ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s last morning Bracketology projections of this college basketball season are out, and “Joey Brackets” has Penn State basketball as a No. 10 seed playing No. 7 Missouri in Des Moines, Iowa.
If Penn State beats Missouri, it would likely take on second-seeded Texas in the second round.
The top seed in Penn State’s region, the South, is Alabama.
Penn State came into this year’s Big Ten tournament looking to play itself into the “big dance.” It’s done much more than that. Wins over Illinois, Northwestern and Indiana have put Penn State, the Big Ten’s 10th seed, in the conference championship game for the first time since 2011.
Penn State was on the bubble at the end of the regular season, and now is firmly off the bubble, progressing past Lunardi’s “last four byes” category.
2011 was also the last year Penn State made it to the NCAA Tournament. The 10th-seeded Talor Battle-led squad lost in the first round to Temple on a last-second shot by Juan Fernandez.
Penn State hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since it upset second-seeded North Carolina in the second round of the 2001 big dance. Like the 2011 and (potentially) 2023 teams, the boys of ‘01 came into the tournament as the No. 10 seed. The Joe Crispin-led squad beat seventh-seeded Kentucky and Carolina before falling to 11th-seeded Temple in the Sweet 16.
If Penn State ends up being a 10-seed, it would be the third time in four tournament appearances since joining the Big 10 that the team is a No. 10.
The only exception happened in 1996, when Penn State was a No. 5. That year, Penn State got upset by coach Nolan Richardson and No. 12 Arkansas.
Before Penn State basketball can think too much about its seeding, it has to think about being Purdue for its first Big Ten championship. That game is scheduled to tip off at 3:30 ET on CBS.