Penn State Hoops Not Invited To 2021 NIT Tournament

Update, 9:57 p.m.: Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour released a statement Sunday night in support of the men’s basketball program.

Barbour’s statement confirms that the Nittany Lions were in fact not offered a bid in the NIT Tournament, and didn’t turn down an opportunity to play.

“They gave everything they had, every night!,” Barbour wrote. “The NIT not selecting them is a big miss, but they will persevere.”

Original Story: Penn State men’s basketball’s 2020-21 campaign has likely come to a close.

After finishing the season 11-14 and falling to Wisconsin in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, Jim Ferry’s group wasn’t invited to this year’s NIT Tournament.

An up-and-down campaign in college basketball’s toughest conference shut down any hope of Big Dance dreams for the Nittany Lions, but the NIT was still thought to be in the cards for Penn State. The usual 32-team tournament was cut down to 16 this year due to COVID-19 precautions, and Penn State was edged by other solid programs such as Memphis, Ole Miss, and Richmond.

The Nittany Lions finished the regular season strong with an impressive senior night win over Minnesota and a road victory over Maryland. Penn State stayed hot to open the Big Ten Tournament as it pulled off an electric comeback win over Nebraska, but was forced to an early exit with a second-round loss to Wisconsin.

Had Ferry’s team qualified, this would’ve been the Nittany Lions’ 12th all-time appearance in the NIT. Penn State won the tournament in its’ last two appearances, most recently a Championship Game victory over Utah in 2018 led by Tony Carr and then-sophomore Lamar Stevens. Before that, Talor Battle led Penn State to a win in the 2009 Championship Game over Baylor.

The program now faces a mountain of uncertainty this offseason. Penn State Athletics is expected to make a decision soon on whether it’ll move on from interim head coach Jim Ferry or keep him in a permanent role with the Nittany Lions.

Penn State seemed to be making a climb into national prominence last season under Pat Chambers, but COVID-19 halted a run at the NCAA Tournament. After that, Chambers resigned just weeks before the 2020-21 season following an internal investigation into alleged inappropriate conduct.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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