Jonathan Tannenwald’s been an insightful reporter on Ivy League and Big 5 basketball for Philly.com, and before that, The Daily Pennsylvanian, for 15 years. He’s been a guest multiple times on our On the Vine podcast and he’s been a generous resource, mentor and friend to many at The DP, Penn’s student newspaper, over the years.
On Monday morning, Attorneys General from Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a federal lawsuit against President Donald J. Trump (Wharton ‘68) alleging he violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments. While Brian Frosh, the Maryland AG, is known to be a fan of the Grateful Dead (or at least one particular quote from Jerry Garcia), Karl Racine, the District’s AG, is known as a former member of Penn basketball.
Penn women’s basketball appeared to have its first NCAA Tournament win in program history in the bag, enjoying a 58-37 lead with eight and a half minutes to play.
But in the fourth quarter, Penn’s golden carriage turned jarringly back into a pumpkin and what looked to be a burgeoning Cinderella run worthy of Tinseltown became the largest collapse in NCAA Tournament history.
After years of debating and voting on the efficacy of an Ivy League Tournament, the first one is in the books.
And it certainly has engendered much discussion amongst the Ivy faithful, given its prominence on the ESPN family of networks this past weekend (ESPNU for the semifinals and ESPN2 for the final).
From a national perspective, not so much, despite the fact that the venerable college basketball writer John Feinstein was one of the media members in attendance for the Saturday session. With that said, here is an attempt to grade the event in different categories:
On Monday night, the Penn women’s basketball team (22-7, 13-1 Ivy) was selected to play Texas A&M (21-11, 9-7 SEC) in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. While the Quakers last two tournament appearances were in College Park, Md., Penn will travel out to Los Angeles for a Saturday 6 p.m. (9 p.m. EST) start.
Many bracketologists had listed Penn as a No. 13 or 14 seed, but the committee noted the team’s experience, conference strength (eighth in the nation), league record, Ivy Tournament win and strong out-of-conference schedule to move them up to a more favorable No. 12 seed. The Aggies, the No. 5 seed in the Bridgeport Regional were the No. 6 seed in the SEC Tournament and made it to the semifinals, before losing 66-50 to Mississippi State (No. 2 in the SEC; No. 6 in the nation). While this is Penn’s fifth overall appearance, it is the Aggies’ 12th straight trip to the Big Dance.
No. 1 Penn bested No. 2 Princeton, 57-48, at the Palestra Sunday, handing the Quakers the Ivy League Tournament title and their third NCAA Tournament appearance in the past four seasons.
Penn (21-7, 13-1) used a 14-4 second quarter advantage to create separation between itself and the Tigers (16-12, 9-5), who shot just 18-for-64 (28.1 percent) from the floor.
The Red and Blue were led by Michelle Nwokedi, who posted 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Anna Ross, who notched 17 points. Pacing the Tigers were Bella Alarie, who contributed 11 points and 11 boards, and Leslie Robinson, who registered nine points in 27 minutes of play.
Penn swept its three meetings with Princeton this season and has won its last five matchups with the Tigers.
Penn will hold a NCAA Tournament Selection Monday watch party at the Palestra. Doors to the Palestra will open at 6:15 p.m., and admission will be free to all for the show beginning at 7 p.m.
What a long, strange trip it’s been …
@IvyLeagueNet Thanks, Harvard was great in Shanghai
— Bill Walton (@BillWalton) November 14, 2016
This has been a crazy season for Ivy League basketball, all 16 weeks of it. From Harvard’s starting the season 14 hours away in Shanghai to Penn’s regular season-ending triumph over the Crimson Saturday night, this season has been full of surprises and unusual trends.
With that being said, I do want to raise one quick issue about the Ivy League Tournament. I will still gripe that it should be just three teams, but if that had been the case going into tonight, we would have been robbed of a pretty fantastic moment.