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Friday, April 3, 2009

Congratulations to Penn State...but not really

Congratulations to the Penn State Nittany Lions Basketball team for winning the NIT over Baylor last night at MSG. You are the top team of all the teams not considered as top teams by NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. By winning all of those high stressed tournament games, you have proven that not only can you beat good teams not wanting to be there, that you can do so without anyone noticing. All that you managed to do was prolong the inevitable, ending the season out of the Tournament. Fifty or sixty years ago, the National Invitational Tournament meant a great deal, unfortunately you are fifty or sixty years too late. No one will remember that the Nittanies beat George Mason in OT, or that you crushed Notre Dame. In fact, no one will remember who won the NIT in 2009 by the time July rolls around, let alone remember next year. Think of it this way, you are not the runner up to Miss America, you were runner up to the chick who went to the pageant to become runner up.

It’s shameful, I know, but despite you 27-11 record, how many Penn State basketball fans can deem this season a success? Winning the NIT may get you a banner to hang in the Bryce Jordan Center, but the fact that the team failed to add to its lowly eight appearances in the big dance diminishes the value of the season on the whole. But what can you do? You play the schedule you have, and you have to win the games you can. But now that win against NJIT is wasted, and as a matter of fact, that win probably didn’t help, particularly in the RPI. Needless to say, all of the patsies that Penn State beat got them no closer to the big dance than that win against Final Four participant Michigan State did. And Penn State is not the only one. A bunch of teams play walkovers at the beginning of the season in an effort to prepare for conference play and to enhance the record. And if you were in the Big East, you wouldn’t have gotten a sniff of a whiff of tourney consideration. Overall, the Lions probably didn’t deserve to make it to the big dance and probably shouldn’t celebrate the NIT win either. To win a consolation bracket is hardly to have won at all.

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