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Penn State Basketball Schedule Details Released

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Yeah yeah we're a few days away from the Blue White game but there are some interesting details today in regard to the 2009-2010 men's basketball schedule that have come to light. First, the field has been set for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

First Challenge Matchup: In addition to Minnesota at Miami, Penn State at Virginia, Wake Forest at Purdue and Florida State at Ohio State will all meet for their first-ever Challenge showdown.

Unfamiliar Opponent: Ohio State has won all four of its games against Florida State with a victory in 2000's Great Alaska Shootout the most recent.  Penn State and Virginia last played in 1985 (Virginia holds a 5-2 series lead) while Purdue and Wake Forest last played in 1989 (Purdue holds a 3-2 series lead).

Ok, so playing Virginia isn't such a sexy matchup. Some people predict them to finish in the basement of the ACC. But it's a chance to beat an ACC team on the road, and just by the fact they play in the ACC should give them a respectable RPI. In 2009 they finished with an RPI of 114. Georgia Tech, our 2008 opponent in the Challenge, finished at 138.

The other bit of news is that Penn State will be participating in the Charleston Classic in Charleston, SC.

ESPN Regional Television, Inc. (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today seven of the eight teams in the field for the 2009 Charleston Classic, to be held Nov. 19-22 at Carolina First Arena in Charleston, S.C.

The field for the second annual Charleston Classic will include La Salle, Miami (Fla.), UNC Wilmington, Penn State, South Carolina, USF and Tulane. The eighth team will be announced at a later date. Three of the teams in the field played in the 2008-09 NIT, including NIT champion Penn State, Miami and South Carolina.

Hmmmm...I don't exactly see any headline names in that group. In fact, I think we are actually considered the headline team. But it's not a terrible group when compared to the Philly Classic we played in last year.

2009 Charleston Classic

                        

2008 Philly Classic

Teams

Final 2009 RPI

 

Teams

Final 2009 RPI

South Carolina

57

 

Villanova

13

Miami (FL)

65

 

Niagra

49

La Salle

112

 

Rhode Island

68

Tulane

188

 

Towson

219

South Florida

190

 

Hartford

299

UNC Wilmington

277

 

Monmouth

321

TBD

 

 

NJIT

343

Average

148.2

 

Average

187.4

So there are no headliners like Villanova, but then there also isn't a huge drop off once you get halfway through the field either. Hopefully the eighth team will bring some pizzazz to this tournament. We'll probably have to play one or two stinkers, but third round matchups with South Carolina, Miami, or La Salle look to be very winnable games against respectable competition. But like the Philly Classic showed us, you have to win those winnable games. Otherwise a loss to Rhode Island earns you a final game against Towson instead of Villanova. And that can be the difference between the NCAA and the NIT come March.

I'm glad to see Ed and Tim Curley entering Penn State in these tournaments, but they can't stop there. One slip in the early games and you're stuck with RPI busters the rest of the way. I'm hoping they are working behind the scenes to schedule some one-and-ones with some decent opponents outside of the Patriot League. Penn State is on that level where it's time to take that step.