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Nittany Notebook (11-28): PSU men open season vs. VMI; Saint Francis hosts UMBC

Welcome to our daily Nittany Notebook. This post will be updated frequently throughout the day with news, notes and sometimes entertaining info. So be sure to check back often to stay on top of everything that’s going on with Penn State football and athletics, plus other sports of interest in central PA.

Update: 9 a.m.

**The Penn State men’s basketball team will play its season opener today at 1 p.m. when it hosts VMI at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Nittany Lions were supposed to start the season Wednesday against Drexel, but that game was canceled because of a COVID issue within the PSU program. It was confirmed by a Drexel player to our sister site, Pittsburgh Sports Now, that the COVID issue was in fact within the Nittany Lion program.

Today will mark the debut for PSU interim head coach Jim Ferry, who took over last month after Patrick Chambers resigned under pressure. Ferry had been an assistant under Chambers the past three seasons. He also previously served as a head coach for 19 years, including two Division I stops — Duquesne and Long Island.

VMI is coached by former Penn State player and assistant Dan Earl. He is in his sixth season at VMI. The Keydets opened their season with a 90-63 win over St. Andrews.

Penn State is favored by 19.5 points.

**The Saint Francis men will play for the first time since their historic upset at Pitt on Wednesday. The Red Flash host UMBC at 3 p.m. in what should be a tough game.

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Saint Francis will have to avoid the letdown factor against a UMBC team that lost its opener at Georgetown, 70-62.

The Red Flash historically have played very well at DeGol Arena in non-conference games, but there will not be any fans in attendance today because of COVID protocols. That could take away SFU’s home-court advantage, much the same as it did for Pitt on Wednesday against the Flash, who came out shooting the ball great.

Saint Francis is favored by 1.5 points.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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