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ESPN Projects Penn State As “Last Team In” NCAA Tournament

Beat Maryland.

Mar 1, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jalen Pickett (22) celebrates guard Camren Wynter (11) game winning shot against the Northwestern Wildcats during overtime at Welsh-Ryan Arena. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After throwing up all over themselves and then slipping on the vomit and giving themselves a concussion against Rutgers, Penn State Basketball picked itself back up and beat Northwestern on the road because this is Penn State freaking Basketball. Vomit-induced-concussions are nothing new for this program. It’s where we live. It’s what we are familiar with.

What Penn State Basketball is not familiar with? Making the NCAA Tournament, with the Nittany Lions’ last appearance coming back in 2011. That streak could be coming to an end because after Penn State righted the ship against Northwestern, they are now back in the tourney, according to ESPN and Joe Lunardi.

The Nittany Lions obviously still have work to do with a home affair against No. 21 Maryland coming this Sunday and the Big Ten Tournament to follow. The prevailing theory/belief/hope is that two wins — one against the Terps and one in the Big Ten tourney — should be enough to get the Nittany Lions dancing so the stakes have not been higher for this program in a very long time. As people joked about on Twitter, last Sunday was the most important game at BJC in years — until this weekend. Because now, the Maryland game is the most important game in years.

The despair that was felt last Sunday following the Rutgers debacle has turned back into hope thanks to that Evan Mahaffey rebound, Andrew Funk pass, and Cam Wynter stroke. Now, it’ll be about cashing in that second chance. Despite spring break starting for Penn State students today, let’s hope the BJC looks like this come 12:00 Sunday.