Penn State Wins NIT Championship

Phil KohenCorrespondent IApril 2, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 02: Josh Lomers #50 of the Baylor Bears contests a rebound with Andrew Jones #22 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the NIT Championship match at Madison Square Garden on April 2, 2009 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Now that's something you don't read everyday: PENN STATE BASKETBALL CHAMPS?!

As the picture above indicates, the Nittany Lions were reaching for basketball supremacy at the NIT Tournament.

That's right, read it and weep. As an alumni of PENN STATE UNIVERSITY, Class of '86, I have done my share of rooting for Penn State by way of the gridiron. 

But on the hardwood?

Sure, there will be those who say that the NIT is not as big a deal as "The Big Dance." But remember, at one time however, the NIT was the ONLY dance in town.

Anyways, you don't tell that to the 36 bus loads of students and Joe Paterno who made the trek to Madison Square Garden immediately following the win in South Bend, Indiana against Notre Dame.

I have spent many college basketball seasons rooting for my wife's almamater, The Syracuse Orangemen, during this time of year. As the great Jackie Gleason used to say, "How sweet it is."

Penn State was not invited to "the other dance" because other schools received invites that many argued did not deserve being invited in the first place.  Arizona was the biggest name that came up in that discussion.

For the longest time I used to joke that " Nittany Lions couldn't hit the broadside of the ocean if they were standing on Gilligan's Island!"

Tonight, there are no better words for me to swallow than those.