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Penn State Basketball: No Longer the Laughing Stock of the Big Ten

By: Ben Davis

The Nittany Lions are having a resurgent season under a stout head coach and a core of young, fast players.

Hint: it’s not Joe Paterno, or the famous trio of Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood, that have departed the football program.

Enter head coach Ed DeChellis, guard Talor Battle and company. These names, all but unfamiliar around the Penn State campus until this season, have helped the basketball team reach new heights.

Often over-shadowed--literally and figuratively--by Beaver Stadium and the football team, the Basketball program has reached twenty wins and a possible tournament berth with their most recent win over Indiana. With two games remaining on their schedule against Illinois and Iowa, along with the Big Ten tournament, things are certainly looking up.

Consider that this was roughly the same team who managed a meager 15 wins in the previous season, and 11 in 2006. Flashes of brilliance were shown with upsets of Michigan State, and Indiana--But could anyone have seen this coming?

DeChellis deserves a vast amount of credit for the turnaround of the program, but has also built the team to last. Certainly the team will miss forward Jamelle Cornley and guard Stanley Pringle-both seniors-but three of their five starters return along with talented recruits coming in. The most valuable asset to the team, Battle, is only a sophomore along with most of his teammates.

To go from the bottom of the Big Ten conference to an NCAA Tournament team is no small feat. Critics will point out a weak conference in the Big Ten, lack of depth, and uneven play. Anyone who watches the Lions though, knows that all the talent is in place for the team to make the NCAA tournament. The talent is enough to even provide fans with some hope for wins in the first or second round.