The last remaining piece of the hoops schedule was announced by the Big Ten today, as it released the full conference schedule. Penn State's single-play opponents were already known from last year (Ohio State, Michigan State, at Minnesota, and at Northwestern), but the conference season is just as much when and where you play as well. In a conference as good as the Big Ten, you are obviously going to play your share of heavyweights, but what coaches analyze are those four-road-games-in-five stretches that can make or break a season.
Penn State gets to enjoy another season of their favorable single-play draw from last year when Nebraska joined the fold. OSU, MSU and Minnesota all seemed to destined to be in the top half of the league again. They will also play Nebraska twice as they breaking in their new coach Tim Miles. There's nothing to complain about with regard to who PSU has to play.
However, this marks the fourth straight year where Penn State was given the amazing opportunity to start conference play on the road. They will begin their journey in the always pleasant Kohl Center against Wisconsin. The conference did cut PSU a little slack at least. Unlike the past two years, their second game will be their home opener. But wait, it will be against possibly the #1 team in the country, the Indiana Hoosiers.
Despite starting on the road, the first half of the Lions conference schedule is front-loaded with home games. Six of PSU's back nine are on the road, including four of the last six. Their '4-road-games-in-5' stretch isn't until the end of the year, with top-10 Michigan being the lone home game in that span. If Penn State does indeed start 0-2, there won't be any time for pity. They need to start fast because making up any ground in February is going to a tougher way to go.
Full schedule after the jump.
|Nov. 3||Philadelphia U #||BJC|
|Nov. 9||St. Francis (PA)||BJC|
|Nov. 15||vs. NC State*||Coliseo de Puerto Rico|
|Nov. 16||vs. UMass / Providence*||Coliseo de Puerto Rico|
|Nov. 18||vs. TBD*||Coliseo de Puerto Rice|
|Nov. 28||Boston College^||BJC|
|Dec. 5||at La Salle||The Palestra|
|Dec. 15||Delaware State||BJC|
|Dec. 23||New Hampshire||BJC|
|Jan. 3||at Wisconsin||Kohl Center|
|Jan. 13||at Purdue||Mackey Arena|
|Jan. 16||Michigan State||BJC|
|Jan. 23||at Indiana||Assembly Hall|
|Jan. 26||Ohio State||BJC|
|Jan. 31||at Iowa||Carver Hawkeye Arena|
|Feb. 9||at Nebraska||Devaney Center|
|Feb. 17||at Michigan||Crisler Arena|
|Feb. 21||at Illinois||Assembly Hall|
|Mar. 2/3||at Minnesota||Williams Arena|
|Mar. 7||at Northwestern||Welsh-Ryan Arena|
|Mar. 14||Big Ten Tournament||United Center|
|Mar. 15||Big Ten Tournament||United Center|
|Mar. 16||Big Ten Tournament||United Center|
|Mar. 17||Big Ten Tournament||United Center|
# - exhibition, * - Puerto Rico Tip-Off, ^ - Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Overall, while it's annoying to see the lack of respect from the conference yet again, the bottomline is if Penn State is going to make something of this season, they'll have to do it on the court no matter what the schedule says. Playing in the best conference in the land isn't something to complain about. It's something to be proud of. If this team is postseason worthy, they will prove it. And when they do, maybe the conference could throw Chambers and PSU a bone some time and let them open the season at home.
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