BC Interruption: Much like Boston College, Penn State has a ton of new faces this season. I know it's very early in the season, but who are some of the standouts on this year's roster?
Black Shoe Diaries: We knew coming in Tim Frazier was going to be the cornerstone. He was the only returning starter, but his game had always been a facilitator for Talor Battle. We weren't quite sure how much of the load he could carry, scoring wise, but he's certainly answered the call. Outside of that, though, PSU will take whoever has the hot hand any given night. Billy Oliver takes a lot of threes, but he has yet to make them with consistency. True freshman guard Trey Lewis was a scorer in high school and that mentality has been on display, but he's still struggling adjusting to the college game. 6'4" sophomore Jermaine Marshall was suspended for essentially all of preseason practice, so he's still easing back into the lineup, but he could be someone who emerges down the road. Everyone else has shown flashes, but they've got a long ways to go to become legitimate scoring threats.
BCI: Penn State got beat pretty badly by Saint Joseph's on Saturday. What were the keys to the Hawks victory, and what didn't go right for Penn State?
BSD: Penn State let themselves get down 22-0 with just overall bad basketball. They missed their first 16 shots and finished 4-38 (10.5%). Obviously they were never able to recover. In their three 'big' games in the early part of the season (Kentucky, South Florida, St. Joseph's), they've scored just 47, 53, and 47 points respectively. Finding a way to score the basketball will be a theme for this young team on the road all season long. But regardless of their play, they hustle, rebound, and defend, which is how they gritted out that USF win.
BCI: I know its far too early, but what are fans general impressions of new head coach Pat Chambers? Does this game take on any extra meaning considering Chambers comes to State College from Boston U., BC's arch rival (in hockey anyhow)?
BSD: Many fans have been very pleased with the Chambers hire. He's easy to like with his positive attitude and energetic personality. His team has really upped the intensity on the court compared to years past by playing hard-nosed basketball for 40 minutes. Despite their offensive woes, they never quit, and it makes fans easier to get behind them.
I don't think Chambers' BU connection adds anything to this game. The SJU game was his homecoming (he's a Philadelphia native), as he had roughly 75 family members there. That obviously didn't give PSU any extra edge in any way.
BCI: With controversy surrounding the Penn State football program, has this had any impact on the hoops program? Other programs at Penn State?
BSD: I don't think so. After that first week of total shock all throughout campus and State College, normalcy has returned. I feel like that sounds like I'm dismissing the situation, which I promise I'm not. But strictly in regards to the basketball team, I don't think it is having an impact any more.
BCI: Last one. Prediction time. Who ya got in this one? What's the final score?
BSD: I'll be a homer and take PSU. I might be putting too much stock into some of BC's scores, but it's impossible to overlook that 36 point home loss to UMass. It's going to be an ugly game. I'll say PSU 55-50.