Nittany Nation, welcome to the roaring twenties! 2020 to be exact. The dawn of a new decade and a new era. Football, you ask? Hibernating. Although I remind you the off-season never sleeps. No, I’m here today to rally around the Nittany Lions of the hardcourt. Basketball that is. “To the hoop y’all, it’s basketball,” in the best Kurtis Blow impression I could muster. It’s been a little while since we toppled the Turtles and rolled the Tide, but now that Christmas and New Years have come and gone, it’s time to regain our focus. Penn State jumps headfirst back into conference play on Saturday as a showdown with Iowa looms. As ‘football’ as that sounds, it’s not as both squads come in with Top 20 pedigrees, looking to make some major noise as 2020 begins.
To make matters more exciting, this one takes place at the famed Palestra in Philly in what’s sure to amount to a ‘home away from home’ game for Pat Chambers and the Nittany Lions. Trying to find a last-minute ticket? Good luck! It’s been sold out for at least a week. Now, when’s the last time you heard those words associated with Penn State Basketball? I’m going out on a limb here but I don’t think those tickets got snatched up by a throng of midwest-Hawkeyes making a post-New Years trip to the east coast, so I fully expect to see the City of Brotherly Love all decked out in blue and white. After all, it is Penn State that made a conscious effort to create that Philly-pipeline that has scratched and clawed its way to where it stands today. Look no further than our elder statesmen, Lamar Stevens and Big Mike Watkins as proof, as well as true freshman Seth Lundy who’s already making noise coming off the bench.
So it only seems right that as we begin our March to Madness, we make a quick pit stop and pay homage to the city that has had as big a hand as any in this climb. The storyline is not new as this climb has been many years in the making, but a chance to showcase a Top 20 Big Ten showdown on one of basketball’s historic floors is no small feat. Penn State comes in 11-2 overall and ranked No. 21 after handling non-conference business over the holidays by throttling both Central Connecticut State and Cornell. Iowa stands at 10-3 overall, ranked No. 23. A win by either will go a long way in the log-jammed Big Ten Conference standings, but a win by the Nittany Lions in front of the eyes of Philly will go a long way towards maintaining that recruiting pipeline for years to come. Tip-off is at 2 pm and the game will be shown live on BTN. Welcome to the roaring twenties, Nittany Nation, where madness is our goal!