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Penn State Will Now Open Its 2016 Basketball Season Against Albany

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NCAA Basketball: Albany at South Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last night it was announced that Albany’s season opening game at Duke was being cancelled, due to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning publicly-funded non-essential travel to North Carolina in response to the state’s controversial HB2 law (better known as the ‘transgender bathroom bill’).

As a result, Albany will now play its season opener at the Bryce Jordan Center against Penn State on November 11th, according to Albany head coach Will Brown, as seen from the tweet below.

Although nothing has been confirmed, it is speculated that Marist, PSU’s originally scheduled opponent, will replace Albany as Duke’s season opening opponent, given that both teams are serving as warm-ups for the Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Classic, which will feature a matchup between Pat Chambers’ and Coach K’s crew. Marist, unlike Albany, is a private institution, which means they are not bound by Governor Cuomo’s executive order, and have the option of replacing the Great Danes as Duke’s opponent.

From a basketball perspective, Penn State likely got a gift, as they will now face a team that finished with a 24-9 record and 107 RPI last year (albeit, they have since lost a few starters) over a Marist squad that finished 7-23 and dead last in its conference with a horribad RPI of 318. Presuming a win here for a moment, this is likely to help PSU’s already strong-looking non-conference slate, should they somehow find themselves in the hunt for an NCAA or NIT bid come next March.

Time will tell of course, as Albany could take a nose-dive this upcoming season and render the whole ‘strength of schedule boost’ discussion moot, but perhaps ‘Thank You’ notes may be in order for Governor Cuomo if PSU finds itself playing in the postseason in 2017.