Men's Basketball Heads to Cornell, Columbia

Game 14 - Penn at Cornell
Friday, Jan. 12 * 7 p.m. * Newman Arena * Ithaca, N.Y.
WXPN (88.5 FM)/ (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
TV: None
Game 15 - Penn at Columbia
Saturday, Jan. 13 * 7 p.m. * Levien Gym * New York, N.Y.
WXPN (88.5 FM)/ (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
TV: CN8 (Scott Graham, Rob Kennedy

Penn Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - The games really count now. After 13 contests that constituted a “preseason” of sorts, the Penn men’s basketball team gets serious this weekend with Ivy League games at Cornell and Columbia. The Quakers, winners of the last two Ivy titles, return three starters and its sixth man from last year’s championship team and enter the conference campaign as the preseason favorite to repeat.

Of course, it would be unfair to say the Quakers were not serious before this. On the contrary, Penn has prepped for league play with a schedule that, as of Thursday morning, was rated the 32nd most difficult in the Pomeroy standings (compared to Cornell’s at 306 and Columbia’s at 322).

First-year head coach Glen Miller makes his first New York trip from Philadelphia -- previously he had done it from Providence -- and he makes it with plenty of firepower. In particular, the Quakers boast a trio of two-time All-Ivy players who have played central roles in Penn’s two most recent Ivy titles, senior captains Steve Danley, Ibrahim Jaaber and Mark Zoller. Jaaber, of course, was the 2005-06 Ivy League Player of the Year, and earlier this year he became the Ivy League’s all-time leader in steals (he enters the weekend with 254 career thefts). Jaaber and Zoller have also scored 1,000 points in their careers.

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 6 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 35-5 in league play (19-2 at home, 16-3 on the road). Beyond that, all but one of the five losses the result 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); and 60-59 in OT at Princeton (3/7/06).

Mr. 100: Penn’s John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Glen Miller, earned his 100th win as a Division I head coach last weekend at Elon; after compiling a 93-99 record in seven seasons at Brown, he is 7-6 at Penn.

Did You Know? According to Stats, Inc., senior guard Ibrahim Jaaber is not only the Ivy League's all-time leader with 254 steals, he currently leads all active NCAA Division I players in career thefts. The top five (through games of January 10):
Ibrahim Jaaber, Penn - 254
D.J. Thompson, Appalachian State - 244
Carl Elliott, George Washington - 241
Jamon Gordon, Virginia Tech - 236
Vernon Hamilton, Clemson, 233

Surveying the Opponents
• Friday night’s meeting between Penn and Cornell is the 207th between these Ivy rivals; the Quakers have won the last 16 in a row and lead the series 140-66.

• Penn has won eight in a row over Cornell in Ithaca, dating back to the 1998-99 season, and gone 13-2 in its last 15 visits to Newman Arena.

• Saturday night’s meeting between Penn and Columbia is the 210th between these Ivy rivals; the Quakers have won eight of the last nine in the series -- having an eight-game winning streak ended right here last year -- and lead the series 129-80.

• Prior to last year’s 59-57 loss to the Lions at the buzzer -- which knocked the Quakers from the unbeaten ranks in Ivy play, at 7-1 -- Penn had won four in a row at Levien Gym and 12 of the previous 13 games played here.

• In seven years as head coach at Brown, Glen Miller’s Bears teams swept this weekend trip three teams and split it four times; three of those years, Brown played Cornell Friday and Columbia Saturday, sweeping twice (2001, 2003) and splitting once (2005 -- lost at Cornell, won at Columbia).

I Know You!
On Friday 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 previous head coach Fran Dunphy for 10 years. During his tenure as a Quaker assistant, Donahue was instrumental in Penn winning six Ivy League titles, advancing to the NCAA Tournament five times and earning national recognition with a top 25 ranking. 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.

Scheduling Tough!
• The six teams to have beaten Penn this year -- UTEP, Syracuse, Villanova, Fordham, Seton Hall and No. 1 North Carolina -- entered the weekend with a combined record of 66-26 (.717 win percentage).

Download: 0607 Notes 14-15 (@Cor-Col).pdf