12. Penn State (8-7, 2-2)
Last year was pretty magical for the Nittany Lions, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over a decade and even won a game while there. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry and star Jalen Pickett are both gone and they aren’t the only ones. Penn State is certainly rebuilding this season under new coach Mike Rhoades, so it’s little surprise to find them at this point on the list.
The Nittany Lions stockpiled wins against weak nonconference foes, but finished 8th in the ESPN Events Invitational and lost by nine points at home to Bucknell. This was part of a 5-game losing streak that reminded us that Penn State is certainly in rebuilding mode. A blowout loss at Michigan State last week further cemented that point, though the Nittany Lions did secure a nice win against Michigan a few days later.
Rhoades took former VCU star Ace Baldwin Jr. with him and he’s been solid for the Nittany Lions, though this ragtag roster (which includes a great scorer in Kanye Clary) has their work cut out for them. They’ve shown signs of promise, but the results are pretty clear. Penn State can win games at home, having already beaten Ohio State as well, but it’s hard to imagine them getting enough of those performances to actually compete in this league.