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Micah Shrewsberry: ‘We’re sitting on something special right here’

Penn State’s head basketball coach reflected on the season that was as he prepares for the madness of March.



Micah Shrewsberry
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Micah Shrewsberry yells down court during the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Sunday, March 12, 2023, at United Center in Chicago. Purdue won 67-65. Pupsu031223 Am22045 © Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

STATE COLLEGE, PA — Micah Shrewsberry didn’t mince words when it comes to his team’s chances in the NCAA Tournament. 

“We’re sitting on something special right here,” Shrewsberry said Monday, speaking in a press conference leading up to Penn State basketball’s matchup against Texas A&M Thursday.

After a long weekend in Chicago, Shrewsberry looked back on the season and how it prepared the team for their first tournament appearance since 2011. 

“At this time of year, you’re just running on adrenaline”

Shrewsberry spoke on how tough it was to play four games in four days, joking that there isn’t enough tea or honey in the world to help heal a sore throat. Though this time of the season is tough, the entire team is excited about making the tournament, with it being the culmination of a season with both ups and downs. 

Shrewsberry noted that he started parking in a new spot this season, and every day when he walked to his office, he saw a picture of Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, and Andrew Jones at an NCAA press conference.

“That drove me,” Shrewsberry said. “I want that picture for our guys… and now they get a chance to do that.”

“We appreciate all the support”

Towards the end of the season, Micah Shrewsberry saw a shift in energy from the fans. The coaches could see how special this team was early on, but because of the support from fans, the team was able to see it too.

With this support, they don’t want to lose momentum. Shewsberry noted that “as you’re growing a program, you can’t take steps backwards…[the team] has to build off this.”

Both the coaches and players were excited to hear their names called to play in the tournament, and Shrewsberry said he reminded the team that they can’t take this for granted, but wants them to enjoy the experience.

“We’re locked in and focused,” Shrewsberry said.

“Nobody believes in those guys as much as I do”

Throughout the season, ‘Gritty Not Pretty’ was the mantra everyone was talking about. We’ve seen this over the past few weeks, with the team being stronger defensively with their backs against the wall.

But a few weeks ago, the ‘Believe’ mantra started to come to life. “We believe we can win every single game that we play,” said Shrewsberry, “there’s never a lead that is safe.” 

Micah Shrewsberry looks ahead to Texas A&M

Micah Shrewsberry expressed that because they have a veteran team, the Nittany Lions don’t have to be 100% physical going into the game. This will help with recovery after a long run in the Big Ten Tournament.

Despite the long weekend, Penn State has begun its preparation for its first-round game against Texas A&M on Thursday. When talking about their opponent, Shrewsberry said that Thursday is “going to be another war… [they are] one of the most physical teams in the country.”

Shrewsberry spoke about how they are also one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, noting that they’re able to attack the rim and get free throws a lot. Off the bat, this is a tough matchup. “Everyone who goes into that tournament has earned their way in; they deserve to be there,” Shrewsberry said of the Aggies.

Regardless of the matchup, Shrewsberry says they’re prepared to play a tough game, and they know what it takes to win a tournament game.

“We’ve probably just played six NCAA Tournament games in a row,” Shrewsberry said. But this is positive, as it gives Penn State the necessary practice for gritty, close games. As Shrewsberry noted, “nothing rattles them.”

Penn State vs. Texas A&M tips off Thursday, March 16th, at 9:55 pm EST.

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