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Virginia Tech Basketball: Previewing Penn State

A look at what to expect when the Hokies take on the Nittany Lions

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Buzz Williams first season as coach of Virginia Tech has gotten off to an up-and-down start. After winning the first two games of the season, the Hokies dropped the next two, and have now won a pair in a row following Sunday's 83-63 win over a subpar Morgan State. The Hokies will now travel to Penn State Wednesday evening to take on a 6-1 Nittany Lions side who most recently beat Bucknell 88-80 on Friday.

The Nittany Lions are lead by senior guard D.J. Newbill, who has scored at least 22 points in his last five consecutive games. Newbill is now averaging a solid 25 points per game for Penn State through seven games this season. To put that in perspective, the second and third top scorers for the school are freshman guard Shep Garner (10.9 PPG) and junior forward Brandon Taylor (10.4 PPG). Newbill and Garner also are the Nittany Lions top two players in assists, with 3.1 and 1.9 respectively per game.

The Penn State front court is lead by the aforementioned Taylor, and senior forward, Ross Taylor who leads the team in rebounds per game, averaging 7.4. Taylor is second with 6.7, and there again is Newbill, collecting 5.6 rebounds per game, a nice total for a score first guard.

Virginia Tech junior guard Adam Smith moved ahead of freshman Justin Bibbs for the teams scoring lead, averaging 14.3 points per game. Bibbs is now second with 12.2 points, and junior forward Joey Van Zegeren rounds out the top three with 10.8 points per game through six games. Van Zegeren has been the Hokies most effective defensive player, with 6.5 rebounds, and two blocks per game this season.

Devin Wilson is the Hokies facilitator on offense, leading the team with almost six assists per game. If he can get the Virginia Tech offense in sync early the Hokies have a chance to stay with the superior Penn State team. After Newbill the Nittany Lions production on offense drops off at a steep rate. If the Hokies can tighten up on defense and contain Newbill they have a chance to earn a key early season road victory.