“Climb with Us” has been the battle cry of Penn State Men’s Basketball for the last few years, and it has definitely been an uphill climb. The team has not been in the NCAA tournament since 2011, and they haven’t won a game in the tournament since 2001. Patrick Chambers has assembled a team that has plenty of strengths, and this team is doing some unprecedented things.
Penn State has one of the most impressive resumes in the country. They have defeated Georgetown, Michigan, and Michigan State on the road, as well as defeating Iowa, Syracuse, Maryland, and Ohio State at home in the Bryce Jordan Center. This team has proved they can respond from plenty of negatives.
Penn State blew a 21-point lead against Ole Miss, but they found a way to win their next two games, which included a huge win against Syracuse. Ohio State obliterated Penn State 106-74, yet Penn State bounced back with a 14-point win against OSU just a month later. Penn State also had a poor three-game losing streak, but, even then, they found a way to respond, and they have since rattled off 6 straight wins. This team has found a way to evolve and grow, and they have benefited from this year’s unique college-basketball landscape.
There is no one powerhouse this year in Men’s College Basketball. While San Diego State is the lone undefeated team left, they aren’t even #1 in the country. The top-10 features plenty of surprise teams that fan haven’t recently seen that high including SDSU, Dayton, Seton Hall, and Florida State. The top-25 features plenty of teams with six, seven, and even eight losses. Simply put, it’s anyone’s title this year. Penn State’s best season this millennium has fallen during a time where the college landscape is the most equal it has been in a long time.
Penn State has been regarded as one of the best football schools in the country, but they have little to no acclaim when it comes to basketball success. Just this weekend, Penn State had a sold-out, white-out game, which is huge for this program, and they earned six-point win against Minnesota in front of their loyal fans. As of now, ESPN has Penn State at #13 in the country in the AP Top 25. It is impossible to describe just how important this is for this growing program.
For a program that hasn’t been in the “Big Dance” since 2011, Penn State has continued to smash barriers over recent history. They won the NIT Tournament just a few seasons ago, and they are essentially a lock for the NCAA Tournament this year. Lamar Stevens could be an NBA-draft pick – the first since former teammate Tony Carr – and this team has plenty of studs that can contribute. Watch out for this team. They have plenty to prove to the world, and they are just going to continue to climb towards a championship.