Now that we know Penn State’s full schedule for this upcoming season, we have a more accurate picture of what the Lions need to do in order to advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.
The way the Big Ten sets up this season, there are very few gimmies on the schedule, but there are very few unbeatable teams as well. Outside of road games against Purdue and Michigan State, Penn State has many opportunities to pick up some wins. Out of Penn State’s two plays, Nebraska and Ohio State, figure to be worse than the Nittany Lions this season, and Penn State has been competitive with Iowa, Maryland, and Northwestern over the past few years.
Penn State’s toughest games of the season would have been against Purdue and Michigan State regardless of where the games were played. Playing them on the road may actually be a blessing in disguise, as it opened up opportunities for home games against more manageable teams. Wisconsin is a team that will need to replace all but one starter this season, and Minnesota was actually on a four-game losing streak to the Lions prior to their victory at the Barn. Those two are still projected to be top-half teams in the Big Ten this season, and Penn State gets them at home.
So given the schedule, how many wins do you think Penn State needs to make the tournament this season?