Unlike football, the college basketball schedule is something unknown to most people until the day it is released. Games are set up after each season and are usually not scheduled years in advance aside from the occasional home and home series. After the program finally tweeted that they were close to releasing the schedule it was only a matter of time until the games were leaked. While the following games have yet to be officially confirmed by the university and the dates are TBA, these are 11 of the non conference games slated for next season. There could be more, and a game may change, for the most part however this is ready to be released. The numbers are in no order.
**Delaware State and Maine are both rumored to be on the schedule but were not reported in this case.
RPI Rank: 24 SOS Rank: 23 Record: 22-8 (13-4)
Maryland will make the trek to Happy Valley for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. While Maryland will not be loaded with the talent like they were last season in rout to their Co-ACC Championship, they might still be regarded as the biggest non-conference team to play in the Jordan Center. It isn’t really worth looking at the numbers for last season, but any team coached by Gary Williams should be a solid team. A ACC title run might not be in the making, but expect Maryland to pay Penn State back with a strong RPI/SOS boost. Beating Maryland would extend Penn State’s Big Ten/ACC winning streak to 4 straight.
It’s ok, contrary to popular belief we do have indoor plumbing at Penn State.
RPI Rank: 81 SOS Rank: 171 Record: 22-10 (15-6)
Maybe the best team nobody really hears about. Fairfield put up a strong 23-11 season and finished 2nd in the MAAC giving Senia all it could handle more than once. Fairfield will return most of it’s scoring along with experience which could very well lead to another strong season. While Fairfield doesn’t have the name recognition on the national stage, they very well could be the biggest pickup in the Lions OOC Schedule.
3. St Joes:
RPI Rank: 184 SOS Rank: 58 Record: 11-20 (5-12)
Coming off of a 11-20 season, the Hawks should see better days ahead as their biggest issue was their youth and lack of a real leadership. Another season under the belt should prove to work in their favor and help them bounce back to the days that they made a name for themselves. Despite their struggles the Hawks RPI is still in a favorable position for Penn State.
4. Ole Miss:
RPI Rank #51 SOS Rank: 71 Record: 24-11 (9-7)
Penn State’s first real road test will come in the form of a very solid and talented Ole Miss team. Last season on their way to a 24-11 record they took every team to the wire including Kentucky, WVU, and a win over Kansas St. The Rebels return their leading scorer Chris Warren who should provide a fun match-up to watch against Talor Battle. As long as the Rebels stay healthy they should be a solid team to have scheduled.
The fun part is picking which one to score in.
5. Virgina Tech:
RPI Rank: 59 SOS Rank: 133 Record: 23-8 (10-7)
This was one of the few games that has been known about since last season. VT has been scheduled to play a home and home series with Penn State, this series having started last year at the BJC. In a ironic twist of fate, Penn State’s losing season was a small part of the equation that kept VT out of the tournament and on the very edge of the bubble. There is no doubt the Hookies will be reminded of that come gameday. Malcom Delaney is returning for his senior season and should provide another interesting match-up against Talor Battle.
RPI Rank: 278 SOS Rank: 306 Record: 11-17 (7-12)
Furman is just one of those teams. Unfortunately Ed is in the position of having to balance competition with winnable games. While there are plenty of teams with higher signs of life, Furman returns all of their scoring as they were a very young team with only a handful of upperclassmen and no seniors. On a positive note is Furman’s ability to score, having played in 6 games while scoring 80 or more points. With more experience and playing time, it isn’t unreasonable to expect Furman to have a much stronger season.
RPI Rank: 114 SOS Rank: 86 Record: 15-15 (7-10)
Last season Penn State played Duquensne in a closed door pick up game. Nothing really came of it, but it does seem to have started a series against the Dukes. Duquensne is a team loaded with youth and talent with 5 different players averaging 10 or more points a game. After putting up a season at .500 with almost entirely underclassmen it is expected that they will see a much better winning % this year.
8. Central Connecticut State:
RPI Rank: 310 SOS Rank: 338 Record: 12-18 (9-9)
On the bright side CCS is a team that can only get better. Unfortunately sometimes you have a game like this. There isn’t a lot of positives you can take away from a team with a low SOS and RPI, but with a 9-9 record in conference and leading scorers returning it is possible that the “Blue Devils” will be a better team next year.
9. Mount St Marys:
RPI Rank: 171 SOS Rank: 201 Record: 16-15 (12-7)
If Mount Saint Marys seems like a familiar name that’s because it is. If you went to the Penn State-Notre Dame NIT game early you got to watch San Diego State take on MSM before the Lions took the court. Mount St Marys finished 3rd in their conference last season and mostly struggled to find scoring rhythm. There isn’t any real reason to expect them not to improve with rising talent and youth, but Mount St Marys will be one of the teams critical to Penn State’s RPI.
RPI Rank: 168 SOS Rank: 238 Record: 17-12 (14-6)
Radford is one of those teams you google hoping that ESPN has a page for them. Radford is surprisingly a pretty solid team despite their so-so record. They had to play Duke and Kansas on the road, taking those games out of the equation Radford started their season 8-3. A 2nd place finish in the Big South might be hard to repeat since they lose a lot of their scoring, but the coaching and foundation of their success is still there. Plus lets face it, they’re in the Big South, it’s a 4 horse race in a 10 team conference.
RPI Rank: 152 SOS Rank: 300 Record: 22-10 (13-4)
At the basketball banquet this year it was mentioned that Penn State would be playing LeHigh so that sort of counts as another game we sortof knew about. LeHigh comes off of a 22-10 season and a Patriot League Title. LeHigh should be a very solid team after losing almost none of their scoring and return their leading scorer (19ppg) as a freshman C.J. McCollum. While LeHigh isn’t going to wow anybody, they’re going to go out and win their games. That’s all you need.
For the most part this is the schedule Penn State needs. Tough games on the road, and teams that should win a good number of games in their own conference. Only time will really tell how this will play out, but for right now things aren’t looking as bad as they could.
BYU game– If you’ve spent anytime looking into the Penn State basketball program this offseason you’ll know that there was a lot of talk about a game being played in Albany against BYU. This game is no longer in the works mainly because Penn State…backed out..BYU will play Vermont in Albany instead. It’s a missed opportunity, but not the end of the world