Penn State’s blowing a 19-point lead in its 59-56 loss to Rutgers on Sunday proved to be very consequential in its hopes to gain at an at-large NCAA tournament bid as they dropped from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s first four teams out to the next four teams out category.
Penn State is in the next four out, along with Utah State, Charleston, and Texas Tech. The first four teams out are North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Clemson, and Michigan.
Lunardi has Mississippi State, Boise State, Wisconsin, and Arizona State as the last four teams in the tournament.
Wisconsin is one of the last four teams in the tourney despite having a 16-12 record, and like Penn State, it is 8-10 in the Big Ten largely because the Badgers swept the season series against Penn State, which strengthened its case for a tournament bid.
Penn State will have an opportunity to gain two quad-one victories to end the regular season as it will play the second and third-best teams in the Big Ten. First, on Wednesday when it will travel to Northwestern, who is 20-9 overall, and 11-7 in the Big Ten conference, and then on Sunday, it will play Maryland, also 20-9 and 11-7 in the Big Ten at the Bryce Jordan Center to end the regular season.
Penn State is currently 11th in the Big Ten, and if the season ended today, it would be playing against Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, which starts next Wednesday in Chicago.