PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania has announced its 2015-16 men’s basketball schedule. In the first season under new John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball Steve Donahue, the Quakers will play a 28-game schedule that features 15 games at The Palestra.
“I am very excited about this schedule for my first season as head coach at Penn,” said Donahue. “I think our non-conference schedule is challenging, but provides us opportunities to get some momentum-building wins before we start Ivy League play. As always, the Big 5 will give us some great non-conference tests, and I couldn’t be more excited about the Big 5 doubleheader we will have at the Palestra! Being able to play my alma mater will be pretty special. And I love that we will open Ivy League play at home against Princeton! What a great first test for our guys before we get into the grind of the league schedule.”
The Non-Conference Schedule…
ROBERT MORRIS (Friday, Nov. 13): Coach Donahue’s debut as Penn’s head coach comes against a team coached by a former Penn player, Andrew Toole … Just the second meeting between these programs, the first came at The Palestra as part of the 2011 Philly Hoop Group Classic and was won by Penn, 66-60 … The regular-season runner-up in the Northeast Conference last year, Robert Morris advanced to NCAA Tournament after winning the NEC Tournament, then beat North Florida before losing to Duke … 2014-15 record: 20-15, 12-6 NEC.
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE (Sunday, Nov. 15): This will be the first meeting between the Quakers and the Blue Devils in men’s basketball … Penn enters the season 9-4 all-time against Northeast Conference schools … 2014-15 record: 5-26, 3-15 NEC.
AT DELAWARE STATE (Tuesday, Nov. 17): Penn’s first road trip of the season takes the Quakers to the Hornets … These teams met for the first time last year, in the season opener, with DSU winning in overtime at The Palestra, 77-75 … 2014-15 record: 18-18, 9-7 MEAC.
AT WASHINGTON (Saturday, Nov. 21): This game represents a homecoming of sorts for Penn senior center Darien Nelson-Henry and junior guard Matt Poplawski, both of whom hail from the Seattle area … The game will take place in Hec Edmundson Pavilion (now called Alaska Airlines Arena), which like The Palestra opened in 1927 … Penn is 2-0 against the Huskies, the wins coming in 1988 (70-69 in Palm Beach, Fla.) and 1993 (71-68 at UW) … This will be Penn’s third trip to the Seattle area, as the Quakers played there in the 1999 NCAA Tournament … Penn is 14-13 all-time against Pac-12 schools, the most recent result being a 77-73 loss to UCLA during the 2011-12 season … 2014-15 record: 16-15, 5-13 Pac-12.
LA SALLE (Wednesday, Nov. 25): The annual Big 5 matchup takes place at The Palestra this year … Penn leads the series, 38-30, but has lost eight in a row to the Explorers including an 84-67 decision last year at Tom Gola Arena … 2014-15 record: 17-16, 8-10 Atlantic 10.
AT LAFAYETTE (Sunday, Nov. 29): One of its most regular non-conference matchups, Penn has met the Leopards every year but two since the 1985-86 season … Penn leads the series, 40-8, but the Leopards have won three in a row, four of the last six, and five of the last eight meetings … Lafayette won last year’s game 83-77 in The Palestra … Lafayette won the Patriot League Tournament last year before falling in the NCAA Tournament second round … The game pits Coach Donahue against Fran O’Hanlon; the two were assistant coaches together at Penn during the 1990s … 2014-15 record: 20-13, 9-9 Patriot League.
NAVY (Wednesday, Dec. 2): This marks the second-straight year Penn has met the Midshipmen, after beating them last year in Annapolis 57-46 … Penn has played Navy 82 times, more than any other non-Ivy, non-Big 5 team … The Quakers lead the series 58-24 … Penn is 162-55 all-time against Patriot League teams … 2014-15 record: 13-19, 8-10 Patriot League.
AT GEORGE MASON (Saturday, Dec. 5): Just the second meeting between these programs, the first took place two years ago in Fairfax and was won by the Patriots 80-77 … Penn is 86-97 all-time against Atlantic 10 programs … 2014-15 record: 9-22, 4-14 Atlantic 10.
TEMPLE (Wednesday, Dec. 9): The Owls have dominated this Big 5 series recently, winning eight in a row and 11 of the last 12 meetings … Last year, Temple beat Penn at the Liacouras Center, 76-67 … This game pits Coach Donahue against one of his mentors, Fran Dunphy, as Donahue was an assistant under Dunphy at Penn from 1990-2000 … Temple advanced to the NIT semifinal round last year after a third-place finish in the American Athletic Conference … 2014-15 record: 26-11, 13-5 American.
URSINUS (Saturday, Dec. 19): Penn’s first game against the Bears since the 1944-45 season … Penn’s first game against an NCAA Division 3 opponent since the 1993-94 season … Ursinus is Coach Donahue’s college alma mater … 2014-15 record: 10-15.
AT DREXEL (Tuesday, Dec. 22): The first meeting between these neighborhood rivals since the 2012-13 season … This will be just Penn’s second trip to the DAC, the other came during the 2008-09 season and tipped off at 10 a.m. as part of ESPN’s “Tip-Off Marathon” … Penn leads the overall series 15-9, but Drexel has won the last five matchups … By date, this is the latest meeting between Penn and Drexel since the 2000-01 season … 2014-15 record: 11-19, 9-9 CAA.
AT VILLANOVA (Monday, Dec. 28): Villanova has won 12 in a row in the series … Villanova won the Big East regular-season and tournament titles, and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last year … 2014-15 record: 33-3, 16-2 Big East.
BINGHAMTON (Saturday, Jan. 2): This is the third meeting between these programs, the first two coming each of the last two seasons … Penn won two years ago at The Palestra, 65-54, and then took last year’s game in New York, 79-70 … 2014-15 record: 6-26, 5-11 America East.
SAINT JOSEPH’S (Wednesday, Jan. 20): The Big 5 finale is part of a Big 5 doubleheader at The Palestra, with La Salle and Temple meeting in the other game … Penn beat SJU last year, 56-52, and has won three of the last five matchups … 2014-15 record: 13-18, 7-11 Atlantic 10.
The Ivy League Weekends…
January 29/30 – at Yale, at Brown
*Penn has been swept on this trip each of the last two years, and split it the two years before that.
February 5/6 – Dartmouth, Harvard at The Palestra
*Penn has split this home weekend six-straight seasons, with the win coming against Dartmouth five times. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A CHANGE FROM THE ORIGINAL SCHEDULE, WHICH HAD HARVARD ON FRIDAY AND DARTMOUTH ON SATURDAY.
February 12/13 – at Columbia, at Cornell
*Penn has split this road trip three straight years (each team beating Cornell and losing to Columbia), and swept it four years ago.
February 19/20 – Brown, Yale at The Palestra
*Penn has been swept at home each of the last two years, the first time that has happened in 56 such weekends.
February 26/27 – Cornell, Columbia at The Palestra
*Penn has swept this home weekend each of the last two years and three of the last four.
March 4/5 – at Dartmouth, at Harvard
*Penn has been swept on this trip each of the last two years, after splitting it in 2013 and sweeping it in 2012.
The Princeton Rivalry…
Saturday, Jan. 9 at Penn; Tuesday, March 8 at Princeton
*They will be the 233rd and 234th meetings between the Ivy League’s flagship programs. Penn has not played any other opponent more than Princeton.