For one of the league’s traditional powers, Penn’s last decade was utterly forgettable. The Quakers went 10 seasons without a title or an NCAA tournament appearance, the longest such streak in program history, finishing above .500 only once in that span. But that era fully closed on Sunday, when Penn beat Harvard, 68-65, to punch its ticket back to the Big Dance. Continue reading
After a downright weird regular season, the Ivy League Tournament has given us a very normal final: #1-seed vs. #2-seed, co-champion vs. co-champion, Player of the Year against the presumed runner-up. Harvard and Penn split the season series, with each team winning in its home gym — and the rubber match will be at The Palestra, making the Quakers a small favorite on paper. Continue reading
Penn throttled Yale from start to finish on Saturday, cruising to an 80-57 win in the Ivy League Tournament semifinal. The Quakers are now 40 minutes from their first NCAA tournament bid in 11 years, and everything is lined up in their favor heading into tomorrow’s championship game — the culmination of three years of improvement under Steve Donahue. Continue reading
While Dartmouth had been extremely competitive in Ivy League play, it was still somewhat surprising to see the winless Big Green leading Penn by four heading to the final media time out Friday night at Leede Arena.
A hoop or two in the next couple of possessions could finally give Dartmouth its first league win and give it fleeting hope at least of the beginnings of an improbable run to its first Ivy League Tournament. After all, Penn had started 0-6 last year and pulled it off.
Outlook: Fitting all the pieces together will be a challenge, but the Quakers have enough talent to return to the Ivy League Tournament. Continue reading
Even as things appeared to be spiraling out of control a month ago, Penn coach Steve Donahue continued to maintain that he believed in his team. Every coach says that, of course, but there was something a little different about the way Donahue said it. Or maybe he’s just more convincing than most.
Anyway, the facts (real ones) are that the Quakers were 0-6 in the Ivy League after a loss to Princeton at The Palestra on Feb. 7, some four games behind Columbia for the fourth and final conference tournament berth. The real culprits in that slide were not the defeats to Princeton, but a home loss to Brown and one at Dartmouth.
What Happened Last Week: December in the Ivy League doesn’t get much more eventful than this. Yale upset Connecticut for the league’s biggest regular-season win in a couple years; Harvard survived double overtime at Vermont despite a scoring controversy (more below); and the conference was a perfect 8-0 over the weekend. That offset a much gloomier beginning, in which Columbia, Dartmouth and Princeton lost to foes ranked outside KenPom’s top 300. Continue reading