team was probably the funnest to watch though.


#13

I always wondered how that team would have faired under Parkhill. Not to be unfair to Jerry, thought he did a really good job under the circumstances, but Bruce had more experience. Jerry was learning on the job and like some have said, Arkansas with the 40 minutes of Hell was not a good draw.


#14

It was a first round loss 14 years ago, I think we need to move on (So does the program and especially the AD)


#15
[quote="jjepsu92, post:13, topic:804"]I always wondered how that team would have faired under Parkhill. Not to be unfair to Jerry, thought he did a really good job under the circumstances, but Bruce had more experience. Jerry was learning on the job and like some have said, Arkansas with the 40 minutes of Hell was not a good draw.[/quote]

It was a first round loss 14 years ago, I think we need to move on (So does the program and especially the AD)

Agreed. Everyone likes to act like Parkhill was such a great coach and PSU guy, but he put PSU in a very difficult situation by quitting in September. A) He forced Curley to hire Dunn, and B) his abrupt resignation hurt recruiting - that prior summer was almost a complete waste.

The situation that Dunn inherited as “rosy” as many imagine. People act like JD drove the program off a cliff. Perhaps he didn’t capitalize on the new building, but 2 NCAA tourneys and 2 NITS in 8 years is not that bad. In 12 years, Parkhill only made 1 NCAA and had 3 NIT appearance. In 7 years, ED only 2 NIT appearances…


#16

J Dunn’s first year was the best PSU team in modern times! Much better than the Crispins. They ran “out of gas” mainly because Danny Earl had a very bad back! Also they got a terrible NCAA match-up with Arkansas. Arkansas (40 minutes of Hell) had a very bad start to their season. They had a great 2nd half because many of their players did not become eligible until spring term. Arkansas was one of the most talented teams in the field! Sure made Nolan Richardson a lot of money! NCAA selection screwed us…! Anybody seeing a theme!


#17

I was watching the 2001 2nd round game against UNC last night and I had forgotten at how well Banta played and some of the great contributions by Watkins. I wonder if things would have turned out differently for Jerry if Banta would have been a part of those proceeding teams and Tate could have avoided his problems. And I suppose if Jon had stuck around.


#18

14 years ago - who cares!? PSU needs to get there again, and keep getting there. It’s unbelievable how much our die hard fans cling to the memory of that single year - I am certain that there is no other program in the country where a 14 year old 12-5 upset still haunts fans


#19
J Dunn's first year was the best PSU team in modern times! Much better than the Crispins. They ran "out of gas" mainly because Danny Earl had a very bad back! Also they got a terrible NCAA match-up with Arkansas. Arkansas (40 minutes of Hell) had a very bad start to their season. They had a great 2nd half because many of their players did not become eligible until spring term. Arkansas was one of the most talented teams in the field! Sure made Nolan Richardson a lot of money! NCAA selection screwed us......! Anybody seeing a theme!

14 years ago - who cares!?

Probably the same people who care about watching the UNC game or the infamous Indiana game. Which is more than just a few. Here’s a tip, if you don’t care then don’t visit the thread. Seriously, what is your purpose in this thread? ::slight_smile:


#20

Banta was funny, a favorite of the students