Penn State men’s basketball is just barely in the NCAA Tournament according to CBS Sports’ Bracketology.
New bracket, new No. 1 https://t.co/J4ouVZyuL5
— Jerry Palm (@jppalmCBS) January 20, 2023
Coach Micah Shrewsberry’s team is among the eight teams in the First Four, as a 12-seed playing Wake Forest.
Penn State is on the bubble at the moment and looking to make its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2011.
Although making the big dance would be a big milestone for the program regardless of how it happens, a 12-seed would be Penn State’s second-lowest rating of any of the team’s tournament appearances in the modern seeding era. Penn State was a No. 5 seed in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, a No. 7 in 2001 and a No. 10 in 2011. In 1991, Penn State was a 13-seed and upset No. 4 UCLA in the first round before falling to No. 12 Eastern Michigan. Penn State’s 1996 and 2011 tournaments both ended without a win. But the 2001 squad made some noise, making it to the Sweet 16 in a run highlighted by a second-round upset over No. 2 North Carolina.
Of course, this year’s team has to play itself into position to make the tournament. Penn State is 12-6 overall. The team’s had an up-and-down Big Ten season so far, sitting at 3-4. Penn State is coming off a disheartening three-point loss at Wisconsin this past Tuesday night. Saturday’s game against Nebraska at the Bryce Jordan Center is pivotal for Penn State. A win would get Penn State back to .500 in the Big Ten. A loss would be Penn State’s fourth in five games.
There’s still plenty of work for Penn State to do this season. We’ve not yet reached February. Shrewsberry’s squad has 13 games left counting Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
Nonetheless, men’s basketball being projected as a tournament team in late January is something that should excite any Penn State fan for the winter ahead.