Big Ten Tournament Central - Nittany Lions Take on Wolverines
March 13, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When the ball is tipped in the United Center at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday afternoon, a new season begins for the Nittany Lion basketball team.
Head coach Patrick Chambers and his Nittany Lions are headed to Chicago for the 2013 Big Ten Tournament. As the 12th-seed, Penn State faces fifth-seeded and sixth-ranked Michigan in Thursday's first round. The winner of the Penn State-Michigan game lives another day and advances to the quarterfinals for a date with Wisconsin. The team that does not advance heads home.
"I'm excited about the tournament and the excitement around it," said Chambers. "We're 0-0 right now in my mind and we have a lot to play for and a lot to fight for. It's the Big Ten - it's the best conference in America."
Playing an 18-game conference schedule, which included two matchups against the Wolverines, Chambers and his squad said that there are no real secrets between any Big Ten teams at this point in the season. That being said, the head coach knows that it will be important for his team to be at its best.
"Do your job today and live in the moment," said Chambers. "Forget the schedule, forget the record and forget all of that - it's gone. Work today, work tomorrow and see what we can do on Thursday."
Penn State's leading scorer, D.J. Newbill, could not agree more. Before practice on Tuesday, the sophomore guard said that he and the team want to keep moving forward and work to become the best they can be no matter when the season ends.
"We're confident right now," said Newbill. "We're playing fearless basketball and we're playing more together. We're just ready to go out there and play."
The Nittany Lions enter the tournament having won two their last four games, including a thrilling 84-78 victory over the Wolverines inside the Bryce Jordan Center. Sixth-ranked Michigan comes into the postseason having also won two of its last four and five of its last 10 after starting 2012-13 with 16-straight wins. Ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation on Jan. 28, the Wolverines dropped a one-point game against No. 2 Indiana in the regular season finale on Sunday.