This past weekend, your Nittany Lions defeated Northwestern 77-61. With that win, the Lions have all but locked up a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Lions are riding an eight-game winning streak, which has propelled them into the top 15, and perhaps even the top 10. This is the fastest any Penn State team has ever reached 20 wins in a season, and they’re not done yet.
At this point, the question becomes seeding, for both the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
First, the B1G Tournament. The Lions currently sit #2 in the conference, one game behind the Maryland Terrapins. PSU in turn has a 1.5 game lead over the next three teams, and so will need to continue its winning ways if it wants to secure a coveted top-four seed. A team in the top four of the conference receives a double-bye to start tournament play, meaning they need to win just three games to take home the crown.
Second, the NCAA Tournament. While it’s unlikely the Lions climb all the way to a 2-seed, even being somewhere around a 3-seed or 4-seed greatly reduces the difficulty to get past the first round, and push for a Sweet 16 berth. A higher seed would also help bracket-makers in terms of which teams play where, giving the Lions a better chance at playing close to home. Some driveable destinations include Cleveland, Albany, and if they do well in the tourney, locations like Madison Square Garden in New York.
How the team plays over the remaining schedule will change their seeding for both tournaments. But for now, it doesn’t really matter.
Screw it Dude, let’s go