Penn State Basketball: How Bad Did Rutgers Loss Hurt NCAA Tournament Chances?
Penn State Basketball entered Tuesday’s game against Rutgers ranked 49th in the NET rankings, before losing 65-45 in embarrassing fashion.
This put the Nittany Lions either as a last four in or first four out on many bracketologist predictions, ahead of the NCAA Tournament.
The loss to Rutgers was ugly to say the least.
Micah Shrewsberry‘s team shot a horrific 4-26 (15.4%) from three and 33.3% from the field. Tuesday was the worst of the season, and the first time that Penn State Basketball has been overmatched and not even look competitive.
Shrewsberry had plenty of comments post game including going at the officiating for the lack of balance in foul calls as well as calling his team soft.
How Penn State Basketball loss to Rutgers Impacts Postseason Aspirations
NCAA Tournament Picture
The loss dropped Penn State Basketball 9 spots to No. 58 in the latest NET rankings.
This knocked the Lions out of the first four and next four out and effectively off the bubble. This is the lowest ranking for the Nittany Lions since they were #67 on January 10th.
All this doesn’t mean that Penn State is doomed but it certainly is a cause for concern as January is coming to a close. The NET rankings are what the Tournament committee uses to determine which teams are qualified for the dance.
Penn State Basketball is currently 2-4 in Quad 1, 1-3, in Quad 2, and 10-0 in Quad 3 & 4. The path to an NCAA Tournament bid is still rather simple, finish 10-10 (.500) in Big 10 play and you are in. The depth of the conference this season should allow for a 19-12 Penn State to get in regardless of what happens in the conference tournament.
Anything below .500 and the Nittany Lions will need to win a few games in the conference tournament to strengthen the resume.
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Quality wins and losses make a huge difference in the NET rankings.
The more quad 1 game you play the less it hurts you when you lose. Ohio State for example is 11-9 but sits 27th in the NET because they are 2-7 in Quad 1 and 3-1 in Quad 2. That means that if some of Penn State’s previous opponents can improve their own NET rankings it could help the Nittany Lions move up without even playing a game.
The Big Ten has plenty of good teams but Penn State’s non conference slate was weak.
Currently Butler (102), Furman (109), and Colorado State (120) sit as quad 3 wins for Penn State Basketball. If any of these teams can move up to Quad 2 that would significantly help the resume. This would mean that Furman and Colorado State would need to get inside the top 100 since the games were at a neutral site. Butler would need to be in the top 75 because it was a home game.
In the Quality loss department, Virginia Tech (52) and Clemson (56) need to be Quad 1 losses. Since Virginia Tech was a neutral site loss, they need to get inside the top 50 to be considered a quad 1 loss. Clemson on the other hand needs to be in the top 75 to remain in the Quad 1 category being that it was a road loss.
Penn State Basketball returns to the Bryce Jordan Center to take on Michigan 11-8 (5-3) Sunday at 12pm ET on BTN.
This game is a must win as Michigan is currently ranked No. 76 in the NET and would be considered a Quad 3 team. Penn State can’t afford to fall too far behind that .500 record in conference play if it hopes to be dancing in March.