In an interesting development this weekend, it is being reported that Penn State will host Michigan State this January at the Palestra in Philadelphia. While the move hasn't officially been announced yet, Brendan F. Quinn of MLive has reported that sources are stating that the January 7th game between the two programs will in fact take place at the historic venue.
The Palestra, which seats 8,725, is currently the home court for the University of Pennsylvania and is entering it's 90th year. The arena has hosted more NCAA Tournament games than any other venue and at one point in time was used by all of the Philadelphia Big 5 (La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph's, Temple, Villanova). It is widely considered to be one of the most storied and famous college basketball courts of all time.
One person that should be happy about the decision to move the Penn State game to the historic venue is Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
"They all tell me I've got to get to the Palestra. One of these years I'm gonna be dumb enough to do it," stated Izzo back in 2014.
Of course the move makes quite a bit of sense for the Nittany Lions as well. Considering the Palestra is located in Philadelphia, this can be seen as a move by Pat Chambers to attempt to lure the local talent that resides in Philly. The area is one that Chambers has been trying to hit heavily on the recruiting trail and three players from his 2016 recruiting class are from the area. If Chambers wants to turn Pen State into a contender in the Big Ten, being able to recruit Philadelphia will be critical.
When everything is said and done this seems like a win-win for both sides. On one hand, Penn State gets to play a more intimate conference game that is located right in the middle of an area their coach is trying to heavily recruit in. It also gets the game against the Spartans moved from what would most likely be a somewhat lackluster environment and creates quite a bit of enthusiasm surrounding the game. As for Michigan State, it allows Izzo to play at one of the arenas he's always wanted to visit.