It’s Time To Start Climbing: Why You Should Care About Penn State Hoops

We all know Penn State is a football school. Fans bleed blue and white for the boys scoring touchdowns on Saturdays (and Fridays, unfortunately), but what about the players hitting threes and throwing down dunks across the street at the Bryce Jordan Center?

Penn State men’s basketball is on the rise, and it’s time for fans to buy in. Besides, is there any better way to get over the heartbreaking losses of this football season than by watching another Penn State team kick some ass?

Penn State hoops just barely missed out on making the Big Dance last season. The team arguably could’ve made the 68-team field had it not been for an early loss to Rider. However, missing out on the NCAA Tournament may have been a blessing in disguise — it gave the Nittany Lions a chance to win the NIT and prove they can compete in postseason play.

While the Michigan Wolverines tore up the Nittany Lions on the gridiron, Pat Chambers’ team upset No. 13 West Virginia 84-82 in its only exhibition game ahead of the 2018-19 season. Although it was just an exhibition game, this is a huge deal and an even bigger victory for Chambers and his team.

The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 49 in ESPN’s preseason Basketball Power Index rankings, so beating a top-15 team which is expected to have a fantastic season shows Penn State is ready to compete with the big guns. That’s not to mention that the victory came without star forward Mike Watkins, who’s out indefinitely to start this season.

This team could really make a run at the NCAA tournament this year with star players like Josh Reaves and Lamar Stevens back in the fold. Penn State came up with huge victories last year, including three against Ohio State, which qualified for the NCAA tournament as a No. 5 seed and was consistently ranked in the AP Top 25 poll.

One of those victories came at the Bryce Jordan Center and was followed by fans storming the court. A huge win like that 79-56 blowout feels just as good as a similar victory in Beaver Stadium, and it’s about time more people begin to experience that. 

This team has shown time and again that it’s ready to compete on the big stage with huge victories and performances in postseason play, and it deserves a huge crowd night in and night out. Again, maybe it was only an exhibition game, but the Nittany Lions have already taken down an excellent team this season. I have no doubt that there are more wins like Saturday’s to come for Pat Chambers’ program.

Penn State’s home opener against North Florida is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday, and last season’s NIT championship-winning squad will be honored with a banner raising before tip-off.

It’s time to #TrustTheClimb. 

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About the Author

Mary Frances Pillion

Mary Frances is a senior from Mechanicsburg, PA. She is double-majoring in Supply Chain and French and is a photographer and occasional writer for Onward State. She is an avid lover of weenie dogs, macaroni and cheese, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. She is also the Vice President of Lion Scouts and you'll often catch her running into things as she walks backwards around campus giving tours. To contact Mary Frances, email her at [email protected], or if you're feeling particularly generous, follow her on Twitter @maryfranny2.

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