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THEY’RE IN: Penn State Selected as 10-Seed for NCAA Tournament

At long last, the Nittany Lions are back in the Big Dance!

Penn State is finally heading back to the Big Dance in just year two of the Micah Shrewsberry era. On the strength of a 22-13 record, the Nittany Lions have been selected for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. Penn State will play on Thursday, tipping off with 7-seed Texas A&M as part of the Midwest region.

It was quite the ride to get there - at times hopeful and joyous, at times filled with despair and frustration, sometimes bouncing wildly back and forth - just as we’d come to expect for any long-time Penn State Basketball fans.

An 11-3 start sent waves of optimism for a tourney bid through Nittany Nation, as the team picked up quality victories in non-conference play and a 2-1 start in the Big Ten which included a victory over then- No. 17 Illinois. A 1-3 stretch following the hot start sowed doubt, but victories against Nebraska and Michigan seemed to help the team right the ship as they stood at 14-7 at the halfway point of conference play.

The wheels then seemed to fall off, as the Nittany Lions lost four straight, with second half lulls occurring with alarming frequency. It looked as though Penn State would be settling for yet another NIT berth...

However, as quickly as things seemed to be sinking, they were just as quick to make things right. A hot shooting night against Illinois kicked off a 5-1 stretch to end the regular season. The Nittany Lions especially proved their mettle in the final two games of the season. As they found themselves on the slipperiest of footing atop the bubble, Penn State found a way to earn gritty back-to-back victories against ranked opponents, first an improbable overtime win at Northwestern, followed by a Senior Day instant classic comeback victory over Maryland. Both times the team made the right plays when they needed them the most to clinch two season-defining victories.

The round one Big Ten Tournament victory against Illinois heavily solidified their place in the NCAA Tournament - hopefully, the first of many of the Micah Shrewsberry era. Penn State then controlled the game in upsets over two-seed Northwestern and four-seed Indiana, demonstrating not just that they belonged - but that they’re battle tested and prepared to do some damage this March.

It was quite the ride to get here. Check back for more coverage as Penn State prepares to face Texas A&M on Thursday.