Penn State will have two shots at exorcising their Rec Hall demons form 2013 as they make another official return to their home court in mid-December, where the Lions will host Canisius and Louisiana-Monroe on Dec 10 and 12, respectively.
Also in today's complete non-conference schedule release, the program confirmed that Bucknell will make a return to the BJC in another continuation of the series between the two schools, whose original agreement expired after last year's game. VMI, Radford, and Eastern Michigan round out the previously unknown opponents. Here is the complete non-conference schedule, with some preliminary thoughts afterwards:
|Day||Date||Opponent (2015 KenPom Rating)||H/A||Arena||City||Notes|
|Saturday||November 14||VMI (297)||H||Bryce Jordan Center||University Park, PA||Coached by Dan Earl|
|Tuesday||November 17||DePaul (167)||H||Bryce Jordan Center||University Park, PA||Gavitt Games|
|Friday||November 20||Duquesne (207)||A||Consol Energy Center||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Tuesday||November 24||Radford (162)||H||Bryce Jordan Center||University Park, PA|
|Saturday||November 28||Bucknell (193)||H||Bryce Jordan Center||University Park, PA|
|Wednesday||December 2||Boston College (106)||A||Conte Forum||Chestnut Hill, MA||B1G/ACC Challenge|
|Saturday||December 5||Eastern Michigan (144)||H||Bryce Jordan Center||University Park, PA|
|Tuesday||December 8||George Washington (74)||A||Charles Smith Center||Washington, DC|
|Thursday||December 10||Canisius (146)||H||Rec Hall||University Park, PA||Las Vegas Classic|
|Saturday||December 12||Louisiana-Monroe (170)||H||Rec Hall||University Park, PA||Las Vegas Classic|
|Saturday||December 19||Drexel (247)||A||The Palestra||Philadelphia, PA|
|Tuesday||December 22||Colorado (101)||N||Orleans Arena||Las Vegas, NV||Las Vegas Classic|
|Wednesday||December 23||SMU (23)/Kent State (105)||N||Orleans Arena||Las Vegas, NV||Las Vegas Classic|
- Former shootyhoop star Dan Earl will likely make his NCAA head coaching debut at the Bryce Jordan Center, which has to be pretty cool for he and the Penn State faithful.
- Not a lot of impressive opponents on the home schedule this year, but at least Return to Rec gives fans a few marquee events to look forward to.
- There are some cool road trips for the players though: Boston, D.C., Philadelphia and Las Vegas.
- Most (including myself) assumed that Hampton would be one of the non-bracketed games of the Las Vegas Classic over Louisiana-Monroe due to geographical factors, but that swap is a slight upgrade in terms of strength of schedule.
- Please, please, please let Penn State face Larry Brown's SMU in Vegas. Please. Need some narrative around here.
- It's pretty clear that Pat Chambers complied this schedule to ease his young team into the season wihout worrying too much about postseason implications. There are some tough road/neutral site games - GW, Colorado, Boston College - but if Penn State were to somehow be in contention for an NCAA tournament berth, this slate of games wouldn't do them any favors as it stands right now. But it's hard to imagine this team outperforming their coach's expectations, so perhaps this is just what a young team needs as they build toward a big two seasons in 2016 and 2017.