Quakers Host No. 3 Villanova Tuesday Night at The Palestra

Penn-Villanova Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania once again puts itself on the national stage Tuesday night, this time taking on a Villanova squad ranked third in the latest national polls.

GAME 7 - PENN (3-3) vs. #3/3 Villanova (6-0)
Tuesday, Dec.13, 2005 * 8 p.m. EST
The Palestra (8,722)
CN8 and Comcast Sports SouthEast(Scott Graham, PBP; Rob Kennedy, analyst)
Radio/Internet: www.pennathletics.com (Brian Seltzer, PBP; Vince Curran, analyst)

Of course, the Quakers are unlikely to view this game and its consequences on the national landscape. To them, it is another Philadelphia Big 5 tussle and an opportunity to earn bragging rights over their neighbors to the west.

This game represents Penn’s second against a highly regarded team -- last week, of course, the Quakers rolled down to Tobacco Road and met No. 1 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. They acquitted themselves well, too, staying pesky and keeping the Blue Devils within range all night. The end result was a 13-point loss (compare that to the 31-point drubbing Duke laid on No. 2 Texas this past weekend!).

The Quakers seem to be rounding into form, with a few preseason injuries becoming a thing of the past. David Whitehurst missed most of preseason after having surgery in September, but he knocked down five three-pointers for all of his 15 points at Duke. He is combining with Ibrahim Jaaber to form a potent backcourt. Mark Zoller, who was hampered by ankle injuries throughout the preseason, made his first start of 2005-06 at Duke and came up with nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. After sitting out the season opener, he has averaged more than 20 minutes per game and led the Quakers in two of the last three games on the boards.

Tuesday’s game is an important one for Penn’s chances in the Big 5; after a four-point loss to Temple on December 3, the Quakers can hardly afford to fall into a 0-2 hole if they harbor dreams of taking city bragging rights.

Following this game -- Penn’s sixth at home already in 2005-06 -- the Quakers are not home for exactly a month. Of course, after tonight they are not in action anywhere in the contiguous United States until January 4 (Penn travels to Hawaii to take on the Rainbow Warriors Dec. 29 and BYU-Hawaii Dec. 31). The next time they play at The Palestra is January 13 against Cornell (Columbia comes in the following night). Those two games tip off a seven-game homestand that includes four Ivy contests.

The Fun Fact

Tonight marks the seventh time Penn has played an Associated Press (AP) top-10 team under Fran Dunphy; of those seven, five have been ranked in the Top 5. The Quakers are 1-5 leading up to tonight, with the lone win coming No. 23, 1998 against then-No. 7 Temple (73-70 in overtime).

Penn vs. Villanova
• Tonight’s Philadelphia Big 5 meeting represents the 53rd between Penn and Villanova in men’s basketball; the Wildcats lead the series, 34-18.

• Penn is 3-8 against Villanova under head coach Fran Dunphy.

• Villanova has won each of the last two games in this series, but prior to that Penn bested the ‘Cats on a pair of occasions. On Dec. 5, 2001, the Quakers won 75-74 in overtime; on Dec. 01, 2002, Penn dropped Villanova, 72-58.

• Penn is 105-134 against the teams that make up the Philadelphia Big 5 along with the Quakers (La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova), including an 18-31 mark under Dunphy. That includes Penn’s 50-46 loss to Temple on December 3.

• Penn is 81-107 against the teams that currently make up the Big East Conference, including a 5-11 mark under head coach Fran Dunphy (* denotes new member of the Big East).
Notre Dame2-20
Providence3-6 (Dunphy 0-2)
St. John’s5-4 (2-0)
Seton Hall1-1 (0-1)
Villanova18-34 (3-8)
West Virginia1-1

Some Notes on The Top 10...
• Tonight marks the seventh time Penn has played an Associated Press (AP) top-10 team under Fran Dunphy; of those seven, five have been ranked in the Top 5.

• Wednesday’s game at Duke was just the second time a Penn squad took on the No. 1 team in the AP poll; the other occasion also happened in the Fran Dunphy era. On Jan. 14, 1995, he took the Quakers to the University of Massachusetts to meet the No. 1 Minutemen (UMass won 93-60).

• Prior to last Wednesday, Penn’s most recent game against a top-5 opponent was Nov. 29, 2003 when the Quakers played No. 3 Michigan State at the Coca-Cola Classic in East Lansing, Mich. (that tournament pitted the teams from the 1979 NCAA Final Four -- Penn, Michigan State, Indiana State and DePaul).

• Penn knocked off No. 7 Temple, 73-70 in OT, on Nov. 23, 1998; it remains the last time the Quakers beat a top-10 opponent.

• On March 3, 1998, Penn lost in overtime to No. 8 Princeton, 78-72; earlier that season, on Dec. 8, 1997, Penn lost to No. 2 Kansas, 89-71, in Washington, D.C.

Download: MBK Notes 07 (Villanova).pdf