Wagner (0-0, 0-0) at Penn State (0-0, 0-0)
4:00 PM EST
Series Record: Penn State 2-0
Last Meeting: Penn State 100-91 (2000)
Blog Representation: Black Shoe Diaries
Last season there was a little bit of hype for the Nittany Lions because of the interest in guard Tim Frazier, one of the conference's top scorers. Frazier also led the conference in assists and was considered one of the top players in the backcourt. Unfortunately for Penn State Tim Frazier suffered an early season injury and missed most of the season. Penn State fell and fell hard without Frazier. However, the seasons saving grace was the rise of guard D.J. Newbill.
Newbill ended up coming up big and leading the team in scoring. Now a backcourt led by both Frazier and Newbill has fans across the league foaming at the mouth as they provide one of the most entertaining and talented backcourts in the conference. That being said, there are still two major issues with Frazier and Newbill:
- Newbill filled Frazier's void to a tee and played the exact same game as Frazier. Can Newbill and Frazier co-exist or will they clog the backcourt and get in each others way?
- Who else will step up? As good as Newbill and Frazier may be there is little talent and depth surrounding them
While there are questions about Penn State's roster, those will likely be issues addressed later on in the season. The Nittany Lions will host their opening game against a Wagner Seahawks team that went 19-12 in the Northeast Conference last season. Outside of Jonathon Williams the Seahawks will retain a familiar cast of players so experience won't be an issue.
The Nittany Lions have been predicted to finish near the bottom of the league and outside of a handful of Penn State fans, this is widely accepted. If Penn State wants to improve on last season they'll need to take care of games like these. The Nittany Lions have gotten into the habit of dropping a handful of non-conference games they should win and Wagner brings a large enough returning cast that they should be ready to go today.
So the success of Penn State today and their ability to win likely will rest on Frazier and Newbill and how well they can co-exist in the backcourt. If Frazier returns to form and Newbill does what he did last season, there is no reason Penn State should lose. If both players drop off thanks to their similar style of game play, well then Penn State will need their frontcourt to step up and take care of business.