PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania has announced its men’s basketball schedule for the 2008-09 season, and one thing is for certain -- Penn’s John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Glen Miller, is not easing his team into the campaign.
The Quakers will begin the 2008-09 season at North Carolina, which returns most of its key players from a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinal round last year before losing to eventual national champion Kansas. Penn and UNC will tip off on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the “Deandome” in Chapel Hill.
“It is always special to play a program the caliber of North Carolina, and opening the season at their place is something our guys are looking forward to,” said Miller, who will enter his third season with the Quakers in 2008-09. “A lot of UNC’s players tested the NBA waters this spring and decided to come back for another season of college ball, so they are loaded and will likely be picked as the preseason No. 1 team in the country.”
“I like the schedule we have put together for this year,” said Miller. “There are a lot of strong programs in the mix, with a good dose of major-college programs and other mid-majors who have had success within their conference and region. The goal every year is to put together a schedule that prepares you to be the best team you can be heading into the Ivy League season, and I think we accomplished that.”
Following its trip to Tobacco Road, the Quakers enjoy another special event when they take part in ESPN’s 14-game, 23-hour “Hoop Marathon” Nov. 18 by renewing its neighborhood rivalry with Drexel. The game will take place at 10 a.m. in the Dragons’ Daskalakis Athletic Center -- Penn’s first-ever trip to the DAC -- and air live on ESPN.
Click here for more information on ESPN’s Hoop Marathon
Penn’s first home game takes place Nov. 22, when the Quakers meet Monmouth for the third season in a row. Prior to Thanksgiving, on Nov. 25, Penn welcomes in-state foe Penn State, out of the Big Ten, as these two teams will meet for the 45th time overall and pick up a series that went on hiatus after the 2002-03 season. During the Thanksgiving weekend, Penn will be back on the road, heading north to face Albany, which finished second in the America East Conference last year after earning that league’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth in both 2006 and 2007.
The month of December tips off with Penn’s first Philadelphia Big 5 game of 2008-09, as Big East power Villanova comes to The Palestra for a midweek tilt on Dec. 2. Three nights later, the Quakers host Navy on the eve of the Army-Navy football game, which returns to Philadelphia this year after a one-year hiatus. This will mark the fourth straight year these two teams have met, with Penn winning each of the first three.
Penn will take a record 24 days off following the Navy game, returning to action between Christmas and New Year’s with its second consecutive holiday trip to Florida. This year the destination is Orlando and the University of Central Florida to compete in a tournament with the host Knights, Campbell University, and Chicago State University. First-round games at the UCF Holiday Classic will take place Monday, Dec. 29, with the consolation and championship slated for the next night.
As has been the case in recent years, the month of January is highlighted by Penn’s final three Big 5 games, as the Quakers will meet both Temple (Jan. 14) and Saint Joseph’s (Jan. 24) at The Palestra and travel to face La Salle (Jan. 21). The non-conference portion of the schedule also ends in January, as the Quakers host Lafayette (Jan. 6) and go up the New Jersey Turnpike for a meeting with NJIT (Jan. 17).
The 14-game Ivy League slate tips off Jan. 30-31, when Penn makes the trip to face its northernmost competition at Harvard and Dartmouth. The Quakers are home the following weekend, taking on Columbia Friday and defending champion Cornell the following night. The next weekend brings another road trip, this time to Brown (Friday) and Yale), and then Penn is home for two straight weekends, hosting Dartmouth and Harvard on Feb. 20-21 and then Yale and Brown on Feb. 27-28. The final full weekend of play sends the Quakers to New York, where they will face Cornell on Friday night and then Columbia on Saturday.
For the first time since the 2003-04 season, Penn’s first game in its storied rivalry with travel partner Princeton will take place at the Tigers’ Jadwin Gym (Feb. 17) and the second game will be played at The Palestra (March 10).
PENN MEN’S BASKETBALL 2008-09 SCHEDULE
Day, Date ... Opponent
Saturday, Nov. 15 ... at North Carolina
Tuesday, Nov. 18 ... at Drexel
Saturday, Nov. 22 ... MONMOUTH
Tuesday, Nov. 25 ... PENN STATE
Saturday, Nov. 29 ... at Albany
Tuesday, Dec. 2 ... VILLANOVA #
Friday, Dec. 5 ... NAVY
December 29-30 ... at UCF Holiday Classic (Orlando, Fla.)
Monday, Dec. 29
Campbell vs. Chicago State, 4:30 p.m.
Penn vs. Central Florida, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 30
Consolation, 4:30 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 6 ... LAFAYETTE
Wednesday, Jan. 14 ... TEMPLE #
Saturday, Jan. 17 ... at NJIT
Wednesday, Jan. 21 ... at La Salle #
Saturday, Jan. 24 ... SAINT JOSEPH’S #
Friday, Jan. 30 ... at Harvard*
Saturday, Jan. 31 ... at Dartmouth*
Friday, Feb. 6 ... COLUMBIA*
Saturday, Feb. 7 ... CORNELL*
Friday, Feb. 13 ... at Brown*
Saturday, Feb. 14 ... at Yale*
Tuesday, Feb. 17 ... at Princeton*
Friday, Feb. 20 ... DARTMOUTH*
Saturday, Feb. 21 ... HARVARD*
Friday, Feb. 27 ... YALE*
Saturday, Feb. 28 ... BROWN*
Friday, March 6 ... at Cornell*
Saturday, March 7 ... at Columbia*
Tuesday, March 10 ... PRINCETON*
Dates and times subject to change
Home games in ALL CAPS played at The Palestra
* - Ivy League game
# - Philadelphia Big 5 game