The second edition of Monday Morning Question-Back is going to examine the chances that both the men's and women's basketball teams have for extending their respective seasons.
As all good gentlemen do, I'll allow the ladies to start although we won't know their exact path of games until next Monday night when the women's NCAA Tournament bracket is released. The women had a stellar regular season, going 25-5 which included a 14-2 mark in the Big Ten. That regular season included Maggie Lucas and Coquese Washington taking top playing and coaching honors in the conference as well as Alex Bentley winning the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award. However, for the third time in as many years, the Lady Lions failed to win the Big Ten Tournament as a top-2 seed, falling to fourth-seeded Michigan State in this year's semifinals.
There has been nothing but improvement in the postseason in the Coquese era, ranging from an NIT exit to the second round of NCAAs two years ago to a Sweet Sixteen loss to Connecticut last season. Obviously, Penn State's placement in the bracket will play a huge role in their advancement in the Big Dance, where they should receive nothing lower than a 3-seed, but for our first question:
1. Without knowing the path of how they will get there, how far should/will the Lady Lions advance in the NCAA Tournament this year?
Now, we move onto the men who have looked like a completely different team over the second part of the season. The guys ended the regular season yesterday with a heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin on Traevon Jackson's buzzer-beating three which prompted all of Nittany Nation to want to wipe Bo Ryan's smirk right off of his face.
But, in their last four games, the Lions are 2-2, many would argue they should be 3-1, and have played their toughest, most aggressive basketball of the year. Jermaine Marshall and DJ Newbill have been playing like one of the best backcourts in the conference and Sasa Boravnjak and Ross Travis have both been consistent contributors in the scorebook in points and rebounds, respectively.
I can guarantee that no Big Ten team wants to see these guys this week in Chicago. And Pat Chambers doesn't have the team hoping things will end so soon.
Pat Chambers: "Call me crazy–and I know you have–but I don't want this season to end."— Chad Markulics (@Chad_Markulics) March 10, 2013
Unfortunately for Michigan, they will see Penn State for the third time in the past month in the first round on Thursday, which leads us to our second question:
2. Will the men continue to make waves in this week's Big Ten Tournament or will they bow out early?
Bonus: With so many good teams in the conference, who takes home the tourney title?
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