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Cornley leads the way

Jamelle Cornley is the leader of this upstart Penn State basketball team, and his team is on the doorstep of the NCAA tourney as he returns for a final time to Columbus.

All eyes will be on Cornley, and cheers will be loud from Happy Valley.

A win in Columbus and these road warriors will be close, so very close, to punching their first March Madness ticket since 2001.

But one game at a time, and I hope the Bryce Jordan Center is packed to the rafters for the final two home games -- Saturday against Indiana and the following Thursday facing Illinois.

Eight years is a long time, and this team is in position to get to the Big Dance after a questionable early season slate made it seem impossible. But big wins -- beautiful to Nittany Lions' hoops fans, perhaps ugly to others -- have improved their RPI in a big way and the Big Ten's reputation has been growing by the week.

It's all good for Penn State and Cornley, provided they continue their winning ways. I think they need three out of four as the season closes, but let's stick with one game at a time. Can't wait to see Cornley face the Buckeyes in his home town. 

He is the heart of the Lions, and that becomes oh so clear in Jeff Rice's story today.  Best wishes to the senior leader and his teammates who are bringing back 2001 Sweet Sixteen memories every time they play.