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What Penn State needs to do to get into 2023 NCAA Tournament

We go over what the Nittany Lions need to accomplish in their conference tournament to help secure a spot in March Madness.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The Penn State Nittany Lions sit on the bubble ahead of their season-ending games against Northwestern and Maryland. Two big challenges lie ahead as they finish out conference play. Penn State sits at 10th in Big Ten standings and 60th in the NCAA NET rankings — a shaky spot for their 2023 NCAA Tournament hopes. ESPN projects them in the Next Four Out — essentially, in the bottom half of the eight teams closest to knocking on the tournament’s door— while CBS has them in the First Four Out. How can Penn State make it to March?

Bubble Watch

Penn State is joined in the Next Four Out by Utah State and Texas Tech. Michigan, Clemson, UNC, and Oklahoma State are all ahead in the First Four Out, ready to pounce on a spot that opens up if a team just barely on the inside messes up this week.

What teams losing would help Penn State?

Teams: Utah State, Michigan, Clemson, UNC

Penn State has a very tough schedule ahead of them and a steep wall to climb if they hope to qualify for the tournament. These four teams are all ahead of them in the first four out and the next four out. They have to hope that a few teams in the last four in lose as well as several teams in their own range, and that they are able to beat two of the best teams in their conference. Michigan, who shares a conference with Penn State, could potentially open up the biggest hole for the Nittany Lions to sneak through. If UNC and Clemson both sputter out early in the tournament and the Lions make a go of it, that could be a good sign.

Will Penn State get in?

There is just too much that they don’t control here. As seen above, there are quite a few factors that would need to fall into place in order for Penn State to even have a chance, and that’s considering they’re able to beat Northwestern and Maryland. The climb may be too steep this late into the season.

Verdict: No.