I’m still on cloud nine over Sunday’s gritty effort of a win by the Fighting DeChellises, despite missing their “yin” and “yang” down low (I’m talking about Geary Claxton and Jamelle Cornley, of course). I’m also shocked over the fact that Jeff Brooks finally showed up to play (12 pts, 6 rebs) and that we ended up winning despite Stanley Pringle and Talor Battle shooting a combined 4-for-27 from the floor.
Perhaps the biggest attention-drawer (aside from beating a Top 25 IU squad) was the fact that Pat Riley, the prime candidate for the NBA’s inaugural “When The Going Gets Tough, I Take A Leave Of Absence” award was in town…Presumably to scout Brandon Hassell (EDIT: If you don’t follow PSU basketball that closely, then this joke probably made as much as sense as Dennis Miller’s stand-up comedy. I just thought I’d make clear that this was an elaborate attempt at dry, sarcastic, humor…We now return to your regularly scheduled blog post)
Rumor has it that Pat Riley can summon “Captain Planet” with all those rings
Two nagging, million-dollar questions have emerged in the 48 hours since the upset:
- Is Ed DeChellis’ job safe for at least another year?
- Do we have a legitimate shot at the NIT?
The answer to the first question is a resounding “YES.” Despite losing Claxton 3 games into the Big Ten slate and with Cornley playing at 75-80% at best before opting for season-ending surgery, we manged to garner 7 conference wins…The same number of conference wins we had the last time we made it to the Big Dance in 2001. Even though I am still not sold on DeChellis being the answer to taking this program to the next level: To fire him now would be asinine, and would scare away any coach who cares about their career, thinking that the AD has highly unrealistic expectations for a school with scant basketball tradition.
That’s right: The Crispin brothers were leading the way the last time Penn State basketball finished somewhere near the middle of the Big Ten pack
As for the NIT: Forget about it. Since the NCAA bought the rights to the NIT a couple years ago, the selection criteria has drastically changed:
- Regular-season conference champs from the smaller conferences who fail to make the NCAA tourney are now automatically in the NIT
- The field was reduced last year from 40 to 32 teams
- Criteria similar to NCAA tournament selection is now used to pick the at-large qualifiers (particularly stats like RPI, quality wins, last 10 games record, etc.). Unlike in the past, when name recognition and conference affiliation could get a .500 overall team from a major conference in over a 25-win team from a shitty conference, the reverse scenario is more likely to occur.
- Thus, that 15-14 PSU squad a couple years ago that made it to the NIT would have practically no chance of getting in under the current selection criteria…The same goes for this year’s 15-15 squad and their current RPI of 148: The lowest RPI for an at-large NIT team last year was Toledo at 97.
Anyway, stay tuned for what could be the final edition of this year’s “Contest” when Rants From the District and I make predictions for Illinois: Part III. Hopefully our tie will be broken, as we’d both hate to end the year in a draw…