116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
OK, Penn State's men's basketball program has a ways to go to get back to where it was at the end of last season, which was the NCAA tournament.
The Nittany Lions, who play Iowa Thursday night in State College, are 3-10 in the Big Ten, 11-15 overall.
But while trying to learn a little bit about their team, I came across an item on Penn State first-year coach Pat Chambers that made me think he must be an OK guy.
Penn State has had a season-long promotion that if it scores 70 points in a home game, ticket-holders get a free Big Mac at a local McDonald's. Last Saturday, the Nittany Lions were in the unfamiliar position of having a comfortable late lead against a Big Ten foe. They had 67 points with 2:22 left of their eventual 67-51 win over Nebraska, and Chambers pulled his starters.
It's called sportsmanship. But it also cost the fans their free burgers when the Lions weren't able to score again.
So on Wednesday, Chambers went behind the counter of the McDonald's on State College's College Avenue to give free Big Macs to the first 200 fans with ticket stubs from that game, or who were wearing Nittany Nation shirts.
A nice gesture, and a smart one. In a lean year, that buys goodwill with the fans. And, Chambers told all those fans this:
"Make the Jordan Center your home tomorrow night. We'd love to have your support."
If a lot of people are eating free late Thursday night in State College, the Hawkeyes probably won't have done their jobs as well as Chambers did his on Wednesday afternoon.