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Q&A: Barbour on Chambers’ future, facility upgrades, Pitt

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Athletic director Sandy Barbour. - AUDREY SNYDER / DKPS

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Penn State men's basketball coach Pat Chambers is in the midst of his seventh season and despite last week's 71-70 loss to Rider, athletic director Sandy Barbour isn't hitting the panic button on the program.

At least not publicly. Barbour, who met with the media Thursday for the first time since July, reiterated a stance she took last spring when asked what Chambers' program needs to prove this season in order for her to be reassured that he's the best candidate for the job and that this program is trending upward. She insists there isn't any extra pressure on Chambers this season.

"First of all, and I said it before, there's nobody putting more pressure on Patrick than Patrick himself as a competitor and that's true of all of us," Barbour said. "I don't think anything has changed from the conversations I had with Patrick over the summer to those I've had with you all. Where we need to see progress is in the Big Ten, is in our schedule. Obviously we played the two early games and had a great win at Iowa, little bit disappointing loss at home to Wisconsin, but that entire Big Ten schedule is ahead of us. I think we've got a great chance to make noise in the Big Ten and do something in the postseason.

Other highlights from Barbour's media session, her first with reporters since July:

Q: After this season played out since we asked you in July as well, has anything changed your mind about non-conference scheduling? 

A: "Yeah, that's probably the biggest challenge. I've been asked a lot in the last month if I think that the Playoff Committee got it right, is the Playoff structured correctly. From an institutional standpoint I still think the biggest challenge is what signals does the committee send, what guidance is the College Football Playoff giving us from a non-conference scheduling standpoint because obviously what we want to do is put ourselves in the best position to be selected every year, to be in the conversation to be selected. I will say this: I think there have been mixed signals. That does make it difficult giving us direction. I think given that we're now in year four and the Pac-12 has been left out twice, the Big 12 has been left out twice -- not represented, obviously in a four-team playoff somebody is going to be left out -- and now the Big Ten this year, there's going to be some conversations and there should be. There always should be conversations and refinement. From a Penn State centered perspective, one of the main things I'm looking for is guidance around what we need to do from a non-conference schedule to put ourselves in the best position to be in the conversation to be selected."

Q: What were those mixed signals?

A: "I just think in the last couple of years, I think the first two years they were fairly consistent and let's also not forget, this committee is turning over. I don't think the number is even and set the same every year. I think there are six members going off of this committee at the end of this year so that will be pretty significant turnover. ... I think the first couple years the signal was around strength of schedule and the last two years I think the signal was a little more iffy."

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