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Penn State basketball's 'Sunshine Slam' participation official; full field announced

nate-mug-10.12.14by:Nate Bauer05/30/24


Penn State head coach Mike Rhoades year-end press conference

Scheduling news for the Penn State basketball program in year two of the Mike Rhoades era has been trickling out since April. The Nittany Lions, fresh off a 16-17 overall campaign during the 2023-24 slate, with a 10-12 mark against Big Ten opponents, have provided early glimpses of a philosophy dedicated to appearing in new venues for the program’s widespread fan base.

Thursday morning, that again took shape with an official announcement.

As released by the Penn State basketball program, Rhoades and the Nittany Lions will take part in the 2024 Sunshine Slam in Daytona Beach, Fla. The event will run during Thanksgiving week, on November 25 and 26.

In addition to Penn State’s official participation, the event’s full field has also been revealed. Along with previously reported teams Clemson, San Francisco, and Fordham, the other bracket will also feature Radford, Chicago State, Drexel, and Purdue Fort Wayne. The two brackets will not meet. Rather, still undetermined matchups on each side will serve as semifinals on November 25 leading into a championship round on November 26.

In that scenario, Penn State will get two games against some combination of Clemson, San Francisco, and Fordham. In that vein, Penn State has series records all-time that include 1-4 against Clemson, 3-2 against Fordham, and 0-1 against San Francisco. Former Nittany Lions’ assistant coach Keith Urgo currently leads the Rams program.

The pairings for the semifinal round will be announced at a future date, according to the release.

Mike Rhoades discusses Penn State scheduling philosophy

From the jump, Rhoades announced his intentions for scheduling to take place in new venues from the program’s traditional home at the Bryce Jordan Center. Last season, that included games against Georgia Tech at Madison Square Garden in New York, and Big Ten games against Michigan at the Palestra in Philadelphia, and Illinois at Rec Hall on Penn State’s campus.

“You heard me from day one talking about thinking outside the box. Let’s do some different things with Penn State basketball. Maybe that’s been done in the past and it’s been pretty cool. Let’s repeat it,” Rhoades said last fall. “Or, let’s try to find some other things, other ideas. And let’s throw it up against the wall, see what sticks.

“(Jimmy Martelli) knows what I like when it comes to scheduling and trying to find some great games, but also timing, and seeing that we could play at different places.”

In addition to the Sunshine Slam games, Penn State has also set plans to face Virginia Tech in Baltimore in November. The game is set for CFG Bank Arena on November 15 as part of a two-game doubleheader with Villanova and Virginia in the Basketball Hall of Fame Baltimore Series. Tickets are on sale for that event, ranging from $19 to $225.

Tickets for the Sunshine Slam are on sale via Ticketmaster, ranging from $8 to $48 at the Ocean Center in downtown Daytona Beach.

Talk about it with our premium members in the Lions Den, here!

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