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The Mike Rhoades Classic? Penn State, VCU Part of 8-Team ESPN Events Invitational Field

Penn StateMikeRhodes
BROOKLYN, NY - MARCH 12: VCU Rams Head Coach Mike Rhoades celebrates winning the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship game between the Dayton Flyers and VCU Rams on March 12, 2023, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State basketball is one of eight teams in the 2023 ESPN Events Invitational near Orlando, Florida, ESPN Events announced Thursday afternoon.

The tournament is scheduled over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23-26) at State Farm Field House, near ESPN Wide World of Sports. 

PSU is joined by Boise State, Butler, Florida Atlantic, Iowa State, Texas A&M, Texas, Virginia Tech and VCU.

The last school is perhaps the most intriguing that Penn State could play against. 

New Penn State head coach Mike Rhoades came from VCU, where he was the boss for six seasons before taking the Penn State job this past March.

He also brought A-10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year Ace Baldwin with him from VCU, as well as Nick Kern.

Hours after Penn State officially named Rhoades its next men’s basketball coach, college basketball insider Jon Rothstein tweeted that the two schools would have a home-and-home series as part of Rhoades’s buyout. 

This won’t be a home game for either school, and therefore can be looked at as a bonus if it takes place. But VCU isn’t the only intriguing possible opponent for Penn State in this tournament. Also included are 

  • Boise State, who made it to the NCAA Tournament this past season
  • Butler, who Penn State beat last November at the Bryce Jordan Center in a game highlighted by Jalen Pickett posting just the second triple-double in school history
  • Florida Atlantic, who made it to the Final Four this March
  • Iowa State, who made it to the 2023 tournament
  • Texas A&M, who Penn State got its first NCAA Tournament win since 2001 against this March
  • Texas, who made it to the Elite 8
  • Virginia Tech, who handed Penn State its first loss of the 2022-23 season this past March.

More information regarding television slots and tournament brackets will be available this summer.

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