Penn State vs. Temple NIT Preview

Story posted March 14, 2018 in CommRadio, Sports by Patrick Murphy

Joe Skinner, Aiden Bitterman, and Dylan Huberman break down Penn State's opening round NIT matchup against Temple: 

 

 

After being left out of the NCAA Tournament field of 68, the Penn State Nittany Lion Men’s Basketball team takes on the Temple Owls at the Bryce-Jordan Center in the first round of the NIT.

After losing a couple of games down the stretch that could have put the Nittany Lions in serious tournament contention, Pat Chambers is going to have an interesting task in getting his team up to play in the consolation tournament.

The Nittany Lions finished the season with a record of 21-13, three Quadrant 1 wins, and one of the top teams in Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” section of the bubble. The Nittany Lions defeated NCAA Tournament No. 5 seed Ohio State, but those were their only Quadrant 1 wins. To make matters worse, they virtually canceled those wins out with three losses against teams in the bottom two quadrants. Had the Nittany Lions managed to finish one of the close Purdue games with a win, or beat Michigan, or even Nebraska, they may have finished in a very different spot. The home loss to Rider surely did not help either.

If the Nittany Lions were to wind up with an opponent that could create an intriguing NIT clash, it would be the Temple Owls. The Owls come into the NIT with a 17-15 record, after finishing No. 7 in the American Athletic Conference.

Temple University is located in Philadelphia, a Penn State pipeline city. The Nittany Lions roster has a host of players from the area, most notably Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, and Shep Garner, all in the normal starting lineup.

Beyond the connections, the Penn State roster has to Temple’s city, a large portion of the student body hail from there as well. Penn State’s Philly students likely have a friend or two who attend Temple which could make this game personal for a lot of people.

On the court, the most entertaining individual matchup will likely be Temple Forward Obi Enechionyia against Lamar Stevens. Enechionyia stands a bit taller than Lamar Stevens, but the two are very similar players. Both have a good mid-range game, with a good deal of versatility. Both have great physical strength but expect Lamar Stevens to try to bring Enechionyia outside to guard him. Stevens has a bit of an athletic advantage and is all around a better player than Enechionyia, so expect him to come out and try to dominate this matchup. The winner of this individual matchup plays a big hand in deciding the outcome of the game.

Another interesting matchup to keep an eye on is the potential matchup between Tony Carr and Shizz Alston Jr. The two will likely wind up on each other defensively and may be familiar with each other as both come from Philadelphia and are only a year apart. Alston is a quick guard with some good athletic ability, similar to Tony Carr, though Carr tends to be more methodical in his approach. If Alston can hold his own against Carr it will be a big boost to Temple’s chances of coming out of Happy Valley victorious.

There are no obvious mismatches either way, but this wouldn’t be true if Mike Watkins were on the floor. He would be able to dominate center Ernest Aflakpui, but isn’t available to do so. While a tough break for the Nittany Lions, it should make for a tighter game.

 

Patrick Murphy is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email pqm5315@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Dylan Huberman's photo

Dylan Huberman

Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism

Dylan Huberman is a contributor for ComRadio, co-host of the NFL talk show “The Point After” with Tyler King, and also makes regular appearances for PSNtv’s “Penn State Sports Night.” Nicknamed “Hot-take Huberman” by ComRadio’s own George Stockburger, Dylan is known for his fiery, outside-the-box style of sports analysis. One day, Dylan hopes to make it onto television as a sports analyst or play-by-play announcer, but is very interested in sports radio as well. Follow him on Twitter @dylan_huberman or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Joe Skinner's photo

Joe Skinner

Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism

Joe is a sophomore from South Riding, VA majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Political Science.  Joe has play-by-play experience in football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and softball, as well as experience in beat writing for many other Penn State sports.  You can hear Joe on Turning Two, CommRadio’s only MLB show, as well.  Joe has hosted and been featured in Game Preview podcasts for football and basketball, Around the Big Ten podcasts for football and basketball, as well as other CommRadio podcasts and production roles.  Joe is interested in broadcasting play-by-play for a national television or radio network in football, basketball, or baseball.  To contact Joe, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Patrick Murphy's photo

Patrick Murphy

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Patrick Murphy writes and does play by play for ComRadio, covering a variety of sports. He will look to get more play by play experience and eventually host a talk show.