Penn State Basketball is trying to salvage its season after hitting an untimely rough patch.
Penn State Basketball received a much-needed boost in the arm on Wednesday when star player Jalen Pickett dropped 41 points in the win over Illinois.
Up until that point, the Nittany Lions had looked lifeless the past few weeks. They had lost four straight games and five of the last six. After being on the NCAA Tournament bubble, this was not ideal.
Pickett’s historic night brough the team back to life though and Penn State now sits with a 15-11 record with five regular season games left to play. The Nittany Lions probably need to win four of those games just to be back in the conversation.
The first of the five games will be this Saturday at Minnesota. Road games have not been easy for Penn State, but Minnesota is just 7-16 on the season, it’s a game that should be won, and needs to be.
The challenges only get tougher from there.
The Nittany Lions will stay on the road for their next game and face 11-15 Ohio State. The Buckeyes are having a surprisingly rough season and are just 8-5 at home. Still a respectable record, but they’re not unbeatable at home. Penn State has to dig deep and pull that one out.
Penn State will return home next Sunday to face Rutgers. Currently at 16-10, Rutgers looks poised to make the tournament. With that said, the Scarlet Knights are just 2-6 on the road, whereas Penn State is 12-2 at home. Again, this is a game the Nittany Lions should win.
The game after that is where Penn State will likely slip up. The Nittany Lions to travel to Northwestern to take on the red-hot Wildcats. Fresh off of a wins over Purdue and Indiana, Northwestern is 19-7 on the season and 12-4 at home. This team is peaking at the right time, winners of four straight, so that’s not good news for Penn State.
With that said, the Nittany Lions can probably afford to lose one game, take care of business elsewhere and this won’t hurt.
Penn State Basketball finishes the regular season at home against Maryland. The Terps are also peaking at the right time, as they just knocked off Purdue on Thursday night. Overall, Maryland is 18-8, but just 2-6 on the road. Homecourt advantage will be a huge factor in this one.
The numbers say Penn State has a legit shot at going 4-1 to finish the season, especially if Pickett stays locked in. Of course, this sounds good on paper, but the games need to be played.