Penn State vs. Youngstown State Odds, Pick, Betting Prediction: Will Brand-New Nittany Lions Struggle to Find Offense?
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Dread.
- Penn State is a huge favorite over Youngstown State in college basketball action on Wednesday night.
- The Nittany Lions have a new coach, and a whole host of new faces who may need some time to adjust.
- D.J. James breaks down his bet for PSU vs. Youngstown State below.
Youngstown State vs. Penn State Odds
|Youngstown State Odds|
-109o / -112u
|Penn State Odds|
-109o / -112u
With the resignation of head coach, Pat Chambers, the Penn State Nittany Lions are led by Micah Shrewsberry.
Penn State will likely be cellar dwellers in the Big Ten with a robust top of the conference. As for its Wednesday opponent, Youngstown State, the Penguins will likely have yet another down year in the Horizon League. They enter the season ranked 290th, according to KenPom.
Penn State should win this game outright, but the spread is not the angle to look at here.
Youngstown State finished 15-12 after a heartbreaking loss in the Horizon League Tournament to Oakland in overtime.
The Penguins lose Naz Bohannon and Darius Quisenberry, who were their top two scorers. Their offense should be anchored by returning duo Garrett Covington and Shemar Rathan-Mayes, along with the additions of Dwayne Cohill (Dayton), Tevin Olison (University of the Cumberlands, NAIA) and Chris Shelton (Hampton).
That said, Youngstown State will still be amongst the worst teams in Division I.
The Penguins only averaged 66.6 points per game last season, and their schedule was not necessarily robust.
In addition, losing both Bohannon and Quisenberry leaves a massive hole in their offensive capabilities, which explains the drop-off from a 246th ranking in KenPom last year to their present state.
Covington and Rathan-Mayes were Youngstown’s best regulars from behind the arc, but they only shot 34.1% and 33.9%. This would explain why the Penguins ranked 296th in offensive 3-point percentage.
They do bring back a big who can crash the glass in Michael Akuchie (8.3 rebounds per game), but Bohannon also accounted for 8.2 rebounds per game.
The Penguins ranked 59th overall in offensive rebounding percentage, so losing yet another integral part of their offense could definitely hinder their scoring capabilities, where it would not last season. Likely, Youngstown ends up scoring far less on its second-chance opportunities.
Penn State lost its offensive quarterback in Jamari Wheeler to Ohio State Buckeyes via the transfer portal. Wheeler averaged 3.2 assists per game last season and even ranked third on the team with 4.2 rebounds per game.
Izaiah Brockington also left for Iowa State after averaging 4.9 rebounds last season.
The depth here is questionable, although Shrewsberry did add some pieces from the transfer portal. The Nittany Lions will feature many new faces this season: Jalen Pickett (Siena), Jaheam Cornwall (Gardner-Webb), Greg Lee (Western Michigan), Jevonnie Scott (South Plains College, Junior College) and Jalanni White (Canisius).
It will take some time for all of these different faces to mold together to form a cohesive unit.
Pickett is someone to keep tabs on because he did everything for Siena last year. He averaged 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. The number that seems most noteworthy in terms of transitioning to the Big Ten is his 2.4 turnovers per game, which is something to be cognizant of as we get into Big Ten play.
Penn State also lost Myreon Jones and Trent Buttrick, who accounted for much of their 3-point attack. This will likely move Penn State’s already poor 2020-21 33.8% 3-point percentage down a peg.
Look for Cornwall and Myles Dread to jump into the role of go-to, late-game, long-range options.
Youngstown State vs. Penn State Betting Pick
It looks like both of these teams will take a significant step back in the 2021-22 season.
Penn State’s rebuilding squad will take some time to mesh, having lost too much firepower on the perimeter to recover immediately. The Nittany Lions also will take time to figure out if Pickett can be an effective point guard or whether he turns the ball even more than he did at a lower level.
Penn State is also going to struggle rebounding when John Harrar leaves the floor.
Youngstown State has similar issues, though, having lost its best two offensive weapons. The Penguins still look strong on the perimeter, but they will have the same issues crashing the glass as the Nittany Lions when their main big man (Akuchie) is off the court.
Each team will probably only get one chance to score per possession due to the rebounding issues, which would lean me toward the under. Until the myriad of transfers and new additions proves themselves, it will take a while for both teams to discover their identity.
A slow start in this one should set the pace.
Pick: Under 150.5 (-110, play to 145.5)
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