Where Penn State Hoops Would Have Ended Up In March Madness

Now that Penn State sports are done for the rest of the school year, the awful void of not knowing what to watch or talk about has begun to sink in for many fans. One of the most notable losses is the March Madness tournament, which Penn State men’s basketball was poised to make for the first time since 2011.

So, what would have happened? What could have been for Penn State basketball? We compiled the most recent “bracketology” predictions from college basketball experts across the country, in an attempt to try and put together what the final bracket may have looked like.

Joe Lunardi, ESPN: No. 6 Seed

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, who was previously high on the Nittany Lions, updated his projections on Thursday, ahead of many conference tournaments which were slated for the day. Lunardi placed Penn State as a six seed in the East region, set to play either an 11-seeded NC State or UCLA in Albany.

This scenario would have worked out well for Penn State fans, as Albany was one of the closest regional locations to State College. Another fun tidbit about Lunardi’s scenario is that Villanova was also placed in the Albany region alongside the Nittany Lions. With both Penn State and Villanova likely advancing as the higher seed, this would have created a fun Pennsylvania March Madness matchup, especially with many Penn State students growing up in Philadelphia around Villanova basketball.

Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: No. 5 Seed

Jerry Palm, who works as a college basketball expert for CBS Sports, had Penn State poised to be a five seed in the West region. In this scenario, Penn State would face off with 12-seeded Stephen F. Austin in Sacramento. SFA infamously took down No. 1 Duke earlier in the season and put together a solid regular season which named them outright champions in the Southland conference.

Perhaps the Nittany Lions dodged a bullet by avoiding SFA in Palm’s scenario. Penn State fans would not be happy if they traveled to Sacramento only for the Lumberjacks to play spoiler.

Dave Ommen, NBCSports: No. 6 Seed

Ommen, who also updated his bracket predictions on Thursday morning, foresaw the Nittany Lions taking on either Texas Tech or NC State as a six seed in Albany. Again, this scenario would have proved to be fruitful for Penn State fans traveling to watch the team playing in the tournament.

Ommen also placed New Jersey school Seton Hall in the Albany region, which would have made for another fun Round of 32 matchup as both Seton Hall and Penn State attract students from similar geographical areas.

Chris Dobbertean, SB Nation: No. 6 Seed

Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation also poised the Nittany Lions to be a six seed, again playing in Albany. This scenario has Penn State playing either NC State or Texas in the round of 64. Just like Lunardi’s bracket, Dobbertean has Villanova in the same region as Penn State, again creating a must-watch matchup.

Perhaps a Pennsylvania March Madness matchup wouldn’t have been as fun as we imagine, as Temple proved to be the downfall of the Nittany Lions in the 2011 tournament. The Owls infamously defeated Penn State on a buzzer beater in the second round.

Had the tournament happened, most bracketologists agreed that Penn State would either have been a five or six seed in March Madness. A majority of scenarios also pinned the Nittany Lions to be playing in Albany, which would have proved to be convenient for fans in Pennsylvania. All we can really say ask is: “What could have been?”

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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