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Penn State Basketball: Chambers Feels Closer to Turning Corner as Season Rolls On

by on January 22, 2013 6:36 AM

A walk-on, a former walk-on, two freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and a senior have made up Penn State basketball's basic rotation over the past five or so games.

Playing in what is likely the best conference in America hasn't given the Nittany Lions many nights off, and while there is no doubting the effort or emotion behind a 14-man roster that includes nine underclassmen, there is an understanding that the road ahead isn't paved with many favorable matchups.

Even so, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers has marched ahead, coaching his team to be as he describes, "the best team we can be by the end of the year." Where some may fixate on the winless conference record, Chambers is focused on the little things, the sorts of things that will help his team turn a corner.

"We get knocked down, we've got to get back up," Chambers said. "We've got to keep working and keep fighting, it's that simple. There is no magic formula. We're in games, there are just these little stretches.

"We've got to get over the hump. We're close, I'm telling you I can feel it. Does that mean Wednesday? I don't know. Does that mean Saturday? I don't know. But we're close, we've just got to keep a clear head and minimize distractions."

According to KenPom.com, a basketball statistics website which rates teams on the basis of numbers generated through a series of formulas, the Nittany Lions have a 1 percent chance of winning Wednesday night at No. 7 Indiana (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten). However, KenPom has been wrong before. Already this season, Winthrop knocked off Ohio despite the Bobcats being a 98 percent favorite.

Penn State fell to Indiana at home earlier this month. The Nittany Lions were outscored 44-27 by halftime, but a multi-pronged Hoosier attack was held to 30 points in the second half, only outscoring Penn State by six. The Hoosiers are not far removed from Penn State's situation, going 3-15 in conference play in 2010-11 and 4-14 in 2009-10.

"Look, Indiana is a great team," Chambers said. "We've got to play like we did against them in the second half to give ourselves a chance. We've got to go and have some fun, we worked on our stuff today, we'll work on Indiana tomorrow. It's another chance for us to get a win, another chance for us to get a win against a Top 25 team, there are so many positives about this game and that has got to be our mindset. That's what it's going to be as long as I'm the coach here."

And in the end, it's the only attitude the Nittany Lions can have.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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