Michigan State and Penn State will take the court at The Palestra on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, ESPN). The game will be important for people on both teams.
For the Nittany Lions, six players (Nazeer Bostick, Tony Carr, Mike Watkins, Lamar Stevens, Shep Garner and Julian Moore) grew up in or around Philadelphia. Four of those players are freshman.
The future of Penn State’s basketball program relies heavily on the City of Brotherly Love, which is why coach Pat Chambers (who grew up in a Philly suburb) wanted to move a conference home game to the city’s most historic gym.
For the Spartans, it’s one of the few major buildings in which Tom Izzo has never coached a game. Saturday will undoubtedly be meaningful for Izzo, a Hall of Fame coach in a legendary arena.
The Palestra turns 90 years old this month, and SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt gave an ode to the gym on a Friday broadcast. Van Pelt explained the history of the arena and why the gym is on Izzo’s bucket list — and should be on the bucket list of every basketball fan.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 6, 2017