Game: Hampton (18-12, 13-3 MEAC) at Penn State (15-17, 6-12 Big Ten)
Date: March 19, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
It’s not the tournament that a team dreams about at the start of the college basketball season, it’s not even the NIT, but it is postseason basketball. The Penn State Nittany Lions made the 16-team field in the College Basketball Invitational and will hose a first-round game on Wednesday night against the Hampton Pirates.
Penn State is just one of three teams from a power conference that’s in the tournament. Besides Texas A&M and Oregon State, the field is made of schools from smaller conferences.
The Nittany Lions had a disappointing season, winning just six conference games and finishing 10th in the Big Ten. They were bounced in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament by the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
On Wednesday Penn State gets a chance to at least have a better end to the 2013-14 season. The game also provides fans with another opportunity to support the home team and senior guard Tim Frazier.
Penn State has lost two-straight games and has really struggled down low. In their last game, the Nittany Lions got just 12 total points from their post players. Frazier, and especially guard D.J. Newbill have really had to carry the team over the course of the season. Frazier leads the conference in assists and will also leave Penn State with the all-time record in that category. Newbill is the second-leading scorer in the conference, averaging 17.8 points a game.
Hampton, out of the MEAC, enters the matchup with the Nittany Lions after finishing the season with a record of 18-12. The Pirates went 13-3 in the conference, but lost in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. The Pirates are led in scoring by senior forward Du’Vaughn Maxwell. He averages 15.2 points a game and also leads the team in rebounding. Guard Deron Powers is second on the team in scoring with 11.6 points a game and leads the team with 4.1 assists per contest.
This game could be a challenge for the Nittany Lions, as it could we won or lost under the basket. The Pirates enter as one of the better rebounding teams in the country, ranked 27th in that category.
Wednesday’s winner will advance to the quarterfinals on March 24. The semifinals will take place on March 26th with the tournament wrapping up as a best-of-three series on March 31, April 2 and April 4. (if needed).
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