Princeton thrashes Bucknell, gives itself a merry Christmas

The Tigers concluded the Jadwin portion of their out-of-conference schedule on a very positive note last night, dealing the Bucknell Bison a solid thrashing, 89-77. The final margin is somewhat misleading since the Tigers maintained a margin throughout the second half sufficient to allow coach Mitch Henderson to get playing time for every player on the roster.

Read morePrinceton thrashes Bucknell, gives itself a merry Christmas

Princeton bows to No. 6 Maryland, 82-61

Maryland’s Terrapins played as one would expect the No. 6 team in the nation to play last night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. The Tigers held their own in a gritty first half effort, at one point mounting a six-point lead, and were still in it at the break, trailing 35-31.

The bigger, stronger, faster and deeper Terrapin squad wore down its outmanned antagonists in the second half, cruising to an 82-61 win, a decisive margin for Maryland after a respectable wire-to-wire effort by the Tigers. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon had tried for several years to schedule a game in Baltimore to give its considerable fan base there a chance to see his club live and up close. More than 11,000 fans showed up at Royal Farms to welcome the Terrapins for the first time in 16 seasons. Maryland ran its overall record on this floor to 10-2.

Read morePrinceton bows to No. 6 Maryland, 82-61

Thoughts on the creation of an Ivy conference tournament: Yea or nay?

It was reported by CBS Sports last week that the Ivy League is close to creating an annual conference tournament that would be in place for the 2016-17 season, which is obviously big news since the Ivy League is the only Division I conference that still doesn’t have a conference tournament. Ivy presidents finally seem poised to go along with coaches’ wishes in setting up such a tournament, as it’s been reported that TV exposure is a motivating factor in securing a league tourney.

Eight of IHO’s writers weighed in on whether they support the creation of an annual conference tournament, and if so, where and when should it be held on a yearly basis, and how many teams should participate. Their in-depth responses after the jump:

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Steve Donahue: The Reconstructionist

Does this look like a man ready to turn around Penn basketball? Why yes, yes it does.
Does this look like a man ready to turn around Penn basketball? Why yes, yes he does.

It is ironic that Steve Donahue has become our new head coach.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with the choice.  After all, this has to be his dream job. A Philly guy with Quaker DNA who has a deep respect, if not love, for the hoop traditions of the city, returns as leader to the campus that once nurtured his coaching skills as a young assistant.  In fact, he was so enamored with his new position that in his introductory press conference he said, “This place is one that has everything I ever wanted in an institution.  I am a Big 5 coach. There are only five of us. To imagine that I am one of them, at this institution, is just incredible.”

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Sizing up Penn's 2015-16 schedule

The Steve Donahue era is here, and it’s almost palpable with Thursday’s release of the 2015-16 Penn basketball schedule.

And it’s interesting, though not much different from past schedules. We have the obligatory homecoming trip, this time a trip home at Washington on Sat., Nov. 21 for senior center Darien Nelson-Henry and junior guard Matt Poplawski both of whom are from the Seattle area. Good for them, and good on the program for providing that Evergreen State opportunity.

What’s not so obligatory? Playing at Drexel.

That’s right, the Daskalakis Athletic Center, where Steve Bilsky forbade the Quakers from playing during his run as athletic director, excepting one 2008 matchup.

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Yale all-time moment No. 1: Elis share the 2015 title

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We did Yale next by request of Justin Sears:

We all know the 2014-15 Yale men”s basketball season didn”t have a storybook ending. Just four months ago, Harvard edged out Yale at the Palestra, 53-51, in an already legendarily back-and-forth Ivy playoff game after the Bulldogs let a last-second lead literally slip away at Dartmouth that would have clinched the Elis” first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1962. Then the NIT online casino inexplicably slipped away too.

Read moreYale all-time moment No. 1: Elis share the 2015 title

Yale all-time moment No. 5: Bulldogs’ 1961-62 season

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.

The 1961-62 Yale Bulldogs are undoubtedly one of the greatest teams in school history, finishing 13-1 in Ivy play and 18-6 overall while securing the Ivy League championship, the program’s second in a six-year span.

Read moreYale all-time moment No. 5: Bulldogs’ 1961-62 season

Penn all-time moment No. 6: The Palestra opens in 1927

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Penn is next because SQUIRRELS

Do you know why the other seven Ivy schools will always suck even if they win? Because they play their games in high school gyms.

I ask you, would Duke still be “Duke” if they played at Levien, or the Alfred E. Newman Senior Citizen Center or that bullshit place where Harvard plays? (By the way, Cameron Indoor was designed by the same architectural firm as the Palestra. That’s why they look the same.)  If clothes make the man, then the stadium makes the team. In this arena Penn has, and never will have, any competition.  The Palestra is called “The Cathedral of Basketball” with good reason.  Since it was built, Penn’s home court has hosted more games, more visiting teams and more NCAA Tournaments than any other facility in the country.  It is unquestionably the “birthplace of college basketball.”

Read morePenn all-time moment No. 6: The Palestra opens in 1927

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.

Penn all-time moment No. 7: Formation of the Philadelphia Big 5

The Big 5 is a Penn creation. It was conceived by Penn athletic director Jerry Ford and announced by University President Gaylord Harnwell at Houston Hall in 1954.  The Quaker sports staff then helped formulate the round robin format between Temple, St. Joes, Villanova, LaSalle and Penn.  Since that time Penn basketball really has had two seasons, the Ivy and the Big 5.  Of course the Ivy title provides the coveted entry to The Dance, but the Big 5 is often just as important. It is Philly bragging rights in a town that loves college basketball.  Most years, it was not at all unusual for four out of the five schools to make the NCAA Tournament; Such was the high level of play. Naturally the best intra-city hoops rivalry in the nation deserves a special place to perform and the Palestra is the perfect venue. No other arena in the country, despite their larger size and glitzy sterility, can possibly provide the intimacy for such historical competition.

Read morePenn all-time moment No. 7: Formation of the Philadelphia Big 5