The 2016-17 season is going to be a huge one for Penn State men's basketball, and their non-conference schedule is beginning to take shape. Grand Canyon University head coach Dan Majerle confirmed to Dan Patrick last week that the Antelopes will play a road game in University Park next season.
Grand Canyon was promoted to Division I for the 2013-14 season, joining the Western Athletic Conference. Located in Phoenix, they hired the former Phoenix Sun known as "Thunder Dan" on the recommendation of former Phoenix Suns executive (and current Philadelphia 76ers executive) Jerry Colangelo. Majerle had been an assistant coach with the Suns for five years prior to taking the head coaching job at Grand Canyon.
As part of the transition to Division I, the Antelopes are not postseason eligible until the 2017-2018 season. Despite that, Grand Canyon has seen marked improvement in the program's third year. Ranked 120th in KenPom, the Antelopes have upset wins against Houston and at San Diego State this season. They will lose three significant contributors to graduation before next season, but the program is on the rise and should be a good out-of-conference test for the young Nittany Lions.
Majerle included Penn State in a list of significant opponents his team will face next season while on Dan Patrick's radio shows on February 24. In addition to playing at Penn State, Grand Canyon will play at Duke and Arizona, with home games against Louisville and San Diego State.
For Penn State, this is the first known out-of-conference game for the 2016-17 season beyond the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun in November, where they could potentially face Duke, Cincinnati, and/or Rhode Island. If you're interested in Majerle's full interview, you can listen here: