A HUGE week for PSU Hoops

March 4, 2009 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

Penn State basketball fans of every stripe have reason to be excited this week, starting with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball championships. The Fayette and Greater Allegheny campuses are hosting the USCAA tournament, which features six Penn State campus squads. The Penn State Beaver women’s team tips things off at 11 a.m. today, the first of 49 games covering three divisions (two men’s, one women’s) that run through Saturday’s back-to-back-to-back title games at Fayette. (Check here for ticket info, or here to follow the results.)

Back in the Division 1 ranks, the Lady Lion basketball team opens Big Ten Tournament play Thursday night in Indianapolis. It’s been a disappointing season for Penn State, which needs to win the conference tournament to have any hope of postseason play. Tuesday brought some consolation, though: junior guard Tyra Grant was named first-team All-Big Ten.

Jamelle Cornley

Jamelle Cornley

The real buzz at University Park this week surrounds the Nittany Lion men, who rest firmly on the bubble for their first NCAA tournament berth since 2001. With two regular-season games left before the Big Ten men’s tournament tips off next week, Ed DeChellis’ team boasts that most favorable of sports cliches — they control their own destiny. A win Thursday night against No. 23 Illinois (which wouldn’t be a huge upset, since Penn State beat the Illini two weeks ago in one of the ugliest games anyone can remember) would give the Nittany Lions a terrific shot at making the Big Dance. No wonder some are calling this the biggest Penn State home game in almost 20 years.

If nothing else, it’s the last home game for senior forward and team leader Jamelle Cornley, whose toughness while battling bigger opponents and a long string of injuries has made him a favorite of every long-time Penn State hoops follower. Few would appreciate — or deserve — an NCAA tourney invite more than Cornley.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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