Blue White Roundtable: Alabama Week Edition
September 7, 2011 – | 1 Comment

Once again, it’s Adam Collyer over at BlackShoeDiaries providing the questions, and we, your humble bloggers, providing the answers. Mine are below, and you can venture off to the remote areas of the blogosphere that …

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Submitted by on April 2, 200910 Comments
2009 NIT Champions!
2009 NIT Champions!

Ever since this Penn State squad was wronged on Selection Sunday, fans of this program debated whether it was better to make a deep run and potentially win the NIT or make a one and done appearance in the Big Dance.

Sure an apperance in the NCAA tournament would have been nice, alot better for exposure for this program, but what would it have served other than for the fans to claim they “made the tournament”. With undeserving teams across the country like Robert Morris and CSU Northridge making the tournament, what does it really matter if you made the Big Dance if you haven’t made an impact in it. Yeah I’m looking at you Ohio State, Illinois and Minnesota.

Then there is Penn State. A team that has beaten that very Michigan State team sitting pretty in the Final Four right now AT East Lansing. Swept Illinois both home and away. And dominated sweet sixteen team Purdue at home. And somehow a loss to Iowa in double overtime to end the season decided their tournament fate?

But fate has a way of revealing itself. Would we have made a deep run into the NCAA tournament? Possibly, considering how this team is playing right now. But only 2 teams gets to end their season with a win and a championship. Tonight, Penn State solidified itself as one of those lucky two.

Sure arrogant Michigan fans will thump their chests claiming that it’s only the NITs. But while their team is sitting at home after a two and done run in the postseason, Penn State made history winning their first postseason tournament in program history. They actually made themselves matter in the tournament they were forced to participate in. It would have been great to have made the NCAA tournament like Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan State, but when it comes down to it, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin ended up being as relevant as CSU Northridge, N Dakota State, Siena, and Morehead State. Yeah exactly, WHO?!

But it was Penn State who has just dominated and plowed their way through a NIT field dominated by blue blood programs like Notre Dame, Kentucky, Georgetown and Florida. At season’s end, when the analysts begin comparing conferences, Penn State will be the team that actually carried the banner for the Big Ten confirming what we knew all along. Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. And no conference epitomizes defense more than the Big Ten.

It wasn’t Michigan who couldn’t shut down the one-man led Oklahoma, it wasn’t Purdue who didn’t have a chance against scandal plagued U Conn, nor was it Ohio State, Illinois and Minnesota who couldn’t even make it past their opening game that showed the nation what playing in the Big Ten was like.

It was a Penn State team no one gave a second look at before the season started. It was a Talor Battle miracle 3 pointer against George Mason that Illinois fans will be all too familiar with. It was a Cornley-less squad that suffocated and demolished Rhode Island. It was a Penn State program, relatively unknown on the hardcourt that stuffed Notre Dame, a team pegged in the top 10 during the preseason. A team as balanced with a dominating inside presence as well as a myriad of sharpshooters was held to a record low for points by Penn State. And it was a Penn State team that eventually ran away from a team full of speedsters in Baylor. It will be Penn State that made a difference in the postseason, and if Michigan State had its way, they too will be making a statement for a conference that deserved alot more respect than it received all season.

I shall never forget this group of players that played for the program. The blood (literally), guts, sweat and sprained shoulders that proved this school so much more than just a football program. I salute you.

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