Penn State basketball is one win away from the NCAA Tournament in the eyes of college basketball analyst Andy Katz.
The Nittany Lions, fresh off a win over Ohio State, face Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Saturday afternoon (4:30 ET, CBS). Penn State enters at 21-12, and a win over the No. 8 Boilermakers would give the Nittany Lions a resume the selection committee could not pass over, Katz said on Twitter.
The list was of regular-season games, not tournament. But yes my view is Penn State can secure a bid with a win today. https://t.co/qA6i56PYco
— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) March 3, 2018
Penn State got to the semifinals in dramatic fashion Friday night. Tony Carr found a wide open Josh Reaves, whose dunk with 3 seconds left lifted the Nittany Lions to a 69-68 win over No. 13 Ohio State.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 3, 2018
Penn State’s three best wins of the season all came against the Buckeyes, and the one at Madison Square Garden put the program back on the bubble. Penn State, now 31st in the KenPom rankings, is listed as an 8-point underdog against Purdue. The Boilermakers beat the Nittany Lions, 76-73, on Feb. 18 at Mackey Arena.
Mike Watkins, Penn State’s top big man (12.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG), is out for the tournament with a right leg injury. Penn State coach Pat Chambers said beating Ohio State without Watkins proved that Penn State belonged in the NCAA Tournament.
A win over Purdue without him would almost make sure of it.