Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



Penn State Hockey’s Shot At A Third Consecutive NCAA Tournament Bid

No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey’s chance at making the 16-team NCAA tournament took a critical blow over the weekend.

The Nittany Lions’ split against Wisconsin gives them a 17 percent chance of qualifying for the big dance entering the final weekend of the regular season. Head coach Guy Gadowsky’s team has a five percent chance at earning an at-large bid, so winning the Big Ten (a 12 percent chance) is Penn State’s most likely route to the NCAA tournament.

As it stands, the team’s probability of qualifying for its third consecutive NCAA tournament isn’t looking good. Any miraculous run to the tournament will have to start and end with two victories against No. 17 Notre Dame this weekend.

Depending on other results, a sweep could go a long way toward helping Penn State earn an at-large bid. If fellow bubble squads like UMass-Lowell, Western Michigan, and Bowling Green all lose their series this weekend, the winner of Penn State and Notre Dame’s series could sneak up into one of the top 16 spots in the PairWise rankings.

There’s just one problem: This weekend’s series will be played in South Bend, where the Nittany Lions are just 1-3-1 in program history. That one win was in the 2016-17 season and sparked an 11-game winning streak, but the three Penn State losses at Compton Family Ice Arena all came last season.

On top of the NCAA tournament position, this weekend’s series between the Nittany Lions and the Fighting Irish is crucial for seeding in the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State already clinched the regular season conference title and home-ice advantage throughout the tournament, but no other position in the conference is set entering the final weekend of play.

Like nearly every team in the Big Ten not called the Buckeyes, Penn State can finish this weekend in any position from No. 2 to No. 7 in the conference standings. The team needs to take at least four points from the Fighting Irish this weekend to enter the top four of the conference standings and, in turn, host the first round of the conference tournament.

Hosting games in the Big Ten tournament would go a long way toward helping Penn State rack up precious victories before the NCAA tournament field is set, but winning the conference for the second time in three seasons is still a daunting task. A conference title would definitely require winning on the road against someone like Ohio State.

That said, no one thought Penn State could win three games in three days at the 2017 Big Ten tournament to secure a spot in the Big Dance, either. In all likelihood, the Nittany Lions won’t play for a national championship this season, but the possibility of a third-straight NCAA tournament bid isn’t totally dead just yet.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

‘I’m Not Satisfied With It Thus Far’: Penn State Football’s Mike Yurcich Unhappy With Offensive Inefficiency

Penn State football’s offense is running out of time to improve before Ohio State.

Brainstorming Penn State-Inspired Jumbotron Distractions

Inspired by Maryland jumbotron distraction tactics, we brainstormed a few options Beaver Stadium could implement to ice the kicker.

‘Working Hard And Having Fun’: Penn State Men’s Hockey Captain Christian Berger Leading Team With Grit & Tradition

Penn State’s newest captain inherits a team mired by turnover amid heightened expectations entering the season.

Follow on Another Platform
Other posts by Mikey

What About The Class Of 2020?

On the heels of concrete plans for the Class of 2021, last year’s seniors still feel hung out to dry.

Dive In: Mikey Mandarino’s Senior Column

Penn State Hockey’s Peyton Jones Signs Two-Year Contract With AHL’s Colorado Eagles