Last week I said Penn State (19-5, 9-4) was nearly a lock for the NCAA tournament. Well, following the destruction of Purdue at Mackey Arena on Tuesday night, the Nittany Lions are absolutely making the tourney for the first time since 2011. On The Bracket Project's Bracket Matrix, they've moved from an average projection of a 6 seed to a 4 seed.
Again, timing is a little tough here, because most of the curated brackets were updated PRIOR to the win in West Lafayette. Nevertheless, we move forward with the projections.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Penn State is slotted as high as a 2 seed by Haslametrics, who you'll recall was the outlier on the high side as week as well. The crazy part now is...that's not so crazy. Yes, the Nittany Lions have to maintain this high level of play against some tough teams, but outside of a trip to Iowa, their best opponents are at home. Playing as a 1 or 2 seed in the conference tournament and reaching the final could make this a legitimate possibility.
And also mirroring last week, RealTimeRPI (not linking, garbage) still is the outlier on the low side for Penn State, slotting the Lions on the 8 line, which is frankly absurd. Not a single other bracket has PSU as even a 7 seed.
|seed||# of brackets|
- Joe Lunardi/ESPN - 4 seed vs. North Texas in Sacramento (last updated 2/11)
- Jerry Palm/CBS - 4 seed vs. New Mexico State in Omaha (last updated 2/10)
- Chris Dobbertean/SBNation - 5 seed vs. Wichita State/Arizona State in Albany (last updated 2/11)
- Tim Krueger/Stadium - 5 seed vs. Liberty in Sacramento (last updated 2/10)
- Andy Katz/NCAA.com - 5 seed vs. Stephen F. Austin (last updated 2/11)
- Mike DeCourcy/FOX Sports - 4 seed vs. Liberty (last updated 2/10)
As an added bonus for this week, Penn State is now the favorite for the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament according to Bart Torvik, who runs an extremely cool metrics site. He has the Lions with a 95.6% chance to claim a top-four seed in Indianapolis and a 31.5% chance to win the league title outright.
Please enjoy these blessed times in Penn State basketball. This is a generational team for this program, and they deserve your attention and patronage.