PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania has announced its men's basketball schedule for the 2006-07 season, and it is an ambitious one for the two-time defending Ivy League champions.
There is a trip to The Carrier Dome to play Syracuse, the 2003 NCAA national champion out of the Big East which returns four starters from a team that went 23-12 in 2005-06 and won the Big East Tournament. There is a trip to North Carolina's "Deandome," to square off with the Atlantic Coast Conference power just two seasons removed from the NCAA title and with four starters back from a team that went 23-8 in 2005-06, finished second in the ACC and advanced to the second round of 2006 NCAA Tournament. There is a trip to The Meadowlands to face another Big East opponent in Seton Hall, which went to the NCAA Tournament last year and compiled an 18-12 record (9-7 Big East).
Among the other non-conference games, you have a neutral-site game with the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP), which had NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004 and 2005 and advanced to the second round of last year's NIT while compiling a 21-10 record; a home game with Monmouth, which made last year's NCAA Tournament as the Northeast Conference champion and returns three starters from that team in 2006-07; a home game with the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), which went to the NCAA Tournament as Horizon League champion in 2002 and 2004 and returns four starters from a team that went 16-15 last year; and a trip to Elon University to face a Phoenix team that finished 15-14 overall but went 10-4 in the Southern Conference last year to win that league's North Division title.
Oh, and there is also the usual slate of Philadelphia Big 5 games (plus Drexel), and of course the "14-game tournament" that is the Ivy League regular-season campaign.
"Our players and coaching staff are excited and anxious to begin preparation for the 2006-07 season," said Penn's John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men's Basketball, Glen Miller, who enters his first season with the Quakers after spending the last seven years at Brown University. "Our schedule should translate into one of the more challenging out-of-conference schedules in the country. We will have to compete at a high level every night to achieve success. Come January, though, I am confident we will be well-tested and prepared for the rigors of Ivy League play."
Penn will play at The Palestra 15 times this season, including a second-straight home game with Philadelphia Big 5 power Villanova. However, arguably the highlight of the Quakers' Big 5 season occurs January 24 when the program's all-time winningest coach, Fran Dunphy, returns to The Palestra to face his old team (Penn) with his new team (Temple) for the first time.
The season starts early this year-Nov. 10-12, to be exact-when the Quakers head to Syracuse University to take part in the Black Coaches Association (BCA) Invitational. Penn is one of four teams in the event and will play the other three during the three-day affair: Syracuse, UTEP and St. Francis (N.Y.), which went 10-17 a year ago.
Penn's first home game takes place Saturday, Nov. 18 against Florida Gulf Coast University, a transitioning Division I program that went 18-12 as a Division II program last year and will be joining the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2007-08. Three days later, the Quaker men's and women's teams will play a city doubleheader at The Palestra, as the women entertain La Salle and the men follow with Drexel.
The Quakers' first Philadelphia Big 5 game comes Saturday, Dec. 2 when Villanova comes to The Palestra. The other three Big 5 games will come in succession in January-at La Salle (Jan. 18), at home vs. Temple (Jan. 24), and at The Palestra against Saint Joseph's (Jan. 27).
Penn's Ivy League slate begins with the road trip to Cornell (Friday, Jan. 12) and Columbia (Saturday, Jan. 13). In fact, the Quakers' first four league games will be on the road, highlighted when Miller makes his return to Brown's Pizzitola Sports Center on Friday, Feb. 2. Following the Brown-Yale road weekend, Penn is home for seven of its next nine Ivy League games, including five in an eight-day span from Feb. 9-17.
For the third year in a row, Penn will host Princeton first (Tuesday, Feb. 13), then travel to the Tigers' Jadwin Gym to conclude the regular season (Tuesday, March 6).
Penn returns three starters from last year's 20-9 team, headlined by the 2005-06 Ivy League Player of the Year, senior Ibrahim Jaaber, at guard. Senior forward Mark Zoller returns as a first-team All-Ivy selection from a year ago, while senior center Steve Danley has been an honorable mention All-Ivy pick each of the last two years.
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA MEN'S BASKETBALL
Dates and times subject to change
Home games in ALL CAPS played at The Palestra
* - Ivy League game
# - Philadelphia Big 5 game
(BCA) - BCA Invitational (Syracuse, N.Y.)
Day, Date - Opponent, Time
Friday, Nov. 10 - vs. UTEP (BCA), 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 11 - vs. St. Francis, N.Y. or Syracuse (BCA), 4:30 or 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 12 - vs. St. Francis, N.Y. or Syracuse (BCA), 3:30 or 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 18 - FLORIDA GULF COAST, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 21 - DREXEL, TBA
Tuesday, Nov. 28 - MONMOUTH, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2- VILLANOVA #, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 7- at Navy, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9- FORDHAM, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 21- ILLINOIS-CHICAGO, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23- at Seton Hall, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 3- at North Carolina, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 6- at Elon, 2 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 12- at Cornell*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13- at Columbia*, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 18- at La Salle #, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 24- TEMPLE #, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 27- SAINT JOSEPH'S #, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 2- at Brown*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 3- at Yale*, 6 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 9- DARTMOUTH*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 10- HARVARD*, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 13- PRINCETON*, TBA
Friday, Feb. 16- COLUMBIA*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 17- CORNELL*, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23- at Harvard*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 24- at Dartmouth*, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 2- YALE*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 3- BROWN*, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6- at Princeton*, TBA