PHILADELPHIA - The Hoop Group has announced the field for the fifth annual Philly Hoop Group Classic, and for the second team in the event's history the Penn men's basketball team will be part of the field.
The Quakers are one of six teams to compete in the Classic, and will be joined by the University of Pittsburgh, James Madison University, La Salle University, Rider University, and Robert Morris University.
Penn will play four games as part of the Classic. The Quakers open Classic play on Thursday, Nov. 17 with a game at Rider. Two days later, on Saturday, Nov. 19, Penn hosts Robert Morris -- coached by former Red and Blue standout Andrew Toole -- at The Palestra. As is tradition, the Philly Hoop Group Classic's final-round games will be played at The Palestra the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25-26). Penn will play Big East power Pitt on Friday night in the final game of a tripleheader, and on Saturday the Quakers will face James Madison to close out a doubleheader.
The Hoop Group, which organizes instructional camps, clinics, high school events and college events, created The Philly Hoop Group Classic prior to the 2007-08 season.
"We are once again excited to welcome some of the East's top programs to The Palestra for Thanksgiving weekend," said Rob Kennedy, President of the Hoop Group. "Our first four years have featured nationally ranked teams, memorable games, and outstanding play. This year promises more of the same, highlighted by Pitt taking on Penn on Friday, November 25."
This year's field is led by Big East power Pitt. The Panthers are coming off a 28-6 season, the Big East regular-season championship, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Led by All-America guard Ashton Gibbs, Pitt is again a preseason Top 20 team.
James Madison and Rider are both coming off 20-win seasons which produced postseason appearances, while Robert Morris lost a heartbreaker in overtime in the NEC championship game last year. Like Penn, LaSalle -- the other Philadelphia-based team in the field -- enters the 2011-12 season with high expectations. The Explorers will look to make a run in the Atlantic 10 with a revamped roster led by native son, Earl Pettis.
Tickets will be available at the Penn ticket office starting in the fall. The ticket office is located at 235 S. 33rd Street, Weightman Hall, in Philadelphia. You can also contact the ticket office by calling (215) 898-6151.
For more information on The Philly Hoop Group Classic, please visit www.hoopgroup.com.