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MMQB: How Long Must We Wait to see Penn State in the Big Dance?

How much longer until we see Penn State back as part of the madness?

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

There's nothing like watching your team compete for championships. Just look at how captivated we all were by a quarterfinal run in the Big Ten tournament this season. Penn State last found themselves in the NCAA tournament in 2011, after a surge to the Big Ten tournament finals (hey Wisconsin). Despite the fact that they lost to Temple on a Juan Fernandez buzzer beater in the opening game, it was still an impressive run and a fun experience for everyone involved.

Today, we await the third round of the NCAA tournament. Penn State didn't find themselves anywhere near sniffing distance of making the Big Dance this year, but how much longer will it be until they do? Pat Chambers has just been extended until the 2018/2019 season, which will give him ample time to finally coach a team completely full of his own recruits. Will that be what Penn State needs to get over the hump?

Next year, DJ Newbill will be gone. He takes with him an uncanny ability to seemingly score at will, senior leadership and a usually reliable clutch gene. Ross Travis will be gone. He takes with him a strong presence at the defensive end who can match up with anyone on the floor, supreme rebounding ability and a lot of wasted potential on the offensive end.

Coming in to replace that pair, is Penn State's highest rated recruiting class ever. Will Mike Watkins come in and become the big man who can be effective on both ends of the floor that Penn State has been yearning for? Will Josh Reaves be the defensive nightmare for opponents and the offensive swiss army knife that he looks like he could be? Will Deividas Zemgulis be the first truly consistent three point marksman Penn State has had since Talor Battle was patrolling the arc? There are a lot of questions surrounding Penn State basketball next season, and we haven't even touched on the returning players!

Will the Lions have enough in the tank next season to get over their Big Ten blues and earn a place among college basketball's elite come March? Will it take a few more years of infusing more highly rated talent to the roster? Will this team ever get to a place where they can be perennial contenders in the brutal Big Ten and make consistent appearances in the tournament?

How long do you think it will take before Penn State is in the NCAA tournament once again?