Penn State in 2012-13 could easily be the poster child for how individual talent can take you only so far in the game of basketball and in the world of Big Ten basketball as they placed two scorers in the top 6 of the Big Ten scoring rankings, but managed to win only two games in Big Ten play.
The Big Ten season was interesting as they lost 14 straight games to open conference play, yet were not nearly as bad as that record indicated. PSU lost a lot of close games and were also blown out in a lot as well, but as the season grinded on you got the feeling it was only a matter of time before they broke through.
Well, a big time breakthrough came in the late games against Michigan as they nearly won in Ann Arbor and took out the Top 5 ranked Wolverines at home – as the Bryce Jordan Center is quickly becoming a place a lot of the Big Ten hates to play. If it weren't for a buzzer beater by Traevon Jackson the Nittany Lions would've held two wins over top half programs.
Either way things are amazingly looking up moving forward, but 2012-13 is riddled with "what might've been" moments.
How We Predicted Things:
Regular Season Record: 11-19
B1G Record/Finish: 2-16/12th
How It Actually Went Down:
Regular Season Record: 10-20
B1G Record/Finish: 2-16 (12th)
– Pat ourselves on the back for this one after nailing the exact win total and conference finish. Hell, as I sit here at look back at how I saw the schedule playing out on paper to get to our records I see that I missed just one non-conference game (Boston College) and while I missed the two correct wins in the conference portion at least I was able to nail the win total period. This was just one of a handful I nailed to start the season – just wait till we show you what other ones we got right on the money in conference play!!
What Went Right?
After losing 14 straight games to start conference play the Nittany Lions could've packed it in, instead they stayed together, never gave in and went 2-2 to end the Big Ten season. That's really a testament to how good of a coach Pat Chambers is.
They also saw D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall become two of the most prolific scorers in the conference with Newbill and Marshall ranking 5th and 6th respectively in scoring. For a 2-16 team that's impressive as well. It was also impressive to see young Ross Travis' improvement from start to finish in the Big Ten and if he can get more help next season on the defensive side of the ball this could be a sleeper team.
What Went Wrong?
This one is easy. As soon as Tim Frazier went down this team's season was all but over. He was and is their best player and even though he only played four games his 13.6ppg average was good enough to tie for the team lead. That's not a good thing, btw. It means the team as whole couldn't find a way to replace his scoring.
His absence was also felt on the defensive end, along with a lack of a true inside presence led to the Nittany Lions having a -6.6 scoring margin. That's a recipe for disaster to say the least.
Biggest Surprise & Biggest Disappointment:
This one is wrapped up in one because after Tim Frazier went down I thought for sure we'd see a vast improvement from point guard Nick Colella and instead all we got was mediocre improvement to 4ppg and 1.5 assists per game – not exactly confidence instilling numbers. Hell, despite averaging nearly 12 more minutes a game
Quick Look Forward:
The Nittany Lions will get Tim Frazier back and have a decent recruiting class coming in with names like Geno Thorpe and Peyton Banks highlighting this group. However, they look to have the same issues they had a season ago – zero presence down low outside of young Ross Travis and while he was a decent rebounder he didn't scare a lot of foes this past season. His improvement over the next six months will be huge to how far this team can go in 2013-14.