ESPN bracketology update not favorable to Lady Lions after loss to Iowa

There may not be any shame in losing to Iowa and Caitlin Clark in the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament, but the manner in which the Penn State Lady Lions were ousted by the Hawkeyes may have been enough to pop Penn State’s NCAA tournament bubble.

ESPN women’s basketball bracketology update from Charlie Creme, which was updated on Saturday morning the day after Penn State’s lopsided Big Ten quarterfinal loss at the hands of Iowa, moved Penn State from being the last team in the tournament to among the first four out. With selection day still a week away, there could be some help for Penn State to come out of the remaining conference tournaments going on around the country, although this latest bracketology update does not appear to see much help being made available for the Lady Lions and their NCAA tournament hopes.

The last four teams in, according to Creme’s bracket update, are all from the SEC (Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State) or the Pac-12 (Arizona), and all of those conference tournaments fell in sync with the Big Ten tournament.

There is also one other team ahead of Penn State among the first four teams out, which is Green Bay. Green Bay is the no. 2 seed in the Horizon League tournament and is scheduled to play in the conference tournament’s semifinal game on Monday. A win would send Green Bay to the Horizon League championship game, which could lead to an automatic berth. But even if Green Bay captures an automatic bid, Penn State would likely still have to climb in front of the Horizon League’s top seed, Cleveland State, to get in. Cleveland State is sitting on a 13-seed in Creme’s latest bracket forecast.

Penn State was eliminated from the Big Ten conference championship tournament by Iowa with a 95-62 loss. The lopsidedness of the final score is pretty damaging, especially for a team that went on an untimely 2-6 skid at the end of the regular season leading into the Big Ten tournament. Penn State beating Iowa likely would have helped Penn State gain a stronger foot inside the NCAA tournament, and a respectable loss could have been enough to keep them a bit more in the mix. But a 33-point loss is tough to overcome in the final game of a season.

But the fate is in the hands of the NCAA selection committee now. We will find out in a week whether or not time can heal enough wounds for the Lady Lions and keep NCAA tournament hopes alive or if the NIT may be the more likely destination.

Follow Kevin McGuire on Threads, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire