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PSU Men's Hoops Accepts Post-Season Tournament Spot

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This morning PSU has officially accepted a spot in the Big Ten basketball tournament. After an 0-6 start to the conference season there had been speculation as to whether or not PSU would be invited to the tournament, or would their opponent simply be granted a bye. With a 6-6 finish to the conference schedule, PSU has found themselves in the 10th seed, facing Minnesota on Thursday at 6:30. PSU has no scheduled games following Thursday's game, but that doesn't mean that their season will necessarily be over by 9pm three days from now.

With the out of conference portion of the season behind this team as well as the regular season conference games in the rear view, the only season this PSU team has left is the post-season. Will this season end on Thursday night, with only one game having been played? Or will the season continue on for this team past the third game of the year against Minnesota?

While it is mathematically possible for this team to play ten more games, the most likely outcome, on paper, is that PSU's hoops season will be over on Thursday. Should this team lose its last two games, both to Minnesota, it would be a kick in the teeth or balls where applicable. We can all agree that should this team lose on Thursday, the season is over literally and figuratively.

But say PSU wins on Thursday, would they create an NIT birth in doing so? Yes, in fact, should PSU beat Minnesota than that would mean that Minnesota would be likely heading to the NIT. PSU would still need a couple more wins to hope for the NIT, in most scenarios.

Most people would agree that a loss against Minnesota would leave a bad taste in our mouths for the off-season, and that a win against Minnesota would be a positive. At the very least, it would mean that PSU's post-season would be two more games. Should they lose the second game of the Big Ten tournament to Wisconsin, it is most likely that PSU's season would end on Friday. That would give PSU a losing record for the season, and while that doesn't technically eliminate them from contention for an NIT or CBI bid, it makes it almost impossible. So it's pretty clear that this years' team will need to win two more games in order for the season to continue past Friday.

So what if they do win two more games? While it is unlikely that PSU will beat Minnesota and then follow that up with a win over Wisconsin, let's explore those scenarios. Two wins would mean PSU would be one of only four Big Ten teams standing on Saturday morning. Two wins would mean the post-season would be at least 3 games long. Two wins would get PSU over .500 for the season, and open the door to the NIT. They would not be a lock for the NIT, but they would have a shot with two more wins. Also, if this team plays three more games instead of the most likely outcome, one more game, the Big Ten tournament may prove to be their 'NIT' or their 'Big Dance'. If this team plays three more games, and then does not get selected for any further post-season, it would be nice for the fans to really enjoy those three games. Nothing is promised past that point.

Then you have the possibility of PSU going to the Big Ten final and losing. This scenario would give us 4 more PSU hoops games this season, an NIT birth, and a great feeling going in to next season. It is a pipe-dream scenario right now, more so than hoping for two wins, so we may as well keep it in the dream drawer for now, much like winning the Big Ten tourney. We all know what would happen if those things happened. Happy times.

So what will it be for this team? One more game...two? Three more and no NIT? Three Big Ten conference games and then four more in the NIT, 7 games total remaining on this team's plate? Could this team have ten more games remaining? That is the least possible outcome...that PSU get to the Big Ten tourney championship and lose, get the 'play in' bid for the NCAA tournament, and then run the table. That's ten games, and if you think this could happen than you need to be committed. Not committed in a sense of dedication, but more in the sense of a mental hospital.

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