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What can Penn State basketball do to make the NCAA tournament?

After a 13-6 start to the 2022-23 season, here is that Penn State basketball needs to do to make the NCAA Tournament in March.



Jan 21, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jalen Pickett (22) dribbles the ball after grabbing the rebound during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State defeated Nebraska 76-65. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State basketball last officially appeared in the NCAA tournament in 2011 — that run ended just as it began as they were stunned by Temple at the buzzer in the first round. Only three Power 6 teams have a longer drought: Washington State, DePaul, and Boston College.

There is a caveat here as well: Penn State would have made the 2020 NCAA tournament had it been played. The 21-10 record posted by that team not only would have been good enough for an appearance, but would have resulted in one of the highest seeds in school history.

Alas, the record book ends on March 11, 2020, leaving Penn State with no tournament appearances since 2011. Given where the team is, the 2022-2023 iteration of the Nittany Lions are certainly in the conversation to get back to the big dance.

Where is Penn State basketball now?

Depending on where you look, you may have seen “bracketologists” around the nation starting to pay attention to the Nittany Lions. Regardless of which side of the bubble each analyst projects Penn State basketball to be, the consensus opinion is that this team is firmly on the bubble — meaning close to being in the tournament picture.

Generally speaking, a 13-6 record out of the Big Ten would be more than enough to be squarely in the tournament field; however, Penn State played a very soft non-conference schedule.

According to popular basketball analytics site — which is actually used by the NCAA Selection Committee — Penn State played the 287th toughest non-conference in the nation. The good news is that the Nittany Lions didn’t shoot themselves in the foot with any losses to second tier opponents like Michigan did with its loss to Central Michigan University.

The team is 10-0 in Quadrant 3 and 4 games. What could hurt the Nittany Lions on Selection Sunday is the failed opportunities they had to pick up marquee wins in the non-conference. A two-point loss to Virginia Tech and an overtime loss to Clemson were coin flip games that would have taken Penn State’s resume to a whole new level if even just one of those games went the other way.

The good news is that playing in the Big Ten gives you plenty of chances to snag quality wins. Penn State basketball has already picked up two Quadrant 1 wins in conference play by beating Illinois and Indiana. Two Quadrant 1 wins will not be enough if that is all the Nittany Lions have come March, but for now, it is plenty enough to keep them in the discussion. 

What does Penn State have to do?

Here is what Penn State basketball must do in order to have a shot at the NCAA tournament later this year.

Defend the Bryce-Jordan Center

  • Penn State has done an incredible job of defending their home court so far this year. They will need that to continue in order to stay in the conversation. The team is 10-1 at the BJC, with the lone loss to Michigan State in December. The Nittany Lions have 5 home games left; they need to go 4-1 at worst.

Don’t Lose to Bottom of the Conference

  • Minnesota and Nebraska are both having rough seasons and are the bottom two teams in the Big Ten; both teams are still on the schedule for Penn State basketball. While both those games will be played on the road, Penn State cannot afford a loss in either of them.

Steal another Quadrant 1 Win on the Road

  • Penn State has 7 road games left, and as of now, 5 of those would be a Quadrant 1 wins if the Nittany Lions are able to walk away with a victory. If Penn State basketball is able to successfully defend their home floor, they just need to steal one of these games on the road. 

Win One, Maybe Two in the Big Ten Tournament

  • Penn State will get additional cracks, likely at quality teams, during the Big Ten Tournament, which is scheduled for March 8-12th. Depending on how the last 12 regular season games end up playing out, Penn State could just need to win one of those games to go dancing. If the team struggles, especially at home, they would need a deeper run into the conference tournament.

Magic Number

  • If Penn State is able to get to 21 wins — including wins in the conference tournament — the Nittany Lions will all but be assured a spot in the tournament. That means that Penn State basketball will need to win 8 more games this season; there are 12 left on the schedule now, with potentially up to 5 more added via the conference tournament.

Penn State will have to play their best basketball down the stretch — if the team comes up short of that 21 win mark, say 18 or 19 wins, it is likely a trip back to the NIT will be in the cards for this team. Penn State will also need to improve their road performance during the stretch run.

To date, Penn State basketball has only won a single game outside the friendly confines of the Bryce-Jordan Center. If that number stays the same until Selection Sunday, the Nittany Lions won’t be hearing their name called for the 12th-straight year.


ICYMI: Penn State basketball legend Lamar Stevens finds new NBA home

Former Penn State basketball star finds a new home in the NBA.



Penn State basketball, Lamar Stevens, Boston Celtics
Mar 3, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions forward Lamar Stevens (11) reacts after shooting a three point shot during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Bryce Jordan Center. Michigan State defeated Penn State 79-71. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Argubly the GOAT of Penn State basketball has found a new home after his surprise trade and release this offseason. According to NBA insider Shams Charania, forward Lamar Stevens has agreed to a deal with the Boston Celtics. 

The Penn State legend had spent his first 3 years in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers after signing with them as a free agent after going undrafted in the 2020 NBA draft. He started as a 2-way player with the organization and eventually earned a full contract as his role grew in Cleveland. He played in a total of 165 games for the Cavs, including 38 starts, where he averaged 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Lamar was able to masterfully transition from an offensive focal point and go-to scorer at Penn State to an off-ball defensive-minded role player in the NBA. 

Lamar joins a Celtics team that has been very familiar with Penn State in recent years. Former men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry was an assistant coach for the Celtics for 6 years and has maintained a good relationship with a lot of his fellow colleagues and players. This includes former Celtics head coach and current general manager Brad Stevens, who made his way to Penn State to visit coach shrews and watch the Nittany Lions a number of times over Shrewsberry’s 2 years in Happy Valley. 

Lamar Stevens will look to contribute to a Boston Celtics team that has lofty expectations. After a season that saw them lose in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and a busy offseason of moves, the Celtics will be one of the favorites to win out in the East and ultimately win the NBA finals. Stevens picking up a lot of starts seems unlikely, barring injury, but he has the potential to carve out a great bench role in Boston thanks to his incredible defense and instant energy. 

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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BREAKING: Penn State basketball lands Dominick Stewart

The Penn State basketball team has landed a new commit in the 2024 class today.



Mike Rhoades, Penn State basketball, Dominic Stewart
Dec 5, 2018; Austin, TX, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams head coach Mike Rhoades walks the baseline watching the team play during the second half against the Texas Longhorns at Frank Erwin Center. Mandatory Credit: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Rhoades and the rest of the Penn State men’s basketball recruiting staff got some good news today from the recruiting trail as the 2023-2024 season inches closer. The 2023 schedule was released this week and tip-off is nearing closer. But before that takes place, Rhoades and his staff have been hard at work trying to secure the future. A step in that direction was taken today, as the Nittany Lions landed top prospect Dominick Stewart. 

Penn State basketball lands Dominick Stewart

Class of 2024 guard Dominick Stewart announced his commitment to the Nittany Lions on Friday afternoon. Dominick is a 6’5 guard from Maryland and is currently playing at the Southern California Academy in California. He is the 184th-ranked player nationally and a three-star by the ON3 industry rankings. He carries an impressive offer list that includes Butler, Creighton, Mississippi State, and Cal. Penn State offered back in July after Dominick’s very strong showing on the AAU circuit which included All-Breakout team selections at Peach Jam in the Nike EYBL session #3. This commitment comes from a recent visit he took to Happy Valley at the beginning of the month. 

Stewart looks like a good get, especially after that impressive AAU run that got many schools noticing him. He is a smart and skilled player who can fit into many lineups and spots on the court. He is a good shooter with a great jumper. His jump shot is smooth and quick which allows him to avoid contests and score in bunches when he gets hot.

He processes the game at an impressive speed and is constantly making the right play. Not your typical lead ball playmaker, but is a fantastic connector, keeping the ball moving and hitting the open man. Those smarts apply to the other side of the ball too. Stewart uses his good size at hoard effectively to guard up and down the lineup. He is a good and willing team defender which fits the Rhoades style well. 

Where does Stewart fit in at Penn State?

Stewart, originally a member of the 2025 class, becomes the second member of Penn State’s 2024 class after reclassifying. He joins fellow guard Jahvin Carter as the first high school recruit to commit to Penn State since Mike Rhoades took over. Jahvin, who committed back in June, and Stewart make an interesting pair in the backcourt and share a lot of skills that the staff clearly values. The biggest one is their basketball IQ. They should both be important pieces in building a smart and skilled program for the future of Penn State Basketball. 

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Penn State Basketball has released its 2023-2024 official schedule

The Penn State basketball 2023-2024 schedule is here!



Penn State basketball, Mike Rhoades, Schedule
Mar 18, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Myles Dread (2) and forward Michael Henn (24) salute fans after a loss to the Texas Longhorns at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After a long wait, we now know what awaits the Penn State Men’s Basketball team this winter. Year 1 of the Mike Rhoades era is around the corner with the release of the 2023-2024 basketball schedule. The schedule totals 30 games including an in-season tournament, a potential revenge game, and another Palestra special

Penn State Basketball has released its 2023-2024 official schedule

Before all that, however, the season opens up on November 6th against Delaware State. This game, at the Bryce Jordan Center, starts a run of home games to begin the year against Lehigh (November 10th), St. Francis (November 14th), and Morehead State (November 17th). This all leads to the ESPN Events Invitational.

Penn State gets its first big test down in Orlando in a rematch against Texas A&M. The game takes place on Thanksgiving, November 23rd, and will be a great chance to test out the radically different roster against a more familiar opponent. Penn State will play a total of 3 games in the tournament win or lose with the potential for a very intriguing matchup

If the Nittany Lions are able to go all the way to the championship they could match up against Mike Rhoades’ former school, VCU. This would obviously be huge for the coach against his old school, but it also features a “revenge” opportunity for a couple of players as well. Point guard Ace Baldwin Jr. and forward Nick Kern Jr. both followed coach Rhoades from VCU to Penn State this past spring. While this game would be amazing, it is unlikely. Penn State and VCU would both have to mirror each other in each round whether that means winning out, losing out, or somewhere in between. A matchup we are guaranteed is another Big Ten Showdown in Philly.

On January 7th the Nittany Lions will take on Michigan in the Palestra. This will be the second year in a row Penn State will host a game in the historic arena and the 4th time since their 2017 matchup against Michigan State. Penn State has a long history in the arena playing 61 games there since 1927, and win or lose, the environment is always electric. 

The schedule in full goes as follows:

November 6th: vs. Delaware State

November 10th: vs Lehigh

November 14th: vs St. Francis(PA) 

November 17th: vs. Morehead State

November 23rd: vs Texas A&M*

November 24th: vs Butler/FAU*

November 26th: vs TBD*

December 2nd: vs Bucknell

December 6th: at Maryland

December 9th: vs. Ohio State

December 21st: vs Le Moyne

December 29th: vs Rider

January 4th: at Michigan State

January 7th: vs Michigan 

January 10th: vs Northwestern

January 13th: at Purdue 

January 16th: vs Wisconsin

January 20th: at Ohio State

January 27th: vs Minnesota

January 31st: at Rutgers

February 3rd: at Indiana

February 8th: vs Iowa

February 11th: at Northwestern

February 14th: vs. Michigan State

February 17th: at Nebraska 

February 21st: vs Illinois 

February 24th: vs Indiana 

February 27th: at Iowa 

March 2nd: at Minnesota 

March 10th: vs Maryland 

March 13th-17th: Big Ten Tournament

*= ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando, Florida

**= home game in Philly at Palestra

Penn State has already played a couple of warm-up games with two big wins in the Bahamas that gave us our first look at this new squad. The team has also announced a third against Robert Morris on October 27th as they gear up to take on this 23-24 schedule. As Mike Rhoades looks to begin a new era in Penn State basketball. 

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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