The 2019-20 Penn State Men’s Basketball season will tip-off on Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center vs. Maryland Eastern Shore.
It isn’t hard to make the argument that Penn State basketball is headed into its most pivotal season in recent memory. Why? The Nittany Lions haven’t made the tournament in the Pat Chambers’ era (since 2011) despite bringing in six of Penn State’s top recruits of all-time: Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, Josh Reaves, Mike Watkins, Myles Dread, and Myreon Jones.
The good news for Penn State? Four of those six players are returning this season. Two of those four, Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins, are seniors, and bring the necessary experience to the table to win games against high-level opponents.
The bad news for Penn State? The team lost two key pieces from last season, Josh Reaves and Rasir Bolton. Reaves graduated after a phenomenal career, where he was the ultimate glue guy for the Nittany Lions. He won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season, and averaged 10.6 PPG, shooting 35.6% from beyond the arc.
Rasir Bolton averaged 11.6 PPG last season as a true freshman but transferred to Iowa State. Bolton only shot 38.3% from the field and averaged 2.6 turnovers per game, which definitely hurt Penn State in some games, but his development was expected to take a step forward the season.
This combination of good and bad news for Penn State has left the media split on the Nittany Lions to start the season. No one seems to be able to agree on where the team should be ranked.
Pennstatehoops.com set up a document showing where several members of the media have the Nittany Lions ranked coming into the season on a national scale and Big Ten scale. Here are some of the notable rankings.
- KenPom: 43
- ESPN BPI: 24
- Andy Katz: 30
- Jon Rothstein: 37
- Matt Norlander: 74
- Sports Illustrated: 50
- Sagarin: 44
- Barttorvik: 19
Here’s my preview of the roster, schedule, and keys to success for a Penn State team that desperately needs to make the NCAA Tournament.