Penn St. ends Northwestern’s NCAA Dreams

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By Paul M. Banks

Nittany Lions’ first win in the Big Ten ends NU’s at-large NCAA chances.

How could this happen? How could Penn St., a de facto “one man team” beat Northwestern? For their FIRST win in conference play, on a night when their one man, Talor Battle, was limited to very few shots, and he made very few of them? If you’re a Cats fan, at least you have closure on their NCAA tournament prospects.

If NU was on the bubble entering this game, the bubble burst profoundly tonight. An UGLY loss like this, KILLS RPI, Sagarin, everything else that goes into a NCAA resume. Even if the Cats somehow run the table the rest of their way and finish 23-9, 10-8 in conference- Forget about it! It won’t be enough to obtain a slot on the big dance card. They’ll have to run the table in Indy during the Big Ten Tournament or else. You can stop dreaming the impossible dream as of February 17th 9:30 PM CT.

It’s yet another season like the Cubs every year since 1908, the Blackhawks every season since 1961 or the NU football team each and every fall since 1949. The most shopworn of all cliches, “wait till next year” begins tomorrow.

Lions junior point guard Talor Battle, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, and PSU’s leader in points, rebounds, assists, minutes, steals, (and reasons to actually sit through Penn State basketball) was limited to 2-8 from the floor, 1-6 from behind the arc. He totaled 10 points, but also led the team in rebounds (tied with 7) and assists (tied with 6).

I asked NU Head Coach Bill Carmody about how frustrating it was to effectively shut down Battle, but still end up with an L.

“I said all along to our team some of these other guys are good players, I’m surprised they haven’t been more productive. I thought Battle did a nice job, he didn’t force the issue. Played smart to win, because I think he’s been taking too much heat for doing too much and doing all this. I just thought he had a really nice floor game,” Carmody responded.

I also asked Penn State coach Ed DeChellis how gratifying it was to win a game, and win one where Battle simply wasn’t Talor Battle.

“He had the flu yesterday and today. He had a fever yesterday- didn’t do much. We had a doctor come with us, tried to nurse him back as much as possible. I thought he was very much under control, didn’t feel well, tried to do what he could do. The other guys pitched in and did a wonderful job,” he responded.

Barring a miracle in the conference tournament, the Cats won’t be packing their luggage for the big dance this year

Those other guys were David Jackson and Chris Babb, who tied for the game lead with 20 points. Jeff Brooks chipped in 12. John Shurna and Juice Thompson led the way for Northwestern with 17 points each.

So big picture time. What did Carmody say about where the team goes from here? The last rites, burial, and eulogy of their at-large tournament chances.

“Win as many games ans you can and see where you are in three weeks, then you have the tournament. It’s the same, there are three or four teams in every major conference, they’re in the middle, what are you going to do the next three weeks that separates? Some are going to win and head north. And others are going to slip back. So we just want to be in the first group,” Carmody said.

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Comments

  1. Sad. don’t care to talk about it anymore

  2. There is freedom within, there is freedom without
    Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
    There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
    But you’ll never see the end of the road
    While you’re traveling with me

    Hey now, hey now
    Don’t dream it’s over
    Hey now, hey now
    When the world comes in

    Name that song….which sums up the feeling at Welsh-Ryan

  3. Or here’s another song that sums up how hard I’m taking this reality

    Didn’t we almost have it all
    When love was all we had worth giving?
    The ride with you was worth the fall my friend
    Loving you makes life worth living
    Didn’t we almost have it all

  4. Actually this one’s more appropriate….I’ve moved through the first 3 of the 5 stages of grief pretty quickly

    I never meant to cause you any sorrow
    I never meant to cause you any pain
    I only wanted one time to see you laughing
    I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain

    Purple rain, purple rain
    Purple rain, purple rain
    Purple rain, purple rain
    I only wanted to see you bathing in the purple rain

  5. poor kitty

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