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State College, Pa. - August 25, 2004 - The 2004-05 Penn State Nittany Lion basketball schedule is set with three tournaments and ten home weekend games highlighting a rugged and exciting slate. Head coach Ed DeChellis enters his second year at the helm of the Lions and will utilize five new faces and a core of returning veterans.
The season will begin with Penn State making a trip to Milwaukee, Wis., for the 2004 Black Coaches Association Classic. The three-day tournament, taking place Sunday through Tuesday, Nov. 14-16, features eight teams and guarantees each participant three games. Joining Penn State in the prestigious event is a competitive field featuring host Marquette, Mississippi, Air Force, Illinois State, South Carolina State, Jacksonville State and Centenary. The tournament is one of the NCAA's pre-season exempt events and therefore, while the Nittany Lions will play three games, counts as only one towards its maximum of 28.
The home schedule begins on Friday, Nov. 19, when Penn State welcomes Lehigh to the Bryce Jordan Center for a 7:30 p.m. game. Other top non-conference home games include a Saturday, Dec. 11, game vs. Pittsburgh (4 p.m.) and a Sunday, Jan. 2, clash with Texas A&M (1 p.m.). The non-conference schedule features two other home weekend contests; Sacred Heart on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 4 p.m. and Lock Haven on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. A Dec. 21 game with Buffalo, starting at 7:30 p.m., rounds out Penn State's home non-conference slate.
DeChellis and his crew will face a rugged road schedule this season. In addition to the BCA Classic, the Nittany Lions will face Rutgers (one of three games vs. the Big East) on Wednesday, Dec. 1, in New Jersey. The game with the Scarlet Knights will tip at 7:30 p.m. Penn State will also visit Big East foe Georgetown on Monday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Penn State's non-conference road schedule will conclude with a trip to Tempe, Ariz., and the ASU/azcentral.com Hoops Classic. Penn State will face Valparaiso in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl event on Tuesday, Dec. 28. Host Arizona State and Long Island are the other teams in the tournament, which concludes the next day.
"I'm excited about facing this challenging schedule," DeChellis said. "We get an early jump on the season in the BCA Classic and our non-conference schedule features outstanding opponents, both at home and on the road. Playing such a strong schedule early on will allow us to better prepare for the always-tough Big Ten slate. We have five new faces on the team this season and we will need to incorporate them into our system early."
"The fans should also be pleased about ten home games on weekends," DeChellis continued. "We have five Big Ten games in the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturdays, which should allow our fans plenty of chances to come and see the new exciting brand of basketball we'll be showcasing this season."
Following Penn State's home game with Texas A&M on Jan. 2, the Nittany Lions will open up Big Ten play by hosting Michigan State on Wednesday, Jan.5, at 7 p.m. Road games at Minnesota (Saturday, Jan. 8) and Illinois (Wednesday, Jan. 12) follow before the Lions return home for two more home Saturday contests. Penn State will host Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 15, in a 12:15 p.m. game and then host Northwestern on Saturday, Jan. 22, in a 4 p.m. contest that will be seen nationally on ESPN2.
Penn State's Big Ten home schedule includes three more Saturday home games: Wisconsin on Jan. 29 at 8 p.m., Ohio State on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. and Iowa on Feb. 26 at 12:15 p.m. The Nittany Lions home conference games during the week also include games with Illinois on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. and Minnesota on March 2 at 8 p.m.
The remainder of Penn State's road conference games are at Ohio State (Wednesday, Jan. 26), at Indiana (Wednesday, Feb. 2), at Purdue (Wednesday, Feb. 9), at Northwestern (Saturday, Feb. 19), at Michigan (Wednesday, Feb. 23) and the regular season finale at Michigan State (Saturday, March 5). This year's 2005 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Chicago, Ill., and the United Center. The four-day event runs Thursday through Sunday, March 10-13. As usual, each of Penn State's Big Ten games plus the non-conference contest with Pittsburgh will be on ESPN-Regional, cleared locally.
Penn State returns three players with starting experience from last year's team, including junior forward Aaron Johnson (Exton, Pa.) and sophomores Marlon Smith (Bronx, N.Y.), a Big Ten All-Freshman pick, and Ben Luber (Richboro, Pa.). Both Smith and Luber were Street and Smith's Freshman All-American Honorable Mention picks. The complete 2004-05 Penn State Nittany Lion Basketball Schedule is as follows:
Date Opponent Time Radio/TV Sun., Nov. 7 EAST STROUDSBURG (Exhib) 1:30 p.m. Black Coaches Association Classic Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.* Sunday-Tuesday, Nov. 14-16, 2004 Penn State, Marquette, Air Force, Mississippi, Illinois State, South Carolina State, Jacksonville State, Centenary Sun., Nov. 14 First Round TBA PSSN Mon., Nov. 15 Semifinals and Consolations TBA PSSN Tue., Nov. 16 Championship and Consolation TBA PSSN Fri., Nov. 19 LEHIGH 7:30 p.m. PSSN Sat., Nov. 27 SACRED HEART 4 p.m. PSSN Wed., Dec. 1 at Rutgers 7:30 p.m. PSSN Fri., Dec. 3 LOCK HAVEN 7:30 p.m. PSSN Mon., Dec. 6 at Georgetown 7:30 p.m. PSSN Sat., Dec. 11 PITTSBURGH 4 p.m. PSSN/E+ Tue., Dec. 21 BUFFALO 7:30 p.m. PSSN ASU/azcentral.com Hoops Classic - A Fiesta Bowl Event Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. * Tuesday - Wednesday, Dec., 28-29, 2004 Tue., Dec. 28 vs. Valparaiso TBA PSSN Wed., Dec. 29 vs. Arizona State or Long Island TBA PSSN Sun., Jan. 2 TEXAS A&M 1 p.m. PSSN Wed., Jan. 5 MICHIGAN STATE* 7 p.m. PSSN/E+ Sat., Jan. 8 at Minnesota* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ Wed., Jan. 12 at Illinois* 9 p.m. PSSN/E+ Sat., Jan. 15 MICHIGAN* 12:15 p.m. PSSN/E+R Sat., Jan. 22 NORTHWESTERN* 4 p.m. PSSN/ESPN2 Wed., Jan. 26 at Ohio State* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ Sat., Jan. 29 WISCONSIN* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ Wed., Feb. 2 at Indiana* 6 p.m. PSSN/E+ Wed., Feb. 9 at Purdue* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ Sat., Feb. 12 OHIO STATE* 5 p.m. PSSN/E+R Wed., Feb. 16 ILLINOIS* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ Sat., Feb. 19 at Northwestern* 2:30 p.m. PSSN/E+ Wed., Feb. 23 at Michigan* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ Sat., Feb. 26 IOWA* 12:15 p.m. PSSN/E+ Wed., Mar. 2 MINNESOTA* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ Sat., Mar. 5 at Michigan State* 8 p.m. PSSN/E+ 2005 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament The United Center, Chicago, Ill. * Thursday - Sunday, March 10-13, 2005 Thr., Mar. 10 First Round 12, 2:30, 5 p.m. PSSN/ESPN, ESPN2, E+ Fri., Mar. 11 Quarterfinals 12, 2:30, PSSN/ESPN, 6:40, 9:10 p.m. ESPN2, E+ Sat., Mar. 12 Semifinals 1:40, 4 p.m. CBS Sun., Mar. 13 Championship 3:30 p.m. CBS * Big Ten Game * All Times Eastern * Home games in ALL CAPS PSSN=Penn State Sports Network radio * E+ = ESPN-Plus * E+R = ESPN-Plus Regional Syndication Schedule as of 8/25/04 - SUBJECT TO CHANGE