Posts for penn

How ‘Bout Them Quakers?

Kevin Kinkead - December 12, 2018

I know what you’re thinking –

“Kyle won’t write about the Villanova loss since he’s a biased Villanova guy.”

That’s partially true. He’s doing business stuff for the site, so he himself is not going to write about it. He asked me to whip something up in his stead.

Penn looked good last night. Really good. Credit where it’s due; they’re a well-coached squad that knows how to space the floor and play disruptive defense and do the small things well. It’s not to say that Jay Wright is chopped liver compared to Steve Donahue, because Jay obviously just won two national championships, but I think we all knew that Villanova was gonna fall off a little bit after losing a bunch of guys to the NBA. Going down to Furman early in the season showed us that they were probably ripe for a Big 5 picking.

The Quakers didn’t win every category across the board last night. They actually took three fewer shots than Nova but were better from the three point line, hitting 7 of 16 tries for a 43.8% number. Villanova put up some deep bricks to the tune of a 9-26 night (34.6%), and that was probably the key difference, the three point shooting, along with Penn grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to offset a -3 turnover margin. Nova’s bench went 0-5 from three and contributed just 11 of their 75 points, while the Quakers got 25 combined points from Michael Wang and Jake Silpe on 7-14 shooting. Nova only mustered six assists as Penn forced them to play off the bounce, and when it came down to the final minutes, they team hit their free throws to finish the job.

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Will Penn Disrupt Villanova’s Big 5 Dominance?

Tim Reilly - December 11, 2018

“You come at the king,” quipped The Wire‘s Omar Little, “you best not miss.” Over the course of twenty-five basketball games stretched across seven seasons, Villanova has firmly established itself atop the Big 5 throne. In that time, there have been plenty of swings at the champs, and a whole lot of whiffs.

While its city brethren have struggled to escape the shadows of their former glories, the Wildcats have been busy writing new chapters in their own history books. Jay Wright’s program has claimed two national titles in three years. Wright, who was once a Rollie Massimino lieutenant, has eclipsed the accomplishments of his former boss and cemented his place as the best coach in Villanova’s history. Finneran Pavilion, fresh off a $65 million renovation, finally matches the sartorial splendor of the head coach. And the recruiting classes haven’t been too bad, either.

If there were a season that at least one of the Big 5 teams could catch up to Villanova, it stood to reason that 2018-19 might be the one. Despite a lofty #9 ranking in the preseason AP poll, Villanova was very much a team in transition for this campaign.

Wright was tasked with replacing 4 key players from the 2017-18 championship team: Jalen Brunson, last year’s Wooden Award winner, which is given to college basketball’s best player; Mikal Bridges; Omari Spellman; and Donte Divincenzo, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. All but Brunson were selected in the first round of the June 2018 NBA Draft.

Early in the year, the Wildcats looked vulnerable. Villanova followed up a blowout loss to Michigan with a dispiriting overtime setback to the Furman Paladins. Villanova dropped both contests on its refurbished home court.

Wright’s squad hasn’t lost since.

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Introducing “Macquarie Court at the Palestra”

Kevin Kinkead - October 31, 2018

Nothing is immune to the insidious tendrils of corporate influence. Not even Philadelphia’s hallowed cathedral of college basketball.

The Palestra is no longer the Palestra. Sort of. The naming rights were sold to a global financial group called “Macquarie,” which apparently has an American headquarters in Philly.

Penn alum Jon Tannenwald, who I’m 99.9% sure hates this move, wrote about it for the Inquirer:

“It’s a multiyear deal that will boost the Penn basketball teams’ budgets, and boost a range of community service programs that the athletic department runs. Athletic director Grace Calhoun wouldn’t disclose the amount of money changing hands, or the exact length of the deal, but she did call it “far and away the largest sponsorship Penn athletics has entered into, and one that we feel is really going to visibly change the way we’re able to sponsor our programs.”

I guess the building itself is still going to be called “The Palestra,” you’re just going to see the branding on the court and public address announcers will use the verbiage, “Macquarie Court at the Palestra.”

Pics after the jump:

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Penn Lost

Kevin Kinkead - March 15, 2018

It was fun while it lasted.

And it was close, too, a lot closer than the 76 to 60 scoreline indicates.

Penn came out flying in Wichita, building a 10-point lead against a sleepy Kansas. The Jayhawks eventually woke up and used a 22 to 5 run and a bullshit foul call to take a 33-26 halftime lead. Big 12 player of the year Devonte’ Graham poured in 19 in the first and finished with 29 points to lead all scorers.

Steve Donahue’s team cut the lead to four in the second and really didn’t play a bad game, but they disappointed with some self-inflicted wounds. The Quakers turned it over 11 times and finished 5-14 from the free-throw line, a miserable 35.7% from the charity stripe.

They shot 40% from the field and 39.3% from the three-point arc, hitting 11 of 29 from deep. Caleb Wood, a 38% three-point shooter, finished 4-12 from beyond as Penn went well-below their season averages against a bona-fide power conference champion. I still think they were under-seeded, but it doesn’t matter now.

This was a home game for Kansas, a first-round game in their home state. They had to travel ALL THE WAY to Kansas City (45 minutes) for the Big 12 tournament and ALL THE WAY to Wichita (2.5 hours) for this game.

They will, no doubt, find a way to underachieve and exit the tournament in disappointing fashion.

And then we will all laugh at them.

They will get their comeuppance.

 

In what World is Penn a 16 Seed?

Kevin Kinkead - March 12, 2018

Not a great Sunday for the NCAA selection committee or anyone associated with the selection show. Both found a way to take simple things and make them complicated instead.

Where to start?

How about the fact that a a 20-13 Syracuse team was given a play-in game as a #11 seed, but not the 20-14 Notre Dame team that won in the Carrier Dome minus two key players?

Or you could look at the 23-11 USC team that finished second to Arizona in the PAC-12 this year and lost in the conference tournament final. They didn’t get in, but UCLA (20-11) and Arizona State (21-11) are going dancing despite finishing multiple spots below the Trojans in the conference.

Think about Oklahoma, who lost 8 of 10 to finish the year. The 18-13 Sooners were 9th in the Big 12 but got in over Oklahoma State, who finished 19-14 with wins against Kansas (2x), WVU, Texas Tech, Florida State, and split with their Bedlam rivals.

Sure, Davidson’s A-10 tournament upset kept a more deserving team out of the tournament, but this year’s bracket is rife with questionable selections and seedings.

That includes your Penn Quakers, a 24-8 team that won its (brief) conference tournament and finished 12-2 in the Ivy League to split the regular season title with Harvard.

They were rewarded with a 16 seed and a trip to Wichita to face Kansas, a team that gets yet another post-season home game. Kansas shoots the three-pointer as good as anyone in the country, while Penn has the second best three-point defense in college basketball, so I think we’re actually looking at an intriguing matchup here. My gut tells me that Penn doesn’t stand a chance, especially with repulsive and entitled Jawhawk fans filling the arena, but maybe they make it interesting.

My gut also says that Penn got screwed in the seeding, so let’s take a look at their resume and compare it to the 15 seeds. I used schedule strength and RPI data from CBS SportsContinue Reading

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Penn Is Going Dancing

Kevin Kinkead - March 11, 2018

Let’s give it up for your Ivy League champions, the Penn Quakers, who wrapped up a wonderful 24-8 season with a 68-65 win against Harvard in Sunday’s tournament final.

A.J. Brodeur finished with 16 and 10 on 8-14 shooting and senior guard Darnell Foreman, a Camden native, led all scorers with 19. The Quakers used a 24-0 run that spanned two halves to shake off a slow start, then pushed past Harvard with a pair of Caleb Wood three-pointers in the game’s final moments.

Video courtesy of Jonathan Tannenwald over at Philly.com:

Penn was a 13 win team last season and major, major props are due to head coach Steve Donahue for the turnaround. This will be the Quakers’ first tournament appearance since 2007, and they’ll look to win their first March Madness game dating back to 1994, when they knocked off Nebraska in an 11/6 upset:

Penn projects to be a 12-14 seed. They beat a pair of A10 teams in the non-conference schedule and we’ll see where they end up in a few hours, when the selection show kicks off.

The Big Five: Conference Tournament Outlooks for Villanova, Penn, and three Underachievers

Kevin Kinkead - March 7, 2018

Let’s talk about college basketball.

We really haven’t done much of anything on it this season, outside of the occasional Villanova mention, because we were preoccupied with your Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

And outside of the Wildcats, it was a down year for the Big 5 and Drexel, a crop that isn’t putting multiple teams in the big dance without pulling some Jon Dorenbos-level conference tournament magic, starting tonight and tomorrow. Temple and Saint Joe’s didn’t give us much this season, while Penn put together an excellent year amid very little press and fanfare.

Let’s take a look at where each squad stands, as we begin what I think is one of the best sporting weeks of the year. I put the conference tournament brackets below each section, courtesy of CBS Sports.

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Villanova to Play Penn in Jake Nevin Field House

Chris Jastrzembski - September 1, 2017

Villanova will play at least one game on campus this season. Except it won’t be at Finneran Pavilion.

The Wildcats announced this morning they’ll play Penn at Jake Nevin Field House on November 29. Originally known as the Villanova Field House, the Wildcats last played at the venue back in January, 1986 against Marist, before moving to the Pavilion.

Most of Nova’s games will be played at the Wells Fargo Center this year, as the Pavilion undergoes a huge $60 million renovation. That includes the addition of VIP box clubs, seating renovations, and what the school called a “recruiting room.”

The Field House currently is home for the women’s volleyball team and recently underwent its own renovation back in 2012.

The place seats 1,500 people in the upper level, which is about 5,000 less than what the Pavilion has (the reno is, frustratingly, not adding any seats). My guess is they’ll add some seats (in the Field House) to up the attendance.

Penn State did something like this two years ago when they played Canisius and UL-Monroe at Rec Hall, which was their home before the Bryce Jordan Center was built. It’s a great move by Nova to have at least one game at their old barn rather than make people commute down to the Wells Fargo Center for every home game.

It’s even better that it’s a Big 5 game, but I’m for having every Big 5 game at the Palestra. But that’ll probably never happen again.

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