Penn State Basketball was in danger of falling farther away from the NCAA tournament bubble heading into Wednesday night’s matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers, that is until the Nittany Lions pulled off a major upset.
Penn State entered the matchup ranked No. 67 in the NET and in the next four out of Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology (ESPN). Indiana entered the game ranked No. 27 in the NET rankings and a projected 8 seed in the latest bracketology.
Takeaways from the Dominant Performance:
Penn State Basketball has been one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation this season with an average of 10.7 makes per game good for No. 6 nationally.
Against the Hoosiers, Micah Shrewsberry’s squad tied a school record for three pointers made with 18. A record that they had previously set back in the non-conference in November.
It seems that when it is that kind of night from distance, it is just going to be that kind of night.
The Nittany Lions shot 54.2% from the field as a team and seemingly were making everything in the second half. This isn’t anything new with this team, when they are shooting to their potential, they can beat any team in the country.
The biggest issue has been what the offense can do when the three’s aren’t falling and the game turns into more of a slugfest, a type of game that happens often in the Big 10.
Huge Boost for NCAA Tournament
The Nittany Lions entered the game ranked NO. 67 in the NET rankings; the key metric used for the NCAA Tournament selection committee. After the dominant win over Indiana, Penn State shot up 15 spots to No. 52 in the latest rankings.
Shrewsberry’s squad also is ranked No. 41 in the Kenpom rankings after the win. Since this was a win against a team that now ranks No. 37 in the NET it will be classified as a Quad 2 win.
However, if Indiana finds itself ranked in the top 30 by the end of the season it will turn into a Quad 1 win. Down the stretch Penn State needs to find ways to get more quad 1 wins to boost the resume and avoid the Quad 3 and 4 losses.
There are plenty of Quad 1 wins available in the deep Big 10 as Penn State has 8 such games remaining on the schedule. The key is the Nittany Lions need to be careful and not lose their next two home games to Nebraska (No. 96) and Michigan (No. 78) as both would be classified as Quad 3 losses.
The current NCAA tournament projected cutoff is after 49 in the rankings, putting Penn State as the first four out in most settings. Getting inside the top 45 would almost assuredly return Penn State to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.
Penn State Basketball goes on the road to take on No. 18 Wisconsin 11-4 (3-2) next Tuesday January 17th. The game is scheduled for 8:30pm on BTN. Wisconsin leads the all-time series 42-11 and have won 16 of the previous 17 matchups.
The Lions have never won (0-18) at the Kohl center and are 2-22 all-time in Madison. The Badgers have lost two straight at Illinois and home against Michigan State and will travel to Bloomington to take on Indiana Sunday before returning home to play Penn State.