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Penn State First Four Out in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology

Penn State Basketball Coach Micah Shrewsberry
ANN ARBOR, MI - JANUARY 04: Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Micah Shrewsberry reacts to an official’s call during the first half of a Big Ten conference regular season college basketball game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan Wolverines on January 4, 2023 at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State men’s basketball’s NCAA Tournament hopes are still alive.

But as of now, ESPN’s Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the team among the First Four Out.

Coach Micah Shrewsberry’s program wasn’t on Lunardi’s bubble 10 days ago.

In that span, PSU beat Illinois at home and followed that up with wins at Minnesota Saturday and Ohio State Thursday. Getting more advanced, Penn State’s NET ranking is No. 56. Penn State is 4-6 against quadrant 1 teams. The most recent win Thursday at Ohio State. Although Ohio State is 11-17 overall and 3-14 in the Big Ten, the combination of Ohio State’s NET ranking (71), and Penn State’s win being on the road makes Ohio State a “quadrant 1 win.” For people who are confused— and there are a few— any win at home against a top 30 NET team is a quadrant 1 win. A win at a neutral site can be quad 1 if its against a team in the top 50. A road win falls into the category if its against a top 75 team.

Penn State’s three-game win streak is the longest one its been in this season. But team still has work to do to get into the tournament. Penn State is at the top of Lunardi’s First Four Out, joined by Utah State, North Carolina and Charleston. Penn State has three games left. All of them are against quadrant 1 opponents. The last week of Penn State’s regular season starts Sunday at 6:30 against Rutgers— ranked No. 37 in the NET,— at the Bryce Jordan Center. PSU then plays at Northwestern (No. 39) on the first night of March, and ends its regular season at home against Maryland (No. 23) Sunday, March 5.

PSU hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2011. It hasn’t won a tournament game since 2001. This could be quite a March for Penn State fans.

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