Wholesale Penn State Nittany Lions Jerseys

Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State Nittany Lions

Coming off a season that ended with a Fiesta Bowl victory and another solid recruiting class in the fold, Penn State looks to continue working hard to prepare for a run at the Big Ten title once again in 2018. That work begins in the spring, with James Franklin and his staff looking to raise the bar and keep their eyes on a few key players that could have a significant impact in the fall.

Whether they are new faces or players looking to fill some big shoes or coming back from an injury, the spring will be a good opportunity to see what these Nittany Lions have in them as Penn State begins to write another chapter in the program’s history.

John Reid, CB

A year ago, Reid was beginning the spring expecting to be a key member of the Penn State defense, but a torn ACL put his 2017 season on ice. Now ready to get back in the swing of things, Penn State will welcome back an experienced starter at defensive back as Reid bounces back from the injury. Reid started 14 games for the Nittany Lions in 2016 and will give them a veteran upperclassman to rely on in a key spot. Don’t be surprised if Penn State keeps his workload a tad lighter when possible though.

Lamont Wade, S

Staying in the defensive backfield, Wade should be watched closely as a strong candidate to fill one of the vacant starting jobs this spring. One of the top cornerback recruits in the Class of 2017 and one of the top players in Pennsylvania, Wade enrolled early at Penn State to get a jump on his college career. Though his playing time in 2017 was as a garbage-time backup, Wade appeared in 12 games and made 31 tackles to get his feet wet. Now, Wade is expected to continue to grow and step foot into a bigger role in the defense. Though he has worked at defensive back, Penn State currently lists him as a safety, but his athleticism and versatility may come in handy.

Miles Sanders, RB

With Saquon Barkley on his way to the NFL, the torch will be passed to Sanders. A junior, Sanders (above, right) has had to wait for his time to shine in the leading role on the ground, but Penn State has taken steps to prepare him for the job, including some more opportunities in the Fiesta Bowl (six carries, 15 yards, TD) in addition to his special teams duties. Sanders may not be Barkley, but he was a five-star recruit and the No. 1-ranked running back in the nation in the Class of 2016, according to 247Sports. This spring will be his chance to prove worthy of carrying the running game this fall.

Zach Kuntz, TE

Not only is Penn State losing a top running back, but the Nittany Lions also have to replace Mike Gesicki at tight end. Jonathan Holland and Nick Bowers each have limited playing experience to build on, but Kuntz was a four-star recruit in this year’s class who enrolled early. By getting to campus now, Kuntz can get right to work this spring and make a push for consideration to jump right into the starting lineup, or at least find a consistent role on offense.

Backup Quarterback

Trace McSorley is going to be the starter for a third straight season, but what happens in the event McSorley gets banged up and has to miss some playing time? As last football season showed, having a reliable backup option can save your season (see: Alabama and the Philadelphia Eagles). So who ends up being the No. 2 guy in State College? This spring could have something to say with that especially with a new offensive coordinator in charge. Tommy Stevens has been used in receiver formations to get him on the field, and Jake Zembiec and Sean Clifford each arrived with some high praise and potential. A strong spring by any of these three could go a long way, and seeing one of these names move on (Stevens or Zembiec) after the spring may not be a shock either.

Wholesale South Carolina Gamecocks Jerseys

South Carolina makes the list of Athlon’s Top 40 Football-Basketball Coaching Duos in college athletics, but just barely.

The tandem of Will Muschamp and Frank Martin enter the list at No. 38, which ranks the Gamecocks as seventh in the Southeastern Conference. Leading the SEC was Alabama, which came in third on the list with Auburn at No. 5 and Kentucky at No. 8.

Muschamp, entering his third season at South Carolina with spring practice starting on Wednesday, brought a formerly 3-9 team to a bowl game in his first year in charge and upped his win total from six to nine in his second year as head coach of the program.

Martin took a team that hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004 and hadn’t won a game in the Big Dance since 1973 to the Final Four last season. The Gamecocks have gotten gradually better each season under Martin and this is likely to be the first year that his team won fewer games than the previous season.

Athlon wrote about South Carolina’s coaching duo:

Muschamp has improved his reputation nationally — which wasn’t great after his struggles at Florida — by guiding South Carolina to a bowl game in 2016 and then a nine-win season in ’17. Martin broke through with a trip to the Final Four in his fifth year at South Carolina — it’s his only trip to the NCAA Tournament at the school — but the Gamecocks will miss the NCAAs this season.

The men’s basketball team, which certainly seems destined for the NIT unless it can win the SEC Tournament next week, hosts LSU for Senior Night on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. Muschamp and the football team begin spring practice on Wednesday at a time still to be announced.

Wholesale Texas Longhorns Jerseys

Texas Longhorns
Texas Longhorns

At some point in the next several months, the Texas Longhorns will receive a visit from Honolulu (Hawai’i) St. Louis defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele:

Though Tuitele hasn’t announced it yet on his Twitter page, there are also multiple reports that he now holds an offer from the Longhorns, which makes sense. Why make the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle visit to receive one?

Tuitele also took a recent trip to Oregon and will visit Oklahoma and LSU — Texas was his third choice on that particular trip.

USC currently has the lead in his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, with Oregon and Alabama also holding picks.

Tuitele is a consensus five-star prospect ranked as the nation’s No. 23 player and the No. 1 player in Hawai’i, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

 

Wholesale Ucla Bruins Jerseys

It’s really pretty simple. UCLA needs a win tonight.

Tonight’s game against Arizona is UCLA’s best chance to pick up a road win against a quality opponent. If the Bruins can pull it off, it will go a long way to helping UCLA get into the NCAA Tournament.

Oh, and, of course, it would definitely improve the Bruins’ chances of winning the Pac-12 regular season title. Right now, they are two games behind the Wildcats and a win would cut that deficit to just one game.

But, if UCLA cannot defeat Arizona, it could be the first game of a long final stretch of the season.
Listen to the Game Here on BN!

This season, we are proud to, again, have today’s audio feed for everyone who opts to use the Tune In player embedded below. For optimum results, start the audio feed then pause your DVR and sync them up together. Personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to do that this afternoon with Bill Walton calling the game, but I get that some of you don’t like listening to him. I think he makes the game more entertaining.

For those who don’t think like me, you can listen here on BN!

Join your fellow fans discussing today’s game below. This is your UCLA Bruins at Arizona Wildcats game thread.

 

Go Bruins!!!

Wholesale Usc Trojans Jerseys

Usc Trojans
Usc Trojans

I don’t think it’s crazy to say that today’s game against the USC Trojans was a must-win for the Bruins. I do think it’s crazy that UCLA is in a position where they have must-win games against USC in basketball, but that’s a story for another day.

The point is, the UCLA Bruins needed a win in the worst way today, and were able to secure victory in a back-and-forth 82-79 victory over the Trojans at Pauley.

This really was a defense-optional game for both teams; the Bruins shot 50.9% (29-57) from the field, and while USC shot a much-lower 42.9%, it should be noted that that came on 70 shots, as the Trojans were able to dominate UCLA on the glass (38-32 rebounding advantage, including 14-7 on the offensive glass) and took advantage of 12 Bruin turnovers, scoring 16 points off of those. For their part, UCLA was able to take advantage from a poor shooting night from distance from the typically-streaky USC shooters (30% on 9-30 attempts from 3) while shooting extremely well from distance on their own end (46.3% on 12-26 shooting). And while USC dominated the paint to the tune of 34-22, UCLA was able to routinely kill the Trojans with a bevy of midrange shots, repeatedly finding the hole in the USC defense for easy looks.

In big games, you want your best players to show up, and that happened for the Bruins. Aaron Holiday led the team with 23 points on 7-10 shooting, including 5-7 from distance as he almost single-handedly willed the Bruins back into the game late in the second half. He also threw in a team-high 9 assists and cleaned up his play in the second half, as he had 3 turnovers by halftime but only 1 the rest of the way. Thomas Welsh, meanwhile, threw in 21 points on 8-15 shooting, and put in the final 5 points for the Bruins, including a 3 while the game was tied at 77, and then hitting two FTs to give the Bruins a 3 point lead with 8 seconds left. Kris Wilkes threw in 13 points of his own, while Jaylen Hands had 9 as both freshman got their first taste of the Crosstown Rivalry. GG Goloman also had a solid game, as he had 9 points and a series of big momentum plays, including 2 monster blocks and a big slam dunk, and the UCLA comeback was keyed in part by replacing Prince Ali with Goloman on the floor.

In fact, if there’s one player that really didn’t play well, it’s Prince Ali. It’s hard to say what’s going on with Ali; since coming back from a knee injury that kept him out all of last year, it’s looked like a struggle for the sophomore for stretches this season and today was no different, as Ali was kept scoreless. Worse, Ali only saw 16 minutes of game time, and those who watched the game may have felt those were 16 minutes too many, as he looked out of sorts while on the court. When he’s on, Ali gives UCLA a solid scoring option, so UCLA’s tournament chances may still rest on getting Ali hot.

Overall, though, this was a competitive game that saw 18 lead changes on top of 12 ties. USC led the majority of the game, and that was the story for most of it, as the Bruins would claw their way back to a 1 point game before USC would extend the lead, but the Bruins finally put things together late. The final minute did see the return of Steve Alford, Tactical Neophyte, as he again chose not to foul USC with 8 seconds left while up 3, leading USC to get off 2 good shot attempts to attempt to tie the game, but luckily USC’s cold shooting from distance held out in the end.

If you’re an optimist, this could be the kind of victory that gets things clicking and leads the Bruins to a late-season run and eventual Steve 16 berth. For pessimists, this may feel like an empty win that does nothing but prolong the inevitable. Either way, a UCLA victory over just$c should feel good, no matter the circumstances.

Aaron Holiday led the Bruins with 23 points, and had a team-high 9 assists. Thomas Welsh led the team in rebounds with 8. Elijah Stewart led the Trojans with 20 points.

3 Takeaways

  1. Player of the Game: Aaron Holiday – Big players play big in big situations, and Holiday had himself a game exactly when the Bruins needed him to. 23 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds showcased what an all-around excellent performance Holiday had, but maybe a better example would be the events in the second half. USC went on a 14-2 run to take a 9 point lead with 8:09 remaining. After a UCLA timeout, Aaron Holiday went on an 8-0 run (with an Alex Olesinski FT thrown in) to tie the game, and a Welsh basket 10 seconds later would give the Bruins the lead. Holiday was not going to be denied a victory in this game.
  2. Point of emphasis: 3-point defense – Don’t let the percentages fool you; UCLA did not do a great job of defending the 3-point line in this game, which might as well be a statement I could say in any UCLA game. USC shot almost 10% lower than they have on the season from distance, but that wasn’t due to increased defensive effort – USC’s 30 3FGAs is a testament to how many open looks UCLA was content to give up, especially when in the zone defense, as USC constantly took advantage of poor weak-side defense. At this point in the season, it’s hard to believe UCLA will ever become decent at defending the three, which means all I can do is just sit here and constantly mention this failure of defense.
  3. Underrated stat of the game: Bench points – Even after watching the game and looking at the stats, the biggest shock for me was that UCLA did not lose the bench points battle to the Trojans. Much was made of USC possessing superior depth to the Bruins, and to be fair 4 UCLA starters were forced to play over 30 minutes (including the entire game for Aaron Holiday) compared to only 2 for the Trojans, but even in limited time, the UCLA bench was able to outscore their rival’s counterparts 16-15. GG Goloman really stepped up when it was recognized how ineffective Ali was going to be, while Chris Smith and Alex O both chipped in a few key baskets. More importantly, the Bruins were able to make gains whenever the USC bench was on the floor, which kept them close enough to make their last push late. Despite everything, UCLA’s bench won their battle, and that was a key difference.

The Bruins now head on the road for their second rivalry game in 2 games, as they take on the Arizona Wildcats for the first and only time in the regular season on Thursday (and again, great job on scheduling there, Pac-12!). Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM PST.