Bracketology: Charting Penn State's Predicted NCAA Seed

By Craig Fritz on February 6, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Penn State forwards John Harrar and Lamar Stevens
RLR Staff

It feels weird, I know.

But the reality is, barring a complete and utter collapse, Penn State is going to make the NCAA basketball tournament for the first time since 2011. In fact, according to The Bracket Project's Bracket Matrix, the Nittany Lions are one of 35 teams to be in all 99 predictive brackets.

So we're not worried about being in the field, but rather where the Lamar Stevens and company will be seeded come Selection Sunday. We should get a bit of a preview of how the selection committee views the team this weekend. There will be an unveiling of the committee's top-16 teams through this point in the season on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on CBS. Penn State's big home game against Minnesota will not factor into those first rankings with the game tipping off at 4:00 p.m. on BTN.

Until then, we can only deal with the data before us. The Lions are slotted as high as a 3 seed by Haslametrics, which is an outlier but a fun one. He currently ranks Penn State as the No. 11 team in the nation. Some information about his model:

  • Projections shown utilize the time-dependent ratings displayed above.
  • Estimates are more heavily predicated on current wins/losses, not overall strength or margins of victory.
  • Projections below will only be updated through Selection Sunday.

The lowest seed, which is also a bit of an outlier, is an 8 seed by If you're wondering about the credentials of these sites, the Bracket Project can also help clear that up. They rank the brackets included in the matrix by tiers. Haslametrics is a Tier 1 (3+ years in the matrix, above average model), while RealTimeRPI is a Tier 3 (3+ years in the matrix, below average model). 

Nearly everyone else has the Lions on the 4/5/6 line, which has to absolutely delight Penn State fans, especially considering none of these factor in the Lions' big win over Michigan State on Tuesday night in East Lansing. Some of the bigger names here include:

  • Joe Lunardi/ESPN - 6 seed vs. Florida in Albany (last updated 2/4)
  • Jerry Palm/CBS - 4 seed vs. Liberty in Sacramento (last updated 2/3)
  • Chris Dobbertean/SBNation - 5 seed vs. Furman in Sacramento (last updated 2/4)
  • Tim Krueger/Stadium - 5 seed vs. Liberty in Albany (last updated 2/4)
  • Andy Katz/ - 6 seed vs. Northern Iowa in Albany (last updated 2/3)
  • Mike DeCourcy/FOX Sports - 5 seed vs. Furman (last updated 2/3)
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