Men's Basketball Ends Homestand With Columbia, Cornell

Penn vs.Columbia * Friday, 7 p.m.
The Palestra* Philadelphia
Penn vs.Cornell * Saturday,7 p.m.
The Palestra* Philadelphia
WXPN (88.5 FM) / (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
TV: Friday - None; Saturday - YES Network (John Sterling, Greg Herenda)

Penn Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - With half of the Ivy League schedule down, the Penn men’s basketball team sits exactly where the preseason prognosticators had them at the beginning of the year -- at the top of the standings, where they have ended each of the last two seasons.

The Quakers’ hold on the top spot is precarious, however. At 6-1, they enter the weekend just a half-game up on Yale and Cornell, both of whom are 6-2. (Both Yale and Cornell have completed play against their travel partner, while Penn has played Princeton just once so far)

The Big Red makes up one of this weekend’s opponents, coming into The Palestra Saturday on the heels of Friday night’s Penn-Columbia tilt (Cornell, meanwhile, is at Princeton Friday night). Up the road in New Haven, Yale is home against Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend, as the Bulldogs hope to keep pace with their fellow frontrunners.

This weekend’s games represent the fourth and fifth Penn will play at home in an eight-day span; wins against Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton preceded this weekend.

Penn Picked to Win: Penn was a near-unanimous pick to win the Ivy League title for the third year in a row and the fifth time in the last six years by a preseason poll of Ivy League media outlets. The Quakers received 15 of the 16 first-place votes in the preseason poll. (see page 5 for more details)

Ivy Domination: Penn began the 2003-04 Ivy League season with a pair of losses at Yale and Brown. Since then, the Quakers have gone 41-6 in league play (22-2 at home, 19-4 on the road). Beyond that, all but two of the six losses could have gone either way. They were: 78-74 to Brown (2/20/04); 76-70 in OT to Princeton (3/9/04); 78-60 at Yale (2/19/05); 59-57 at Columbia (2/17/06); 60-59 in OT at Princeton (3/7/06); and 77-68 at Yale (2/3/07).

Ivy Domination, Palestra Style: Penn has won 17 straight Ivy League home games -- going 7-0 each of the last two seasons, then beating Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton during the last week -- as well as 20 of its last 21 and 34 of its last 36 conference home games. In fact, the Quakers are a staggering 98-9 at The Palestra against the Ancient Eight since losing their Ivy League home opener in 1991-92. During that time, the Quakers are 10-5 against Princeton and 88-4 against the rest of the league.

Surveying the Opponents
• Friday night’s meeting between Penn and Columbia is the 211th between these Ivy rivals; the Quakers have won nine of the last 10 in the series and lead it overall, 130-80.

• Saturday night’s meeting between Penn and Cornell is the 208th between these Ivy rivals; the Quakers have won the last 17 in a row and lead the series 141-66.

• Talk about dominating a weekend! Penn has swept the C-C weekend at home every year since 1990-91 with one exception -- in 2001-02, the Quakers beat Cornell on Friday but then lost to Columbia on Saturday, 54-53. Cornell’s last win in The Palestra came during the 1988-89 season (65-61).

I Know You!
On Saturday night, Penn will match wits with a man who knows the Quaker program pretty well -- Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue. Donahue served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Penn’s previous head coach, Fran Dunphy, for 10 years. A face on Donahue’s staff might also be a familiar one to Penn fans. Nat Graham lettered twice for the Quakers, and was part of two undefeated Ivy League teams.

Tough Schedule!
• Penn began the Ivy League season with four road games, but is now in a span of playing seven of nine Ivy games at home (including five in an eight-day span from Feb. 9-17).

Scheduling Tough!
• The seven non-Ivy teams to beat Penn this year -- UTEP, Syracuse, Villanova, Fordham, Seton Hall, No.4 North Carolina and Saint Joseph’s -- entered the week with a combined record of 111-63 (.638 win percentage). All have at least a .500 mark.

Veteran Leadership
• Ibrahim Jaaber has started all 81 games played by Penn the last three seasons, while Steve Danley has started 79 of the 80 games he has played in that span (he came off the bench for Senior Night in 2004-05, and missed a game to injury in 2005-06). Mark Zoller, meanwhile, has 86 career starts.

Quaker Notemeal From Princeton...
• The last time Penn scored 48 or fewer points and won was February 8, 2003 (a 47-40 victory at Columbia). Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to February 28, 1989 to find another example (Penn 43, Princeton 42).

• The Quakers had not allowed as little as 35 points to an opponent since December 6, 1972 (a 67-34 win over The Citadel).

• The last time Princeton scored this few points in a game with Penn was December 22, 1945 (a 66-30 Quaker win at Princeton).

• Penn (48) and Princeton (35) combined for 83 points; the last time Penn combined with an opponent for so few points was February 4, 1992, when the Quakers lost to Princeton, 42-40 (82 points).

• Senior Mark Zoller was the only player on either team to score in double figures; he had 17 points.

Download: 0607 Notes 24-25 (Col-Cor).pdf