Penn State Basketball

Penn State basketball: Nittany Lions’ nonconference slate features Pitt, NCAA tournament-buster La Salle

Penn State revealed a 13-game 2013-14 nonconference schedule Thursday that will pit the Nittany Lions against three teams that played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

The slate also will include another trip to Philadelphia, a return to Pittsburgh and a trip to Brooklyn, N.Y.

“We are playing a very strong nonconference schedule that will test our team early and prepare us for Big Ten Conference play,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said in a team release. “We are thrilled to be going back to play in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh again this season and are looking forward to some great games in a beautiful arena in the Barclays Classic in Brooklyn.”

The Nittany Lions (10-21, 2-16 Big Ten last season) will face at least seven teams that won 17 or more games last season and three teams that won 24 or more (Bucknell 28-6, Pittsburgh 24-9 and La Salle 24-10).

The Explorers, a surprise Sweet 16 tournament crasher in 2013, routed the Lions (82-57) in the second half of last season’s contest at the Palestra in Philadelphia. This season, La Salle visits the Bryce Jordan Center Nov. 19 (all non-conference television arrangements and times are to be determined).

Penn State will make its third trip to Philadelphia under Chambers when the Lions meet Penn on Nov. 16.

Bucknell returns to the Bryce Jordan Center Nov. 13, a season after being upset 60-57 in the Nittany Lions’ first full game without Tim Frazier. Penn State will travel to Bucknell in 2014 as part of a four-year series that began last year.

The 2013 Barclays Center Classic begins with two games in the Jordan Center. The first will be with Longwood on Nov. 24 followed by Monmouth on Nov. 26. The Lions will continue play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 29 against St. John’s. The second game will be Nov. 30 against either Mississippi, a 2013 NCAA Tournament participant that went 27-9 last year, or Georgia Tech, which went 16-15.

The Lions travel to Pittsburgh Dec. 3 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It will be the 146th meeting between the programs, but the first since 2005. Penn State will seek its fifth win in its last seven Challenge games. The Lions lead the series, which began in 1906, 75-70.

“We are excited to continue a tremendous rivalry with such a long and storied tradition between our two Universities,” Chambers said. “It’s great that we can be a part of an event that also matches the top two basketball conferences in the nation.”

The Nittany Lions will also host an exhibition game Nov. 3 against Northwood, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Florida, coached by 2013 College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova to the 1985 NCAA Championship.

The season begins officially Nov. 9 against Wagner, a team that posted a 19-12 record last year.