UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With Thursday's announcement that Penn State
men's hoops will renew competition with regional rival Bucknell, the 2012
non-conference schedule is beginning to take shape for the Nittany Lions.
The Lions and Bison will meet for the 100th time on Nov. 23 at the BJC, and the
first since guard Mike Walker drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to
lead Penn State to a dramatic 63-60 victory on Nov. 21, 2006. Dating back to 1963, the Lions have won 27 of
the last 32 meetings and 11-straight against Bucknell.
Penn State's 99 previous contests against Bucknell are the fourth most against any team in program history, behind Pittsburgh (144), West Virginia (119) and Syracuse (105). Coach Chambers has repeatedly said that it is important for the Nittany Lions re-establish regional rivalries, and you can see it forming in this season's non-conference schedule.
Penn State is slated to open its 2012 season (Nov. 9) with a game against regional rival St. Francis in the BJC. Chambers noted that playing regional foes like Bucknell and St. Francis is great for fan interest and the players.
"The thing that I have learned is that it is important to play the local teams," Chambers said. "It brings more fans out. It's good because those kids are usually from that area, so it's kind of like a rivalry with the kids competing all summer long together in pickup or summer leagues. I think it is good for everybody."
Additionally, Chambers wants to play regional non-conference games in Philadelphia annually and in Pittsburgh on a regular basis. After playing downtown Pittsburgh in Consol Energy Center in 2011, the Lions will host Duquesne on the back-end of a home-and-home series with the Dukes this season.
Penn State's non-conference slate will be highlighted by a trip to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 15-18. The eight-team field features 2012 NCAA Tournament participants North Carolina State and UNC Ashville and 2012 NIT participants Tennessee, Massachusetts and Akron. Additionally, Oklahoma State from the Big 12 and Providence from the BIG EAST will be in Puerto Rico.
The Nittany Lions will play host to Boston College in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 28. Look for Penn State's full non-conference schedule later this summer.
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