Better Know A Gavitt Games Opponent: Penn State

This is, ostensibly, a Nittany Lion. - Christian Petersen

There's a lot of teams to go through, y'know?

Marquette has a varying history with the members of the Big Ten.  They have a long running series with Wisconsin, of course, and there are a few other schools that MU has squared off with over the years.  With the announcement of the Gavitt Tipoff Games and at least six games against Big East opponents, we're going to check in on Marquette's history against each of the 13 teams and see what could make for the most interesting matchups.

For lack of any particular order of importance, we'll go in order of how many times Marquette has seen each particular opponent.  With Maryland already done, we move on to the Big Ten opponent that Marquette has faced the least number of times.

Penn State

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 3-2

Last Meeting: March 27, 1995

By the time the Gavitt Games start in November of 2015, it will have been more than 20 years since MU squared off with the Nittany Lions, and even longer than that since it was a regular season game.  The last time MU and PSU played each other was in the semifinals of the 1995 National Invitational Tournament.  Marquette escaped from that encounter at Madison Square Garden with a one point win before falling to Virginia Tech in the championship game just two days later.  Penn State had the wins in the two previous encounters between the two squads, including an opening round game of the 1990 NIT.

Before that, you have to go back to February of 1978 to find a meeting between the two squads, and the first ever matchup between Marquette and Penn State came as one of MU's 20 regular season wins on their way to the 1977 national championship.  Given that slight footnote to history, it could be fun to have a national broadcast between the two teams just to talk about 1977 a time or two.

Pat Chambers took the reigns at Penn State after Ed DeChellis resigned - yes, resigned - to take the head coaching job at the United States Naval Academy.  Yeah, it's been a rough go of things in Happy Valley.  Chambers has built a record of 38-59 in his three seasons, and has won just 12 games against Big Ten opponents in his tenure.  Things appear to be on the rise, however, as PSU landed in the CBI this past season, winning their opening round game against Hampton.  They even managed a home and away season sweep of the same Ohio State team that ended up running laps around Marquette in the Bradley Center at the start of the season.

The Bryce Jordan Center is the home for Nittany Lions basketball.  It's an on campus arena that seats over 15,000, making it the largest arena between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  While it's an impressive facility, it doesn't draw impressive crowds.  With a metropolitan area population of over 105,000 and an undergraduate student enrollment of just under 40,000, you'd think that they'd manage to accidentally average more than the 6,257 people that they did this past season.

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