Penn State Basketball finished 14-17 (7-13) last year, in the first go around for head coach Micah Shrewsberry, but the future is bright.
The Nittany Lions return key contributors in Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, and Myles Dread. Penn State Basketball also welcomes the highest ranked recruiting class in program history (27th). All 5 players are top 300 nationally with Kebba Njie (C) headlining the class ranked 115th nationally and a 4-star recruit.
Shrewsberry also got active in the transfer portal, once again picking up 3-star Camren Wynter from Drexel and 3 Star Andrew Funk from Bucknell.
It is realistic to believe that the Nittany Lions had a chance to go .500 last season with a few non-conference games canceled due to covid.
The key to having a good team is a combination of veterans and young talent.
Penn State BASKETBALL has great recruiting classes coming in this season and next and having a collection of grad transfers and home-grown veterans will be key this season. Kebba might be starting from the beginning of the season but that is a good thing for the long term plan of Penn State Basketball.
Looking at the schedule the non conference schedule won’t tell much of the story about this team.
Anything more than 2 losses would be a disappointment.
Key swing games will be Butler (H), Clemson (A), and the 3 games in the Charleston Classic. Butler is coming off a difficult season so early that will be the first real test of the season that can show how good this team could be. Playing at Clemson in the Big 10 vs ACC Challenge could pose some challenges but is certainly winnable.
Realistically, Penn State BASKETBALL will have a chance to win all their matchups outside of dropping maybe one in the Charleston Classic. The Nittany Lions open with Furman and if they win would play either Old Dominion or Virginia Tech. The other side of the bracket includes Colorado State, South Carolina, Charleston, and Davidson. There isn’t a real powerhouse in this tournament so winning it will be possible and if so, that could help give momentum for the rest of the season.
It isn’t unreasonable to predict Penn State Basketball goes 9-2 in the non-conference, with a loss either in the Charleston Classic or at Clemson.
Will Penn State Basketball Finally Breakthrough in Big Ten?
The Big Ten is slightly down this season compared to previous years with only 3 ranked teams to start the year.
Penn State Basketball gets their conference taste in December with Michigan State at home and Illinois on the road. It’s easy to expect losses in these 2 games taking the home game and losing at Illinois. If Penn State can steal one of these games that would set them up well for the rest of conference play.
In January the schedule sets up with Iowa (H), #22 Michigan (A), Purdue (Palestra), #13 Indiana (H), Wisconsin (A), Nebraska (H), Rutgers (A), #22 Michigan (H). This is a difficult stretch where I predict the Nittany Lions go 4-4.
The key to this stretch will be upsetting Purdue in the Palestra, and Michigan at home for a weekend game.
Both environments should be good since the games are on the weekends and this will be a chance for Penn State to solidify themselves in the Tournament chase ending the month 13-8 (4-6).
February the schedule sets up with Purdue (A), Nebraska (A), Wisconsin (H), Maryland (A), Illinois (H), Minnesota (A), Ohio State (A), Rutgers (H). I
Penn State Basketball could conceivably go 4-4 in this stretch again with wins against Wisconsin and Rutgers at home and taking 2 of 3 games against Nebraska, Maryland, and Minnesota. This would bring the Nittany Lions record to 17-12 (8-10) heading into the month of March.
The final two games of the season are Northwestern (A) and Maryland (H).
There’s a chance Penn State Basketball wins both games, solidifying themselves at 19-12 (10-10) and puts themselves on the NCAA tournament bubble.
This would set up for Penn State Basketball only having to go 1-1 in the Big Ten tournament to lock up their first bid to the big dance since 2011. If this team drops a few more games and doesn’t pull off the upsets predicted a solid NIT season is still in the cards.
Floor: 16-15 (7-13)
Ceiling: 22-9 (13-7)
READ NEXT: Why Penn State Basketball may struggle
A note to our readers; If you make a purchase through one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission