INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 13: Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drives in the first half against Jeff Brooks #25 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the championship game of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
And now we wait.
Penn State had a chance to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament against Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament championship game Sunday afternoon, but four wins in four days proved a task to tall for the Nittany Lions as they fell 71-60. It was a result most expected, but given Penn State's run to even be in position to win the tournament, it's one most fans should be able to live with.
The Lions will now await their fate in the at-large pool as the NCAA Tournament selection committee decides whether or not they belong in the Big Dance. The selection show is set for 6:00 P.M. on CBS, and the bracket will be revealed shortly thereafter. Most projections have Penn State in the tournament, but you never know what can happen.
The two teams played a tightly contested game in the first 20 minutes. The Buckeyes took a six point lead into halftime on a buzzer beater triple by Penn State killer Jon Diebler. After the break, though, it was all Ohio State. The Buckeyes found their shooting stroke and never looked back.
Talor Battle finished off an up-and-down tournament with 24 points and five rebounds. Jeff Brooks cracked double figures as well, finishing with 19 points while grabbing six boards. Beyond those two, the Penn State offense was limited, at least in the first half and early second half when the game was truly on the line.
- Battle had to be gassed out there but he finished the tournament strong and established some momentum heading into whatever tournament Penn State ends up in. He probably could have been a little more efficient shooting the ball, but given the lack of creativity from most of his teammates, the questionable shot selection at times is understandable.
- Brooks had been inconsistent on offense throughout the tournament, but he seemed to find his stroke as well and was more aggressive in finding his shot. If Penn State is going to make any kind of a deep run, it's going to need him playing like he did today.
- Penn State got beat on the glass, but given the pounding the Lions' bigs had taken the three previous days, they hung in there with a deeper, fresher Buckeye team respectably.
Tim Frazier ran into foul trouble in the first half and then made it worse by picking up his third and fourth fouls early in the second half. Penn State needed him and he wasn't on the floor. It's unfortunate, but sometimes, you've got to remember he is just a sophomore despite the more veteran player he's looked like for much of the latter half of the season, he's going to make mistakes like that.
- David Jackson and Andrew Jones were no-shows offensively once again. That pair had a terrible tournament on that side of the ball, and it's amazing Penn State accomplished what it did without them consistently making contributions. Again, without them, Penn State probably doesn't strangle its first three opponents like it did on defense, but at least Jackson has to get hot for the Lions to be dangerous in the tournament.
- Penn State didn't accomplish much of anything on the offensive glass. It also didn't force many turnovers. Without those extra chances, it's no surprise Penn State's efforts fell short. One or none-and-done every time will get you beat often this time of year.
- Most are saying Penn State is in the tournament field, but the uncertainty after what has been a roller coaster of emotions the last few days has to be tough for Penn State fans. A win would have made the selection show much more bearable.
- Ohio State just won the regular and postseason Big Ten championships.
- Dallas Lauderdale is still awful.