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Lion Dance

By: Andrew Grimm 3/11/09

Thursday morning the Pennsylvania State Men’s basketball team is going to wake up with the opportunity to win their 2nd Big Ten tournament game in the past seven years. The Nittany Lions enter the tourney with their highest seed in program history at the 6th spot. 2009 Big Ten Coach of the Year Ed DeChellis has brought a new found excitement to the University and he hopes to solidify PSU’s spot in next week’s Big Dance with a win over 11th seeded Indiana University (6-24, 1-17 Big Ten). Led by 1st team All-Big Ten guard Talor Battle, this squad will look to jump out early on an Indiana team that has only one win since December. Battle and 2nd team All-Big Ten forward Jamelle Cornley will try to quiet the Bloomington, Indiana crowd and prevent them from chanting their infamous line, “Hoooo-sier Daaadd-dy?”

After wins this season against four ranked opponents, the Nittany Lions are playing with an inspiring swagger, one that had been missing over the past decade. Regardless of how they do in their conference tournament the 21-10 (10-8 in conference) Lions should have a resume worthy of receiving an at large bid to the NCAA tournament. There is no way the committee can leave them out, not with road wins against then #6 Michigan State and at a ranked Illinois. Tomorrow at 5pm on ESPN2 this young squad, who sports over a half dozen underclassmen in their rotation, will prove that they are for real and that the football team won’t be the only players feeling rosy in Happy Valley.

If the Lions can handle the inept Hoosiers they will tilt with Purdue on Friday, a team they split with this year, in a second round match-up. As it stands Penn State will probably land as an 11 or 12 seed after Selection Sunday. I do not believe in RPI’s so I won’t bore you with that number. What I will tell you is that this special group of ballers is hungry and while they might not be chowin’ on nylon in early April, they are more than capable of making a few teams look like fools.