Penn State is officially on the bubble.
The surging Nittany Lions trounced No. 8 Ohio State, 79-56, Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. It was the sixth win in seven tries for the Nittany Lions, who are now 19-9 overall and 9-6 in the Big Ten.
The game against the Buckeyes was close to a must-win for Penn State if the team is going to receive an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. And after the victory, Pat Chambers’ team is getting some national recognition.
The Nittany Lions — No. 72 in RPI, No. 28 in KenPom — moved into the “next four out” on the Bracketology projection of ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, who updated his predictions Friday morning. Lunardi has Penn State as the sixth team outside of the bracket at the moment, behind Nebraska, Washington, Syracuse, Baylor and Boise State.
All three of Penn State’s remaining regular season games give the team opportunities to boost its NCAA Tournament resume. The Nittany Lions play at Purdue on Sunday, host No. 22 Michigan on Wednesday and close out their regular season at Nebraska on Feb. 25 in a game that could have major big dance implications.
Another pair of wins before the Big Ten Tournament would put Penn State in solid position to make its first NCAA Tournament in Pat Chambers’ seven-season tenure.