Staff Predictions: Penn State Hoops’ 2021-22 Season

We are just about 24 hours away from Penn State men’s basketball tipping off the 2021-22 season, and there is a lot of excitement buzzing around the program.

First-year head coach Micah Shrewsberry has done a great job of hyping up the fans for this season. He has also worked to build a competitive roster by bringing in five transfers and retaining stars like John Harrar and Seth Lundy.

Will this new look squad put together a winning season? Could postseason play be a possibility? Let’s see what our staff thinks.

Will Pegler: 16-15, NIT Appearance

Shrewsberry has done all the right things in his time at Penn State so far. The guy is likable, has embedded himself in Nittany Lion culture, and looks poised to win now. Whether or not Penn State does actually win right off the bat is a different matter, however. 

With all of the turnover the Nittany Lions have seen over this offseason, there will likely be some struggles out of the gate. I do see Penn State getting its feed under them eventually and winning some key Big Ten games, but that won’t be enough to slide into the Big Dance.

Penn State will compete and play well with talented transfers and a couple of veterans in John Harrar, Myles Dread, and Seth Lundy. This will be enough to make a fairly deep run in the Big Ten Tournament and a spot in the NIT. Shrewsberry is clearly building something here, but year one will hardly be a walk in the park at all times.

Owen Abbey: 17-14, NIT Appearance

Expect the unexpected. It is a common, almost over-used phrase. But in Penn State’s instance, I think it applies. No one expects this team to be that good, partially because there are so many questions surrounding them. But, I expect that it will shock the country with its performance.

Their schedule is tough, and they are already battling injuries to start the season, but there is just something about the Nittany Lions that inspires confidence in them. Maybe it’s Shrewsberry’s energy that he brings on and off the court, maybe it is seeing players like Harrar, Lundy, Myles Dread, and Sam Sessoms stay with the team. It may even be the fact that newcomers Jalen Pickett, Jaheam Cornwall, and Greg Lee seem like fun players to watch. Either way, it has made me ready to see how the team will all come together.

I think the Nittany Lions will exceed expectations and make a run in the NIT tournament. In a couple of seasons, we could be talking about them making a run in the NCAA Tournament. Every team has to start somewhere, though, and they are at as good of a starting place as any.

Ryan Parsons: 18-13, NCAA Bubble Bid

I’m gonna be “that guy.” I’m buying into Shrewsberry and this ragtag, senior-heavy group of hoopers to make a run at the NCAA Tournament this year. Coming off a weird 2020 campaign and with a new coach at the helm, the Nittany Lions are garnering a lot of buzz locally.

I think Penn State can come through non-conference play unscathed and build lots of momentum heading into the Big Ten gauntlet. Yes, this conference is stacked, but it’s often hard to gauge a team’s skill in the preseason. Anything can happen, and I’m buying in on the intangibles Shrewsberry seems to bring to the table.

It’s not likely that Penn State makes its first tournament appearance in 10 years during a head coach’s first year, but I think the Nittany Lions have brought in an effective group of transfers and retained key members of their core. Just look at how quickly Mel Tucker turned around Michigan State football by using the transfer portal. I’m bullish.

Keeley Lamm: 16-15, NIT Appearance

There are some seriously high expectations for Penn State, but I know the team can deliver. Micah Shrewsberry has lit a fire under not only his squad but the Nittany Lion fanbase as well. Students are ready for some Penn State basketball and the Bryce Jordan Center will be electric with a packed student section.

I anticipate the Nittany Lions to pick up several non-conference wins throughout the first few weeks up the season. Games will likely get tougher during Big Ten play, and Penn State will lose to some unexpected opponents but have at least two big upsets.

Ultimately, I think Shrewsberry is the right man for the job and I hope he can prove himself. Penn State basketball will finish the season with a winning record and an NIT appearance. The lineup has the momentum it needs heading into the season.

Nolan Wick: 17-14, NIT Appearance

In the middle of a coaching change and roster shakeup, it is hard to tell how good Penn State basketball will be under Shrewsberry in his first season. Public consensus is that Penn State won’t be very good, and reasonably so. However, Shrewsberry has a good track record, and this is a core made up of veteran players. So, I think the Nittany Lions will be a pleasant surprise by finishing above .500 and making an NIT appearance.

Mikey DeAngelis: 13-18, No Postseason

I’ve gotten to talk to Shrewsberry a couple of times now, and not only does he seem like a really great guy, but he also seems like a really passionate coach who cares about this program. That said, the Big Ten is a powerhouse basketball conference, and while I have extreme faith in his ability to turn this program around, I don’t know if he’ll be able to do it in his first season.

The Nittany Lions face some difficult out-of-conference opponents this season, including real challenges like VCU and Miami. However, the real struggle this season will be conference opponents that present a real challenge for Penn State. I think this team, built around returning players, is talented enough to make a run in a tournament, but not this year.

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