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MMPG: Pick Your Poison

How would you change Penn State’s recently-completed basketball season?

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State Nittany Lions Basketball finished the season 21-10, and 11-9 in the Big Ten. Through tiebreakers, they finished 6th in the conference (although standings-wise it’s a tie for 5th). There have been several discussion topics in the past couple of weeks on the Nittany Lions’ path to their current record. For reference, at the start of the season, most people thought the final regular season record would be close to what it is today. This year, the Lions started the conference season with a split of two top teams, then went on a bit of a losing streak, but an eight-game winning streak saw the Lions at or near the top of the conference for over a month.

Of course, all that success was followed by a limp to the finish, where the team lost five of its last six games. Of those games, the most egregious example was, on senior day, when Penn State held a 15-point halftime lead against Michigan State, only to see it evaporate in the first five minutes of the second half. This bumped the Lions from a potential tie for first place in the conference standings to the place they hold today.

This bring us to today’s question. Without changing their final record, how would you change Penn State’s season to a more pleasant outcome? Here are some options to consider:

  • Leave everything as is. The Lions locked up a bid midway through February and were jockeying for seeding at this point. Bunching all their losses to the end of the season, feels like a number of Iowa teams over the years, but those Iowa teams always knew they were going to the tournament.
  • Struggle early, then finish strong. Mentally that means there’s an aura of positivity for the team, but it’s very likely that they would be playing themselves off the bubble to finish out.
  • Win early, lose late. Last year’s Penn State team comes to mind.
  • Spread the love. Instead of going on any sort of win or lose streak, we spread the wins and losses such that there are no more than two game streaks of any kind.
  • The Rutgers model. Lose all your road games, win all your home games. That means there would be some scrutiny at the end of the season, but also there would be something Penn State would be terribly good at.

What’s your take? Would you take any of the options above or leave it as is?