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St. John’s to face Penn State as part of the Holiday Festival

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The Johnnies add another game to the schedule.

Barclays Center Classic Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Well, this is a far cry from some of the Holiday Festival opponents of past years.

The Johnnies will take on the Penn State Nittany Lions on December 18, as part of a doubleheader. The other half of the doubleheader will be Rutgers vs Fordham.

You may remember Penn State from a miserable overtime game that featured a 15-point deficit, a spirited comeback, the loosening of the reins on Max Hooper, a missed free throw, a Max Hooper flagrant arm, and the virtual death of NCAA hopes in November.

It was in Barclays but it was no classic.

The Nittany Lions have scuffled along, slowly improving in the Big Ten; the Nittany Lions won seven Big Ten games behind a senior class and sophomore Shep Garner. Pat Chambers’ squad returns 58% of their minutes from last season and add a top-50 point guard by the name of Tony Carr from Philadelphia (along with two of his teammates).

As Holiday Festivals go, this isn’t a bad set of teams; each squad has potential to develop into a far stronger team. And in terms of the schedule, Penn State gives another high-major opponent to match against - one ranked higher than the other opponents outside of the Battle for Atlantis and Syracuse.

So if you’re keeping track, the schedule includes (with the team’s KenPom rank out of 351):

  1. Bethune-Cookman (300)
  2. Binghamton (322)
  3. Delaware State (348)
  4. Longwood (290)
  5. LIU (282)
  6. at Minnesota (223)
  7. Michigan State (5)
  8. possibly Baylor (28)/ VCU (30) [2nd round Battle 4 Atlantis]
  9. possibly Old Dominion (94)/ LSU (92) [though Wichita State (8), Louisville (10) are on that side of the Battle 4 Atlantis bracket]
  10. Nicholls State (326)
  11. Penn State (146)
  12. at Syracuse (24)
  13. at Tulane (219)

The schedule is coming together. Last season, St. John’s, which was ranked 222 last season, played 13 non-conference games. So it looks like the schedule may be nearly complete, though do not expect dates/ times to be announced until late August/ early September. (Thanks to my1981 for the reminder about Bethune-Cookman!)

Your thoughts on the schedule so far?