NCAA Dreams, Shattered and Still Alive
I felt terrible Thursday for the guys on the Penn State basketball team, but as someone who has closely followed the team this season, straddling the line between media member and unabashed fan, I didn’t actually feel that bad myself. To lose an NCAA first-round game that way—on a contested last-second shot against Temple—was brutal, but it’s also what makes the tournament great. All those shining moments and fantastic finishes inevitably leave one side feeling crushed.
On Thursday, Penn State was just one of a few teams to see its season end in the dying seconds. There will be many more over the next couple of weeks. Had the Nittany Lions gotten the ball last, we’d be talking about their chances Saturday to pull a bigger upset and make the Sweet 16. That’s how it goes.
Consolation? Well, sure, in a sense. As Talor Battle (pictured), moments after the final game of his remarkable career, summed up, “For the rest of my life, I’ll know that we didn’t just come out here and get beat. It took a heck of a shot to beat us.”
Penn State athletes are far from done in NCAA competition, though. The Big Ten champion wrestling team was in first place after the first day of the three-day NCAA championship tournament, placing seven wrestlers into the quarterfinals of the winner’s bracket. As of early Friday afternoon, the Lions had four wrestlers through to the semis, and looked to be locked in an extremely tight battle with Cornell in the team standings. It should come down to the wire on Saturday night.
And on Saturday morning, the sixth-seeded Lady Lion basketball team opens NCAA play with an 11 a.m. tipoff against Dayton at the Bryce Jordan Center. You can find more information here.
Ryan Jones, senior editor