Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nittany Lions Head to NIT Finals

Though the some fans remain disappointed about the Penn State basketball team being left out of the NCAA Tournament, the players seem to be fine. Sure, they would have loved to be in the field but more than likely their postseason play would have lasted a game, maybe two. In the NIT things have been different.

After a scare versus George Mason to open the tournament, Penn State has controlled their games. Sure there was some shoddy play in the first half against Florida, but they won. And that's all that matters. Last night in Madison Square Garden versus Notre Dame - a team once ranked 7th in the nation and part of the heralded Big East Conference - the team played with passion and a sense of urgency.

Penn State beat the Fighting Irish 67-59 in front of thousands of Penn State fans. The ESPN announcing crew, who at one point was interviewing Joe Paterno, stated that the university had chartered 17 buses to get fans to New York. The Nittany Lions dominated the first half, leading 31-18 at the break. Notre Dame's 18 points in the half tied a season low. The Penn State defense was stifling and the Irish players shots were off the mark. In the first half at least.

Halfway through the second half Penn State led by 17. Five minutes later the lead was 3. Fortunately Penn State woke up and was able to hold on for the win and a berth in the 2009 NIT Finals. Penn State will face Baylor, who beat San Diego State, on Thursday at 7 PM for the NIT Championship.

Sure the NIT is a consolation prize. But don't tell the players. Jamelle Cornley, Stanley Pringle, Talor Battle, and the rest of the team are playing their best basketball at the best time. Now they can do something that Penn State has never done - win a postseason title.

PSU Holds Off Domers, Advances to NIT Championship Game | Nittany White Out
Men's Basketball in NIT Final | Nittanydelphia
Penn State Downs Notre Dame - Advances to NIT Finals | Black Shoe Diaries
Battle, Jones Lead Penn State to NIT Title Game | ESPN

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