Redd leads punishing ground attack against Indiana State
September 4, 2011 – | No Comment

Toughness.
That’s the mantra this squad has adopted for the 2011 season. And on a muggy, 85 degree Fall afternoon, the Nittany Lions put on a display of toughness often lacking from last season’s edition before …

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Nittany Lion’s Tournament Resume

Submitted by on February 24, 2011No Comment

I know, I know. It’s borderline ludicrous to even mention the Lions and the Tournament in the same sentence at this point. But with an RPI of 61, a Strength of Schedule ranked 6th and a 7-8 record in Big Ten play with 3 games still remaining, the Lions do have a legitimate chance, albeit slim, to remain in the discussion for the soft bubble on March 13th.

Even as of today, the Lions appear in 3 of the 66 bracket projects tracked by Bracket Project. Not exactly a resounding endorsement, but it does offer a glimmer of hope for the Lion’s tourney chances. With 3 games against Top-100 RPI teams and the Big Ten tournament left, the Lions have a great opportunity to solidify their chance to remain in the discussion. Our current resume as it stands, compared to other bubble teams’ resumes, should be at least worthy of discussion for the soft bubble.

The following chart essentially sums up how the selection committee will look at teams still in the discussion. Wins are listed in order of quality in the left column. Teams that projected to be in the Tournament or on the bubble are in bold. These would be squads that bracketologists have considered worthy of the field based on their own criteria so a win against a higher seeded team would be viewed far more favorably than an lower seeded opponent. Teams not projected for the field of 68 are listed based on their RPI. The RPI is really the only way committee members can judge the strength of your opponents and as Andy Staples described following last week’s media mock selection process, it is a stat essentially attached to every piece of data the committee sees in the selection room.

Losses are listed on the right, with the worst losses listed first and upcoming games are listed in the center. The committee isn’t allowed to take margin of victory into account so a 3 point loss to Ohio State is just as bad as a 15 point beatdown by Purdue, but they can and do take notice of where a game is played (home/neutral/away) and whether a game was played without particular players lost to injury (ex: Jeff Brook’s dislocated right shoulder).

Wins (14) Upcoming (3+) Losses (12)
3-seed Wisconsin (Home) #80 Northwestern (Away) #203 Maine (Home)
9-seed Illinois (Home) 1-seed Ohio State (Home) #89 Maryland (Home)
10-seed Minnesota (Home) 10-seed Minnesota (Away) #74 Mississippi (Away)
11-seed Michigan St (Home) bubble Michigan (Home)
14-seed Fairfield (Home) bubble Michigan (Away)
bubble Duquesne (Home) 12-seed Virginia Tech (Away)
#80 Northwestern (Home) 11-seed Michigan St (Away)
#117 Furman (Home) 9-seed Illinois (Away)
#150 Central Conn St (Home) 3-seed Wisconsin (Away)
#172 Iowa (Home) 2-seed Purdue (Home)
#181 Indiana (Away) 2-seed Purdue (Away)
#191 St Joseph (Home) 1-seed Ohio State (Away)
#211 Lehigh (Home)
#235 Mount St. Mary (Home)

Of our 12 losses, 9 are at the hands of teams projected as tournament teams or to be on the bubble. And only 1 was to a team ranked outside the RPI Top 100 (#203 Maine). That Maine loss will really sting come selection time.

At this point, Penn State has no room for error. A loss against Northwestern would sink any hope of making the tournament this year. Usually a loss against a Top 100 RPI squad isn’t devastating, but Penn State’s has a glaring lack of road wins on its resume. The Lions just don’t have enough quality wins to overcome such a weak road record, just one win at #181 Indiana.

For the the Lions to ensure consideration come Selection Sunday, they must win all 3 of their remaining games (@ #80 Northwestern, 1-seed Ohio State, @ 10-seed Minnesota). That’s 3 more Top-100 (2 Top 50) wins. Anything short of that 17-12 (10-8 conference) record, would mean sweating it out in 2 weeks.

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