OK, not a great weekend for Penn basketball, but it certainly could have been worse.
First, the Quakers got off to an early lead in Providence against Brown which they never relinquished. The Bears, however, looked completely uninspired throughout the contest. Penn was never really in danger of anything except perhaps the random concussion when, in what can be considered the longest two minutes in basketball history, Mike Martin decided to foul every remaining Penn possession. `It was as painful to watch as I am sure as it was for the Red & Blue players to play. Regardless, a win is a win, as they say.
Saturday night, on the hand, was a problem. Despite being close for most of the game, I never had the feeling that the Quakers were going to pull this one out. Miye Oni was flying around the court like Superman in a blue tank top and shorts (instead of the red cape and underpants).
Besides him, I didn’t think Yale was all that impressive, but yet another poor shooting performance doomed Penn. Who knows why this happens — lumpy beds the night before, too many burgers at the Tom Brady Rest Stop on I-95, it’s anyone’s guess. Although the Quakers were still able to hang tough on the opponent’s home court, shooting 35 percent is never a recipe for winning basketball.
This inconsistency is also what doomed them in the Princeton and Cornell games and must certainly be addressed. My own (strictly amateur of course) view is this team is very dependent on the “W Boys” (double entendre intended), Bryce Washington and Michael Wang’s ability to score.
With Ryan Betley out for the year, both Washington and Wang have admirably helped pick up the scoring slack. Naturally, when they both play poorly (they were a combined 4-for-26 and 2-for-15 from three) Penn virtually has no chance. AJ Brodeur will get his points, as will Devon Goodman and Antonio Woods, but without a strong showing from Steve Donahue’s prized freshmen, Penn inevitably struggles to win.
But now six of the last eight games for Penn will now be at the Palestra. The schedule also somewhat favors Penn as it gets both Harvard and, the new titan of the Ivy League, Cornell, on Saturday nights after Princeton gets to tire them out a little. Regardless of its shooting woes, I fully expect Penn to be in New Haven come Ivy Tournament time. At the moment, Yale Sports Analytics has the Quakers making a return trip to Connecticut with an approximately 60 percent probability (if you believe that kind of stuff).
I prefer to Believe in Steve.
Stay Red and Blue my friends,