Penn State's NCAA Tournament hopes will live for at least another 24 hours as the Nittany Lions knocked off pesky Indiana 66-55 Thursday evening in their first round game at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
Jeff Brooks shook off a slow first half to lead Penn State in scoring with 15 points. He also tied for a team high with seven rebounds. Talor Battle never seemed to quite get in his groove, though he managed to finish with 13 points and Andrew Jones had a nice evening with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.
Penn State found itself behind at points in the first half but managed to rally to take a one point lead at halftime. At that point, Brooks and Battle had only five points each. Both played better in the second half to gut out a win, though, and so did Penn State on its way to a relatively comfortable win after some tense early moments.
Now, Penn State faces a quick turnaround as it will take on third-seeded Wisconsin at roughly 9 P.M. Friday evening for a spot in the tournament semifinals. The Lions defeated the Badgers at the end of January in State College, but the Badgers were dominant in a 76-66 win at the Kohl Center Feb. 20.
How the Lions perform in that game may very well determine their postseason destiny. A win likely puts them right in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. A loss means they'll be sitting on their hands on Selection Sunday, at best, and more likely, they'll be headed to the NIT.