April 13, 2010

"TBD" Replaces Penn State In The ESPN 76 Classic

[UPDATE: Mike over at Black Shoe Diaries asked for and received a straight answer from Brian Siegrist, the Assistant Director of Penn State Athletics Communications. Basically put, the decision to pull out of the 76 Classic was made back in December for logistical reasons and had nothing to do with the overall dismal performance this past season. The entire statement can be read here, which in essence, means you can disregard a couple of the critical remarks in this blog post. The 'slide fail' picture will remain intact, though.]

In case you haven't heard already: PSU has dropped out of the prestigious, ESPN-televised 76 Classic tournament which this past season featured NCAA tournament-bound teams such as West Virgina, UCLA, Minnesota, Clemson, Texas A&M. Just as we were getting excited over the fact that we might have a formidable enough non-conference schedule tailored to make sure we wouldn't get screwed over by the selection committee for poor strength of schedule, Tim Curley's vision had to get in the way. Perhaps Curley and Ed DeChellis wanted to spare the fans from having to witness another epic holiday tournament collapse not unlike last year's Charleston Classic (losses to mid-major bottom feeders Tulane and UNC-Wilmington) or 2007's Old Spice Classic (losses to South Carolina, Rider, and UCF).

DID YOU KNOW? Tim Curley used to work as a playground designer before becoming an Athletic Director.

Or perhaps, they both have some scheduling tricks up their sleeves: According to Ben at The 22,000+, it appears that Ole Miss is rumored as a potential opponent, and the on-again off-again rumors of playing BYU in Albany are still on the table, albeit on life support. Being the lucky bastard that he is, Ben was also invited to the basketball team's end-of-season banquet where it was made abundantly clear who one of the opponents on the schedule would be:

At the basketball banquet this past Friday, they all but confirmed that the home opener is going to be against Lehigh, so you can mark that one up as the first game.
As of now, this leaves PSU with three confirmed games so far for 2010-11: Lehigh for the season opener, a return trip to Virginia Tech, and a home game in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge title defense. My guess is, it will be some ACC bottom feeder not named UNC, probably Virginia or Miami, the latter of which would provide an intriguing matchup between two schools where basketball is clearly an afterthought to football. Either way, the scheduling job so far has been one giant FAIL.

Other Hoops-Related Tidbits:


Bill Edwards is headed to Miami (OH), one of his two finalists while being recruited last year before choosing to play for Penn State. Apparently, Bill had a very emotional press conference when he first chose PSU, since he's an Ohio guy and he really loved Miami. Suffice it to say, the only reason he likely spurned Miami in the first place was due to last year's magical NIT run. If PSU were trying to recruit Bill Edwards today, there's no way in hell he leaves the state of Ohio. Nonetheless, we here at LBU wish Bill all the best...at least until 24-seeded PSU faces the 17-seed Miami in the first round of the NCAA tournament (cause you know, by the time PSU reaches the tourney again, it will have expanded to 96 teams).

Jerry Dunn has left his assistant coaching perch at Michigan and will try to pursue a head coaching job somewhere. I hope he's consulting with Minnesota football coach Tim Brewster regarding his napalming of the PSU program which consisted of back-to-back seven-win seasons following that magical Sweet 16 run. Because, you know, Brewster has some experience in dealing with such futility marks.

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