Men's Basketball Set to Tip Off Friday

PHILADELPHIA - Believe it or not, the Penn basketball season is here! It may only be the second weekend in November, but there is no soft-stepping into the 2007-08 campaign -- instead, the Quakers dive into things by updating its neighborhood rivalry with Drexel.

GAME 1
Penn vs. Drexel
Nov. 9, 2007 * 7 p.m.
The Palestra (Philadelphia)
TV:
None
Radio: WXPN (88.5 FM) - Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran

This is actually the start of a frenetic early-season schedule by the Quakers; they play seven games in the month of November, and then three more in the first week of December. And if you are wondering: yes, tonight’s game represents the earliest start date in the program’s history.

Both Penn and Drexel, of course, made plenty of headlines last year. The Quakers won their third-straight Ivy League title, gave Texas A&M a scare in the NCAA Tournament, and was led by seniors Ibrahim Jaaber and Mark Zoller. Jaaber not only earned Ivy League Player of the Year for the second-straight year; he also gained the Geasey Award as the Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year, Penn’s first recipient of that prestigious honor since Tony Price in 1979. Zoller, meanwhile, earned first-team All-Ivy and All-Big 5.

Drexel made headlines throughout the season last year, as well, gaining several big-time wins. However, the biggest news occured with what the Dragons did NOT do -- make the NCAA Tournament. When the 65-team field was announced last March, Drexel was considered by many to be one of the first snubs by the selection committee.

All of that is in the past. Both teams enter the 2007-08 season looking to fill big shoes. For Penn, of course, there are several unproven players who need to gain experience. Drexel also has some losses to overcome.

The Series With Drexel
• This marks the 20th meeting between Penn and Drexel in men’s basketball. The Quakers lead the all-time series, 15-4, with the most recent win coming last year on Nov. 21, 68-49. In fact, Penn has won four in a row in the series.

• These neighboring rivals are playing each other for the 12th year in a row.

• Penn is 34-7 all-time against the teams that currently make up the Colonial Athletic Association.
Delaware...16-3
Drexel...15-4
Northeastern...1-0
William & Mary...2-0

Penn Picked Third in Preseason Ivy Poll
For the first time since the Reagan administration, the Ivy media have picked neither Penn nor Princeton to finish first in the League. Cornell is this season’s pick, and it is the first time it has not been one of the “Killer P’s” since Dartmouth was picked by the media in 1988-89. The announcement came October 31 from the Ivy League office. The voting consisted of two media members from each of the eight Ivy schools.

2007-08 Preseason Poll Results
1. Cornell -- 119 (10 first-place votes)
2. Yale -- 104 (3)
3. Penn -- 97 (1)
4. Columbia -- 80 (1)
5. Brown -- 70 (1)
6. Harvard -- 43
7. Princeton -- 40
8. Dartmouth -- 23

Penn Inks New Radio Deal
Penn Athletics is proud to announce its comprehensive radio broadcast package for the 2007-08 University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball season. The Penn Sports Network, the broadcasting arm of Penn Athletics encompassing radio, television, and on-line/new media, is partnering with Greater Media Philadelphia to make Sports Radio 950 WPEN AM the primary carrier of live, play-by-play coverage of the Quakers.

• Sports Radio 950 will air 18 regular-season Red and Blue home and road contests on its 25,000-watt signal, allowing Penn fans to hear the games throughout the city and suburbs of Philadelphia, as well as in Southern New Jersey, parts of Northern New Jersey, and Northern Delaware. Included among the Quakers’ appearances on the station are marquee non-conference clashes with the University of North Carolina and the University of Miami, and select Ivy League matchups.

• In addition to its arrangement with Sports Radio 950, Penn Athletics has also reached an agreement to extend its relationship with WXPN (88.5 FM), which will broadcast an additional 10 Penn men’s basketball games. An “Ivy League Saturday Night” package highlights the deal, as WXPN will serve as home to five of the six outings the Quakers will play on the back-end of Ancient Eight weekends.

• Each radio broadcast of the 2007-08 season (with the exception of 2/12 vs. Princeton) will begin 15 minutes prior to tipoff with a pre-game show, featuring exclusive interviews with the John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Glen Miller, and a member of the opposing team’s coaching staff. Also, all radio broadcasts will stream live and on-demand through the Penn Sports Network at PennAthletics.com. Most home games will be televised online.

• For the third consecutive campaign, Brian Seltzer C’07 (play-by-play) and Vince Curran W’92, SEAS’92 (analyst) will call the action. In addition to his role in the Penn Athletics Department, Seltzer serves as the Philadelphia Eagles beat reporter for Sports Radio 950, and co-hosts its Monday Night Football Live program, featuring the Brian Dawkins Show. Curran also provides color commentary for numerous television networks, including CSTV, CN8, and the Atlantic-10 Network. He appears frequently on Comcast SportsNet’s Daily News Live.

Penn on TV in 2007-08
The Quakers will have 12 games televised this season, with several national telecasts in the mix.

• Once again, Penn will have six games air on regional cable channel CN8, which stretches from New England to the Washington, D.C. area. Both of the Quakers’ games in the Philly Hoop Group Classic championship round will be televised as part of the package -- Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Virginia (9 p.m.), and Saturday, Nov. 24 vs. either Seton Hall or Navy (at 7 or 9 p.m.). Regular-season games against Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s (Jan. 19), as well as Ivy League games against Princeton (Feb. 12), at Harvard (Feb. 23) and against Cornell (March 7) will also air on CN8.

• Penn will play on the ESPN family of networks four times during the course of the season, highlighted by its national telecast on ESPN2 when North Carolina comes to The Palestra on Tuesday, Dec. 4. In addition, the Quakers’ Big 5 game at Villanova (Dec. 1) will air on ESPN360; their Ivy game at home with Yale (Feb. 16) will air live on ESPN Classic; and their season-ending contest at Princeton (March 11) will be televised on ESPNU.

• As part of the Ivy League’s television package with the YES Network, Penn’s contest at Yale (Feb. 29) will air live to a nationwide audience.

• Finally, Penn’s game at Lafayette will be broadcast by the Lafayette Sports Network, which can be seen regionally in Eastern Pennsylvania.

About the Quakers
• Penn has won the Ivy League title each of the last three years, five of the last six years, six times since 2000 and 11 times in the last 15 seasons.

• Penn has won at least 20 games each of the last three seasons, five of the last six seasons, and 10 times since 1992-93.

• Penn is 181-29 (.861) against the Ivy League since the start of the 1992-93 season, including five undefeated campaigns.

• Penn has won 21-straight Ivy League home games heading into the 2007-08 season, and is 102-9 vs. Ivy opponents at The Palestra since losing the 1991-92 season opener; during that time, the Quakers are 10-5 against Princeton, and 92-4 against the rest of the Ivies.

• Penn led the Ivy League in nine separate categories last year (conference games only):
Scoring Offense (72.3 ppg)
Scoring Margin (+13.9)
Field-Goal Percentage (.502)
Field-Goal Percentage Defense (.401)
3-Point FG Percentage Defense (.297)
Rebounding Offense (33.2)
Assists Per Game (16.21)
Steals Per Game (8.36)
Assist/Turnover Ratio (1.27)

• Headlined by the loss of three three-year starters -- two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Ibrahim Jaaber, two-time first-team All-Ivy pick Mark Zoller, and two-time All-Ivy honoree Steve Danley -- Penn must replace 58.2 percent of its scoring and 50.2 percent of its rebounds from a year ago.

• Penn’s top returner is undoubtedly senior Brian Grandieri, a second-team All-Ivy pick last year who averaged 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He was third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding.

• Grandieri -- who did not play his freshman year due to injury -- started all but one game a year ago, shot 50 percent from 3-point land (22-of-44), and was third on the team with 83 assists and 37 steals.

• Grandieri finished with 19 double-figure scoring games in 2006-07, and had two games with 10 rebounds. He has 27 double-figure scoring games and three double-doubles in his collegiate career.

• Sophomore Darren Smith started 10 of Penn’s last 11 games, sitting only for Senior Night in favor of outgoing senior Adam Franklin; Smith averaged 4.2 points per game and hit 22-of-46 from beyond the arc.

• Smith had a pair of 17-point games last year (against Florida Gulf Coast and Harvard), as well as a 10-point outing vs. Dartmouth.

• Junior Kevin Egee (3.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg) saw time in all 31 games last year, with eight starts; he averaged 13.3 minutes per outing.

• Egee had eight games with at least seven points last year, including his first collegiate double-figure game with 10 points at Cornell.

• Senior Michael Kach (3.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg) played in 24 contests last year, with two starts; he averaged 14.0 minutes per game.

• Kach had 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in his first collegiate start, at Navy; he later dropped 14 points at Harvard.

• Kach played just six games as a freshman, then did not play at all sophomore year before re-joining the team last year.

• Junior Brennan Votel (2.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg) was one of just six players to play in all 31 games last season; he averaged 9.2 minutes per game.

• Votel had an 11-point, 4-rebound game against Harvard last year, and went for 10 points and six boards in the Ivy-clinching win over Yale.

• Sophomore Justin Reilly (1.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg) played in 23 games last year, second behind Smith among newcomers (fellow freshman Andreas Schreiber appeared in 16 contests).

• A harbinger of things to come? Reilly, a Texas native, was fearless in the NCAA Tournament loss to Texas A&M, scoring seven points and snaring three boards in a season-high 22 minutes of action.

• Junior Cameron Lewis certainly left an impression defensively last year, with nine blocked shots in 32 minutes of action.

• One potential damaging loss this season is junior Tommy McMahon, who will sit out the year after having surgery in the fall. He has been plagued by back problems during his first two seasons at Penn.