PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team had a frustrating trip to Virginia, losing twice in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Quakers return home this weekend, but the task gets no easier as their neighbor to the North, Drexel, invades The Palestra. The Dragons are preseason favorites in the CAA.
GAME 4 - PENN (1-2) vs. DREXEL (0-2)
Saturday, Nov. 17 * 4 p.m.
The Palestra (Philadelphia)
TV: PennAthletics.com (there is a charge for this)
Radio: WFIL 560 AM (Matt Leon, Vince Curran)
Penn Game Notes (PDF) / Drexel Game Notes (PDF)
*The Quakers lead the series with the Dragons, 15-8.
*That said, Drexel has won the last four games in the series, the most recent coming two seasons ago when the Dragons downed Penn, 77-56, here at The Palestra. Prior to this current Drexel run, Penn had won four in a row in the series.
*After meeting every year, uninterrupted, since the 1997-98 season, Penn and Drexel did not meet last season in what had been an annual "Battle for 33rd Street."
*Penn is 39-15 all-time against programs that currently compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. This is actually the Quakers' second game against a CAA team this week; on Monday, they lost to Delaware in the NIT first round, 84-69. (18-5 vs. Delaware, 15-8 vs. Drexel, 1-1 vs. Hofstra, 0-1 vs. JMU, 1-0 vs. Northeastern, 2-0 vs. Towson, 2-0 vs. William & Mary)
NIT Season Tip-Off
Following Saturday's game, Penn goes back into the NIT for its final two games in the 16-team, NCAA-exempt event. Here's what to look for...
*After losing twice at Virginia last week (84-69 to Delaware, 62-53 to Fairfield), Penn will travel to Lehigh for its two games this Monday and Tuesday.
*Penn will play Fordham on Monday night at 6 p.m., followed by Lehigh and Fairfield at 8:30 p.m.
*Penn will face the host Mountain Hawks on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., following the Fairfield-Fordham game that will tip off at 6 p.m.
*The radio call for Monday night's game can be heard locally in Philadelphia on WNTP 990 AM, while Tuesday's game will air locally on WXPN 88.5 FM.
Penn will play seven games before the calendar turns to December. Interestingly, the only full month in which the Quakers will play more than seven games happens to be the shortest month of the year, February -- they will play eight. Penn will play four games in December, seven in January, and five in March.
Countdown to 1,700
Penn's win over UMBC last Friday was its 1,698th win as a program; the Quakers need two more to become the 10th NCAA Division I program to reach 1,700 victories.
*Talk about youth -- Penn enters the 2012-13 season with no seniors. In an informal survey of the 345 other NCAA Division I programs, only Georgetown, Navy and Wright State came back as programs that started 2012-13 without any seniors on the roster.
Youth Movement, Part Deux
*Our colleagues at Navy came up with another way to determine a team's lack of experience, using a ratio that measured the total number of combined seasons playing Division I basketball against the number of players on the roster. Penn came in at 1.00 (15 combined years of experience/15 players on the roster). Only 13 teams had a lower ratio. (FYI, Navy was third, at 0.76, behind Cal State Northridge's 0.65 and Dartmouth's 0.73.)
Home is Where the Wins Are
Penn enters the 2012-13 season with 803 wins at The Palestra, which opened in 1927. In yet another informal survey of the other NCAA Division I programs, only Washington (921 wins at Hec Edmundson Pavilion) and Butler (812 wins at Hinkle Fieldhouse) boast more wins in their current home than the Quakers. The Edmundson Pavilion was opened in 1927, while the Bulldogs opened Hinkle in 1928.
Quaker Notemeal From the NIT
*Penn wore red uniforms in its game Monday with Delaware; it marked the first time that the Quakers wore red since March 7, 2006, a 60-59 overtime loss at Princeton.
*Penn's game with Fairfield was its first ever against the Stags, and it matched Jerome Allen up with a familiar face in Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson. Johnson played at Princeton when Allen was playing at Penn, and was head coach of the Tigers the first four times Allen matched up with them as Penn's head coach. With Tuesday's result, Johnson moved into a 5-4 lead in their individual series (previously Allen 4-0 as a player, Johnson 4-0 as Princeton's head coach).
*Junior Fran Dougherty blew up at the NIT; he had a career-high 21 points against Delaware (previous high 14, set last year vs. La Salle), then exploded for 31 of Penn's 53 points against Fairfield. He also had 10 rebounds against the Stags for his first collegiate double-double.
*Dougherty's 31-point outing against Fairfield was the best scoring game by a Penn player since Ibrahim Jaaber dropped 32 on Seton Hall on Dec. 23, 2006.
*After missing the season opener, freshman Jamal Lewis made his collegiate debut against Delaware, playing 29 minutes at the point and finishing the game with four points, two assists (without a turnover) and three steals before fouling out. He followed that up with 32 minutes against Fairfield where he had six rebounds and four steals to go with two points.
*Delaware collected 47 rebounds in Monday's game, matching an opponent high in the Jerome Allen coaching era (previously set by Duke on Jan. 1, 2012).