Earlier this year we asked the simple question — can Patrick Chambers save his job along with Penn State basketball? On Feb. 4 we got the answer, as Penn State lost at home 70-68 to Rutgers.
This was the same Rutgers team that blew a nine-point lead to a horrifically bad shooting Wisconsin team just a week ago. It’s also the same team that spanked by an Iowa team without Peter Jok earlier this week.
If we were to believe the preseason hype from Chambers and Co. at Penn State, this team was the best collection of talent the Nittany Lions have ever had. Yet, that same collection is producing the same underwhelming results that have become the hallmark of the Chambers era.
So, why was a two-point loss to Rutgers telling? It was telling because these are two teams with the same hope of showing they are an improving and quality team. Only Rutgers has the victory to show they are the ones moving forward this season.
Even those who don’t believe the sky is falling in Happy Valley recognize something needs to change. In fact, most are arguing not about Chambers, but over just who would want the Penn State job.
Sure, you could fire Pat Chambers, but then who are you going to get?
— MYERS (@2112marc) February 4, 2017
While it is an interesting question, the reality is that college basketball is full of great coaches looking for a chance.
Penn State just needs to look at the guy who coached Rutgers to a win at the Bryce Jordan Center for all the proof they need. After all, Steve Pikeill wasn’t exactly a household name, but he has transformed Rutgers in to a team that plays tough defense and is actually competitive overnight.
That’s what a coach with new energy and some talent to tap in to can do. No one should be suggesting there isn’t talent to tap in to at Penn State, because it is clearly there.
Getting talent to Happy Valley is great, but Chambers hasn’t done a thing with said talent once it has gotten to Penn State.
So far he has one postseason tournament appearance, making the 2014 CBI tournament. That’s not exactly what should be expected from a Big Ten program, even if it is one that doesn’t have a great basketball tradition to build off of.
Chambers has been given five years already and year six is proving to be just as bad as the previous five. At some point it is time to realize when things aren’t working out.
Rutgers at home should be a winnable game, no matter how improved the Scarlet Knights are by year six of your coaching tenure.
Some will point to early-season success as a sign that there are signs of hope for the future. There’s just one problem with that — those wins are far from the meaningful ones you thought they were at the time.
The earlier win over then No. 24 Minnesota has proven to be a “so what” kind of win as the Gophers sit at 3-6 entering their Saturday contest at Illinois. The Michigan State win? Well, MSU is proving to be a shadow of its national title contender self from most years.
The harsh reality is that Penn State is who it is at this point under Chambers — a mediocre team at best, and an underachieving team with Philly talent to tap in to at worst.
Chambers got his foot in the door of the Philly recruiting game and that is a huge step forward for Penn State, he just can’t get said talent to produce consistent victories for him.
Rutgers wasn’t the straw that broke Chambers’ back, it was just the latest sample of what isn’t working in Happy Valley.
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