Penn State Basketball Set to Make Noise this March Madness

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Friday saw Penn State basketball coach Patrick Chambers named one of ten semifinalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award. It’s well deserved too, the Nittany Lions have 21 overall wins and 11 Big Ten Conference wins, the most league wins of the Chambers era at Penn State.

PSU, currently ranked #20 in the Associated Press, #30 in NET and #23 in KenPom, achieved an eight game league win streak over the course January and February was the Nittany Lions’ longest in program history.

Penn State concludes the regular season at Northwestern at 4 p.m. ET Saturday, March 7, a conference game that sees the Lions heavily favored. According to Sports Betting Dime, they are favored by seven points. Saturday sees Penn State face a Northwestern team that will motivated by 1.) escaping the league basement and 2.) Senior Day.

The Wildcats are even wearing special uniforms (pictured above and below), designed by the players, for this occasion. But for Penn State basketball, it’s been a really special season, and they’ll look to keep the momentum rolling along. The Nittany Lions have been ranked in the AP poll for 10 weeks this season, rising as high as #9, which tied the highest mark in program history.

They have a lot of impressive wins this campaign, including at Michigan State (#7 in both NET and KenPom), Maryland (#18 in NET, #13 in KenPom), Michigan (#24 in NET, #11 in KenPom), Rutgers (#31, in #27 KenPom), Purdue (#32 in NET, #22 in KenPom), Iowa (#34 in NET, in #24 KenPom) and Ohio State (#15 in NET, #8 in KenPom).

Penn State basketball does have a history, you just have to go a long way back to find it. They went to the Final Four in 1954 and the sweet sixteen in 1955. In the era of the 64+ team tournament, they have only four appearances, reaching the second weekend just once (2001). However, this is the year that most Penn State basketball fans believe that will change. A lock to the make the big dance, this will be their first appearance since 2011.

(featured image of Lamar Stephens and Patrick Chambers credit: Mark Selders, Penn State Athletics)

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link

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