Time to Panic for Penn State Basketball?
Conference play started like it typically has in years past for Penn State Basketball, with a loss.
The Nittany Lions fell to Michigan State 67-58 on Wednesday night, and it was not pretty.
This was a bad Spartan team too, making the loss even worse.
Michigan State entered the night 5-4 coming off bad losses to Notre Dame and Northwestern in their previous two games. If there was ever a time to take down Michigan State this would have been the year to do it.
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The students showed up, the lower bowl filled, and Sparty was down and yet Penn State Basketball found itself in a similar situation that it has in years past.
Penn State Basketball entered the game as a 4-point favorite and quickly jumped out to a 21-12 lead after hitting some three pointers early.
However, they cooled off resulting in a 35-35 tie heading into the break. What happened in the 2nd half was a disaster. After Seth Lundy hit a three to open the half, the Nittany Lions proceeded to miss their next 8 shots from beyond the arc.
It wasn’t just from deep though, Penn State Basketball only shot 34.5% from the field while Michigan State shot 43.3%. Compounding on top of that the free throw woes returned for Penn State like many fans have come accustomed to in years past.
The Nittany Lions finished 12-18 (66.7%) from the line and it appeared that the success from the line at Clemson was just an aberration.
Is it time to Panic For Penn State Basketball?
Obviously, losing two games to teams that aren’t that good is not a good sign for Penn State Basketball to make the NCAA tournament.
It might not even be a good sign for the Nittany Lions to reach the NIT.
Both Clemson and Michigan State are not that great this season and the schedule isn’t going to get easier. Penn State has to face No. 17 Illinois on Saturday before returning to the Bryce Jordan Center for 3 tune-up games before conference play kicks back up in January.
While 9-4 might not sound like a bad record, it is considering the way January is setting up for Penn State.
- Iowa (6-2)
@ Michigan (5-3)
- #4 Purdue (9-0) – Palestra
- #14 Indiana (8-1)
@ Wisconsin (7-2)
There is a legitimate chance that Penn State Basketball doesn’t win a game until the home game against Nebraska on January 21st.
That would obviously be the worst-case scenario and result in a 9-9 (0-7) record heading into the game.
Penn State Basketball could be right back on track if they upset No. 17 Illinois in their own building, a team that just knocked off No. 2 Texas.
However, the wins most likely will have to come against Iowa at home on New Year’s Day and at Michigan. The Palestra game is looking tougher and tougher and there is a legitimate chance that they are undefeated and No. 1 heading into that game.
Indiana is a good team this year and were the Big Ten preseason favorites heading into the year.
Winning at Wisconsin has been impossible for Penn State as they haven’t gotten over the curse of the Kohl Center since joining the Big 10.
Returning to the question, should Penn State fans panic?
The answer is still a no as there are plenty of games in front of them but losing to Michigan State certainly put Shrewsberry’s squad behind in hopes of breaking the NCAA tournament drought.
This team can beat anyone with their 3-point shooting, but similarly they can lose to anyone as we have seen the last two games.
It is on to Illinois.