Quakers Begin Defense of Ivy Title With Cornell, Columbia

Penn Ivy Weekend #1 Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA -- Yeah, going to Cameron Indoor Stadium to play No. 1 Duke was fun. And sure, the game at home against No. 3 Villanova was a good experience. And, hey, who is going to argue with a three-point win at Hawaii -- to say nothing of the actual trip to the islands?

That was all well and good. But this weekend, let the real games begin.

PENN - Ivy LeagueWeekend #1
Game 1 - Cornell
Friday, Jan. 13, 2006 * 7 p.m. EST
TV: None
Game 2 - Columbia
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006 * 7 p.m. EST
both games will air on WXPN (88.5 FM) and www.pennathletics.com
Brian Seltzer, PBP; Vince Curran, analyst

And by real games, of course, we mean the only games that truly matter on the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball schedule -- the Ivy League games. The Quakers -- winners of last year’s Ivy title -- begin defense of their crown this weekend, hosting Cornell Friday night and Columbia Saturday as the rigorous back-to-back schedule rears itself up once again this season.

These games are the first two of seven in a row at home for the Quakers, five of which come against conference foes. It is a good way to jump out quickly in the Ivy race, which of course is the only race that matters since the Ivy League remains without a postseason tournament (of course, there are those who would call the Ivy League season a 14-game tournament!).

Prior to Monday night’s contest at Fordham, the Penn players might have felt more comfortable playing this weekend’s games on the road -- the Quakers had won three in a row away from The Palestra before running out of gas in The Bronx (never a good idea). The combination of Penn’s struggling offense and the Rams’ red-hot shooting combined to give the Quakers’ Atlantic-10 foe a 78-63 victory.

However, most coaches will tell you that success in conference play begins by defending your home court, and Penn is certainly evidence of that. In the past 13 seasons, the Quakers have gone 7-0 in The Palestra seven times. Taking it a step further, since losing its 1991-92 Ivy home opener to eventual champion Princeton, Penn is a staggering 88-9 (.907 percentage) against Ancient Eight teams on its home court.

Penn enters conference play as a unanimous selection to win the Ivy title, based on a poll featuring two members from every school’s media contingent.

The Fun Fact

With all the hubbub surrounding Penn Head Coach Fran Dunphy and his countdown to 300 career victories—he entered the weekend needing four—perhaps lost in the shuffle is that the Penn program is rapidly closing in on becoming just the eighth NCAA Division I program to gain 1,600 wins. The Quakers enter the Cornell game with an all-time record of 1,598-900-2. The programs that beat Penn to 1,600 wins read like a who’s who of elite college basketball: Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, St. John’s, Syracuse and Temple. Just behind Penn? Indiana (1,580), Utah (1,577), Notre Dame (1,574) and UCLA (1,562).

The Series with Cornell

• Friday night’s meeting between Penn and Cornell is the 105th between these Ivy rivals; the Quakers lead the series 138-66 and have won 14 in a row over the Big Red.

• Penn head coach Fran Dunphy boasts a 28-4 all-time record over Cornell.

• Last season, Penn defeated Cornell, 64-50, here at The Palestra, then followed it up with a 66-49 win in Ithaca.

The Series with Columbia

• Saturday night’s meeting between Penn and Columbia is the 108th between these Ivy rivals; the Quakers lead the series 128-79 and have won seven in a row over the Lions.

• Penn head coach Fran Dunphy boasts a 27-5 all-time record over Columbia.

• Last season, Penn defeated Columbia 73-66 here at The Palestra, then followed it up with an 80-72 win in New York City that clinched the Quakers’ 23rd Ivy League championship.

I Know You!

Friday night, for the sixth-straight year, Dunphy will match wits with a man who knows him pretty well -- Cornell Head Coach Steve Donahue. Donahue served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Dunphy for 10 years. During his tenure as a Quaker assistant, he was instrumental in the Quakers winning six Ivy League titles, advancing to the NCAA Tournament five times and earning national recognition with a top 25 ranking.

A new face on Donahue’s staff might also be a familiar one to Penn fans. Nat Graham lettered twice at Penn when Donahue was an assistant, and was part of two undefeated Ivy League teams.

Download: MBK Notes 12-13 (Cor-Col).pdf