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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Land At No. 20 In Latest AP Poll

by on January 06, 2020 12:55 PM

Penn State basketball bumped up one spot to No. 20 in the latest AP Poll following a 89-86 victory over then No. 23 Iowa in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions (12-2, 2-1) had been ranked No. 20 earlier in the season before scarce play in late December saw a same shuffling in the Top 25 with Penn State "falling" to No. 21.

Across the Big Ten the Michigan State Spartans round out the ranked teams at No. 8 while Ohio State sits at No. 11 with Maryland at No. 12. Michigan is one spot ahead of Penn State at the No. 19 spot in the Top 25. Iowa is the first team out of the rankings.

While the Top 25 provides fans and teams with some larger context and entertainment, the NET rankings, an evaluation tool of the NCAA selection committee rates the Nittany Lions at No. 17, the fourth highest Big Ten team in the system. While the NET does not hold the same commercial appeal of the Top 25, its guidance in the tournament committee's selection process is perhaps more important and significant for the Nittany Lions' postseason hopes. 

The NCAA Evaluation Tool, which will be known as the NET, relies on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.

In short, Penn State is already a tournament team by the numbers and will likely have to go somewhere in the neighborhood of .500 in Big Ten play to punch its ticket to the dance.

The Nittany Lions are back in action against Rutgers on Tuesday night before returning home to face Wisconsin on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights are 2-1 in Big Ten play but will be without second leading scorer Geo Baker who is out indefinitely with a thumb injury. Rutgers beat Nebraska without his services this past Friday. 

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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