The lineup for the 2016 MSG Holiday Festival was recently announced by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and this year's lineup will include a pair of Big Ten programs.
The event will take place on December 18th at Madison Square Garden and will see Penn State tip off against St. John's, while Rutgers will face off against Fordham. Rutgers most recently participated in the event in 2014 when they played against Manhattan, beating the Jaspers 63-55 thanks to a particularly impressive performance by forward Kadeem Jack, who scored 24 points.
While Rutgers played in 2014, last year's lineup didn't include any Big Ten programs as it saw St. John's play against St. Francis, followed by Hofstra and Appalachian State.
Madison Square Garden's Holiday Festival might not be a marquee event considering the teams that typically participate, but it does provide the opportunity for fans of Penn State and Rutgers to watch their team play on the big stage in one of the countries most famous arenas. At the very it least it should create some interest in a pair of games that may have gone under the radar otherwise, though there is some possible interest in the game between St. John's and Penn State. 2015-16 may have been a rough year for Chris Mullins and his Red Storm, but the Johnnies are hoping to turn things around heading forward this season. The last time the two teams met was in 2013, when the Nittany Lions defeated them in overtime 89-82. The Holiday Festival will be Penn State's second game at Madison Square Garden in 2016, with the Nittany Lions falling to Michigan this past winter.
As for Rutgers, they are more familiar with Fordham (Penn State and St. Johns have only played twice) as the two teams have faced each other 34 times in the past. Interestingly, Fordham actually holds the series lead with a 19-15 record. The last time these two teams squared off was over a decade ago in 2002, though, with the Scarlet Knights winning 94-83.
MSG's Holiday Festival may be one of the smaller early season events, but for fans of Rutgers and Penn State it will provide the opportunity to go watch their respective teams play in the Big Apple, which is always a plus.