Credit the Nittany Lions for shaking off the disappointment of an NCAA Tournament snub and making the most of their latest National Invitation Tournament appearance.
In its history, PSU is now 20-9 in 10 NITs, and its winning percentage of 68.9 is good for seventh place among teams that have played 25 or more games.
The success shouldn't be overly surprising.
Penn State recruits character kids, and character rises in the face of adversity. Almost none of the teams in high-profile conferences want to be in the NIT, and yet when Penn State has gotten there, it's performed well.
Tonight's matchup with Notre Dame will mark the Lions' fifth appearance in the NIT semifinals since 1989.
You could say it's about time they win the darn thing, and you'd be right.
State is 1-3 in the semifinals. When they did beat Georgia to get to the NIT championship game in 1998, they were limited by the loss of forward Jarrett Stephens, who was hurt against the Bulldogs, and the Nits wound up losing to fellow Big Ten brother Minnesota in the battle to proclaim "we're No. 65."
The Lions' chances this year would seem pretty good.
Penn State's administration is providing 17 buses for students making the trip - heck, JoePa is even scheduled to go, though it won't be on a bus - which should build atmosphere at Madison Square Garden.
Further, star guard Talor Battle is eager for a return to his home state, senior forward Jamelle Cornley has had a week to rest his ailing shoulder, and the team played as well at Florida in the NIT quarters as it has all year.
Notre Dame center Luke Harangody will be a tough matchup, and his presence alone may be why the Irish have been installed as a 3-point favorite.
In that regard, this is an interesting bragging-rights battle of conferences, the Big Ten vs. the Big East.
Both teams have great wins on their resumes, highlighted by Notre Dame crushing Louisville and the Lions winning at Michigan State.
The PSU-Irish winner will be expected to beat the survivor of the preliminary game between Baylor and San Diego State, a bridge Penn State will be only too happy to cross if it's fortunate enough to still be alive at this time tomorrow morning.
Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.