To be clear, there is but one step left to ascend this season. It all goes down tonight on hallowed and cherished ground known to basketball fans worldwide as “The Garden.” Penn State B-Ball has one last team to conquer. They’re still CLIMBING, and the final goal, at least for now, is cutting down the nets in New York City as NIT Champions.
Against all odds, Pat Chambers and the Nittany Lions have run the gauntlet unscathed and now face the Utah Utes (insert My Cousin Vinny memes at will) for the whole kit and caboodle. Tip-off is at 7 pm and the game will be televised on ESPN2 for those that can’t make it to the Big Apple. To put it all in perspective, there are a grand total of six teams left standing in college basketball today and with a robust 25 wins on their resume, WE ARE one of them.
Not only are we still standing, though, we’ve been thriving and doing so without our big man and rim protector Mike Watkins. Newly anointed “Three-Point King,” Shep Garner, has rained daggers on opponents; Tony Carr has been busy doing Tony Carr-things; Lamar Stevens has flexed his muscles; Josh Reaves has been a bundle of energy; freshman Jon Harrar has more than made his presence known down low. This has all added up to a lethal combination that has been impossible to overcome throughout the post-season. Most especially over the past three games as Penn State has not relinquished a lead beyond the early stages of the first quarter since that opening game struggle versus Temple. It’s been a run unlike any we’ve seen in basketball and it all culminates tonight in the championship round.
Not long after Penn State completely annihilated Mississippi State late-Tuesday night to wrap up an 85-70 victory and a trip to the finals, the forecast made an abrupt change as the call for a WhiteOut emerged on Penn State-related social media pages. It evoked shades of fall Saturdays and James Franklin, but who’s to argue since the aforementioned has been one of the Nittany Lions biggest fans this season? Considering all the excitement this squad has given us on what’s been a roller-coaster ride of a season, it’s the least we can do to oblige. Win, lose, or draw, the statement has already been made. The Nittany Lions did not pout nor hang their heads after being left on the outside looking in of the big dance. Instead, they rallied and ran roughshod over the competition with only Utah standing in the way of tournament perfection. So, fill those streets of New York, Nittany Nation, climb with them one last time, and for goodness sake, WEAR WHITE!