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NCAA Tournament: Time for PSU Hoops is Now

Penn State basketball has been out in the wilderness for far too long. It’s time to bring the program back.



NCAA Tournament
Feb 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Micah Shrewsberry reacts against the Minnesota Gophers during the first half at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Twenty-two years — it was 22 years since Penn State basketball won an NCAA tournament game.

I was 11 years old, lying in my room shooting a koosh ball from underneath the basket over my closet door. I was listening to Steve Jones call the North Carolina versus Penn State game on the radio. There was a hell of a lot of “Crispin for threeeeeeeeee – it’s good!” and “Peppers for three.” Yes, that Julian Peppers.

Super Sweet, Turns Super Bitter

A couple hours later, Penn State was moving on to the sweet sixteen, where they would lose to Temple. Little did I know, I wouldn’t see the Nittany Lions make the NCAA tournament again until I was a senior at Penn State 10 years later, in 2011. And they lost to Temple. Again.

Since then, Penn State basketball fans have been scarred for life. They’ve been let down over and over again.

I’ll admit I’m guilty of being that guy asking: What is the point of being a fan of a program that is so bad? Why even care? 

I’m sorry. I was very wrong. But thankfully, Charles Barkley bailed me out Thursday night with his take.

NCAA Tournament Drought, No More

Thursday night at 34, I watched Penn State end a 22-year NCAA tournament-winning drought. During March and in this latest game, I have seen what Micah Shrewsberry and his “funky” Nittany Lions have to offer. It’s beautiful. A dominant Jalen Pickett created so many exterior shooting opportunities for Seth Lundy and Andrew Funk. 

Much like the Nittany Lions basketball program, Funk’s night was historical. He hit EIGHT three-pointers and scored a season-high 27 points. It was magical. It didn’t seem real. Couple that with Jalen Pickett being responsible for over 30 points — it was a lethal combination.

As I watched last night, I couldn’t help but remember hearing from my father where the Penn State football program was in the early 1960s when he was starting to go to school there. He constantly talked about how Joe Paterno transformed the program.

JoePa is highly controversial, but his legacy is unmatched because he made Penn State football a national powerhouse. 

Looking forward, Micah Shrewsberry is in that same category right now. But he is potentially fielding offers from other teams while in the field of 32. It’s time to pay Shrewsberry whatever he wants and boost his recruiting budget.

It’s time for Penn State to stop treating basketball second. The time is now.

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