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Freshman Micah Parsons is expected to be one of the breakout performers for the Penn State football team this spring.

Penn State could have several breakout players this spring; Nittany Lions look ahead to NIT

Penn State football is the No. 1 topic in We are… Awake every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across Nittany Lions sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Penn State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Spring surprise

Penn State will use spring practice to sort out a few position battles and see which freshmen are going to help this team stay in the playoff conversation.

The Centre Daily Times’ John McGonigal and Josh Moyer said they think the breakout player this spring will be a linebacker; they just differ on which one.

What are the chances

The Cleveland Browns fired off trade after trade on Friday, but one move seems to signal their direction in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Browns trading for Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor and sending 2017 starter DeShone Kizer to Green Bay could be the move that solidifies Penn State’s Saquon Barkley as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot said she thinks the Browns will go with Barkley but still could choose a quarterback with their next pick, No. 4 overall.

Closing the door

Penn State’s men’s basketball team can look back at the 2017-18 season and focus on its three wins over Ohio State as a reason it should have made the NCAA Tournament.

The Daily Collegian’s Vincent Lungaro writes that there were four games that prevented the Nittany Lions from getting an at-large bid. Lungaro doesn’t mention the 71-70 setback just before Christmas to Rider, which finished 22-9.

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The other tournament

Penn State missed out on a shot at the NCAA Tournament after falling to Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament a week ago. The Nittany Lions will dance in March, but in the NIT.

The Nittany Lions landed a fourth seed in their bracket and will host fifth-seeded Temple on Wednesday (8 p.m., ESPNU).  It could set up an interesting second-round matchup with a Notre Dame team that didn’t have star Bonzie Colson most of the season and felt as if it was robbed of an NCAA Tournament bid. Here is the full NIT bracket.

Penn State has made the semifinals of the NIT five times and won the tournament in 2009.

Surely a lock

The Penn State men’s hockey team suffered a last-second loss to Notre Dame in the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday, but the Nittany Lions are almost certain to make the NCAA Tournament.

The school released information on how to purchase tickets for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, but official word of the field will not come until March 18.

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