Tom Izzo remarked in 2014 that the only college basketball arena he needed to experience during the rest of his illustrious coaching career was the Palestra, the University of Pennsylvania’s iconic home in Philadelphia. Izzo will be able to scratch the Palestra off the bucket list this season.
Penn State will host the Spartans at the Palestra during the only meeting between the teams during the 2016-17 season, according to a report from MLive.com’s Brendan F. Quinn.
“They all tell me I’ve got to get to the Palestra,” Izzo said back in 2014, according to the Detroit Free Press. “One of these years, I’m gonna be dumb enough to do it.”
The 8,722-seat stadium was built in 1927 and has hosted the most college basketball games in the country. From Penn games to iconic Philadelphia Big 5 showdowns, the arena has hosted its fair share of legendary basketball games.
The game is essentially a recruiting showcase for a Penn State program that needs to do a better job of recruiting in a fertile hotbed for talent like Philadelphia. That won’t be very easy, as defending national champion Villanova has a firm grasp on the turf, and in-state rivals like Temple, St. Joseph’s and Pitt are also combatants on the recruiting trail.
The Nittany Lions and Spartans are scheduled to play on Jan. 7.