The outlook: Home-court advantage makes Penn a clear favorite, but if Yale follows the same gameplan it used last weekend, the Quakers will have to play their best to advance. Continue reading
In practice leading up to Friday night’s game, Penn point guard Devon Goodman was not high on Columbia’s scouting report.
Goodman’s last competitive playing time had come a very long month ago — coincidentally, against the Lions — when he was scoreless in four ineffective minutes, finally losing his tenuous place in Penn’s rotation. Even in the Quakers’ practices this week, he was playing on the scout team, aping Columbia point guard Mike Smith. 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
Wide-eyed and full of smiles, the Brown women’s basketball team arrived at The Palestra with their phones in hand to take in everything about their experience at the inaugural Ivy League Tournament Friday.
The Ivy League tried to make their tournament a bit unique by setting up The Palestra for open practices (like the NCAA Tournament does) the day before the controversial proceedings begin tomorrow. As you’d expect, most of the attention has gone to the men’s side of the draw, mostly the 237th all-time meeting between Penn and Princeton Saturday afternoon, which should have a near full house for one of the most storied college basketball rivalries in America.
What can be wrong with that? Well, depends on your perspective. In any other year, undefeated (in Ivy play) Princeton would be sitting around waiting for Sunday night to see where (likely as a No. 12 or No. 13 seed) they would try to continue the Ivy’s run of NCAA Tournament upsets next week. Now, they face a sometimes dangerous Penn team on its home floor, and if they get past that, possibly an in-form Harvard team that the Tigers barely defeated twice this season.
You might be surprised to find out that no one truly knows who the Murphy actually is behind Murphy’s Law, and there are plenty of tenured Ivy League professors who would be happy to debunk it for you with evidenced-based research.
Now the karma police? That might be another story.
Regardless of what supernatural forces you think guide the universe, the optics of the race for the final spot of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament devolving into chaos are quite striking. Two decades after every other conference in America figured it would take the money and attention that a conference final on national television brings, the Ivy League finally comes kicking and screaming to the table next week at The Palestra in Philadelphia.
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.
Penn, as it has done for most of the season, battled hard Friday night against defending Ivy League champion Yale, winning a good majority of the loose balls and making the Bulldogs work for everything they got on the offensive end.
The Quakers also went more than 20 minutes without turning the ball over and had just nine for the contest.
But in the end, you only get points for putting the ball in the basket, and Penn just couldn’t do enough of it in a frustrating 68-60 loss at The Palestra.