Big 5 doubleheader at the Palestra, anyone?

Big 5

A Big 5 doubleheader could be a couple of agreements away.

Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported this afternoon that there is “an effort” to hold a Big 5 doubleheader at the Palestra with Penn facing St. Joseph’s and Temple squaring off with La Salle.

Narducci’s source said there is nothing definitive at the moment, though there has been discussion of scheduling the games during the week, sometime after Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 18, 2016).

As the Inquirer notes, Penn’s 56-52 win over St. Joseph’s on Jan. 24 drew a crowd of 8,538 last season, while Temple’s 58-57 win over La Salle at the Palestra on Dec. 6 drew 7,445.

Big 5 executive director Steve Bilsky, who officially retired as Penn athletic director a year ago Tuesday, said in February that he envisioned a Big 5 week with a banquet the night before, an alumni game, students from the schools playing against each other, sponsorships and television – the whole works, obviously.

The Big 5 round-robin city series ended in 1991 but was brought back in 1999. ESPN broadcasted the first game of Saturday’s Big 5 doubleheader between La Salle and Temple.

What the Inquirer doesn’t mention is that the doubleheader talks were clearly motivated by the Ancient Quaker’s post today on the formation of the Philadelphia Big 5. Clearly. No coincidence or anything.

The Palestra – Arena of dreams

Yale freshman guard Makai Mason looks on as Harvard celebrates a fourth straight NCAA tournament berth in front of a crowd of 5.256 at the Palestra. (AP)
Yale freshman guard Makai Mason looks on as Harvard celebrates a fourth straight NCAA tournament berth in front of a crowd of 5.256 at the Palestra. (AP)

If you play it, they will come.

For Saturday’s Ivy League playoff, the emotions ran the gamut from high to low, from hope to despair, from anxiety to exhilaration, as the Palestra played the role of backdrop to one final night of Ivy League theatre, regaining its role as the arena of Ancient Eight dreams.

Harvard-Yale was everything one could have asked for and more with the third game in the fierce rivals’ season series nearly needing overtime. Seriously, what could have been better? You take two evenly matched teams playing to the wire and feature them at by far the best arena in the entire conference.

All I ask is that we see this again.

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