Penn men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Although Penn Athletics released the men’s basketball home schedule on August 14, the complete slate was announced Wednesday, three weeks later.  While the schedule is light on home games, coach Steve Donahue has crafted a strong 13 game nonconference schedule that will see the Quakers facing three Top-35 teams and anywhere from four to six top-90 squads.

The Red & Blue will start the year on November 5, traveling down to Alabama for the debut of new Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats.  This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Antonio McDyess-led Alabama defeated Jerome Allen, Matt Maloney and Ira Bowman’s Penn in overtime of the first round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament, 91-85.

Games at Rice and Lafayette, facing former Penn assistant coaches Scott Pera (2012-14) and Fran O’Hanlon (1989-95), will bookend the first home contest against Big 5 rival La Salle on November 13.

The Quakers then have four big games at the Wooden Legacy Tournament.  The team starts with a non-bracketed game at Providence on November 23, then heads to Anaheim for three guaranteed bracketed contests.  The Red & Blue will open against the Tacko Fall-less University of Central Florida on November 27.  Penn defeated a Knights team with Fall in 2016, 58-49, and will hope for the same success this Thanksgiving.

In game number two, Penn faces either Arizona or Pepperdine.  If the team takes on the Wildcats, it will get a chance to match up against former Cornell forward Stone Gettings, who skipped his senior campaign in Ithaca to play as a graduate transfer.  Game three will feature a game against the College of Charleston, Wake Forest, Long Beach State or a second contest against Providence.

After crossing the country and playing four tough opponents in nine days, the Quakers will have to regroup quickly to take on Villanova.  The Red & Blue will look to make it two in a row over the Wildcats, after breaking a 15-game losing streak with a 78-75 victory at the Palestra in 2018.

Following the December 4 rivalry game, Penn will have a bit of a rest before hosting Princeton a month later to start Ivy action.  The Quakers will only face two teams in that month-long stretch, with one being the annual Division III-Abner’s Cheesesteaks special and the other sub-325 ranked Howard.

For the second straight season, and only the second time in league history, the Quakers and Tigers will play on back-to-back Saturdays to start the conference schedule.  While the Tigers take a three week break for its last January fall semester finals, Penn will complete its Big 5 schedule hosting St. Joseph’s and Temple.

The Red & Blue get back to Ancient Eight action on January 31 and February 1, welcoming regular season co-champion Harvard and Dartmouth.  Last year, Penn split the two home games with both thrillers heading into overtime.

After the dreaded Empire State road trip and a weekend hosting reigning co-champion Yale and Brown, Penn will face an important four game conference road trip at the Big Green, Crimson, Bears and Bulldogs that could go a long way towards determining the team’s chances at recapturing the regular season title and/or securing a spot in the Ivy Tournament.

The Quakers will conclude the regular season at the Palestra when it welcomes the Big Red on March 6 and hosts the improving Lions on Senior Night.

Last year, Penn went 19-12 overall and 7-7 in the Ivy League.  In addition to the huge win over Villanova, the Quakers defeated Miami, New Mexico and the other three members of the Big Five.  In conference play, the Red & Blue started 0-3 before starting its climb back into the race for the last spot in the Ivy Tournament.

After a 59-53 loss at Harvard left Penn 4-7 in league play, the Quakers won its last three, including a de-facto play-in game against Brown on Senior Night, to earn a spot in Ivy Madness.  The trip to the postseason was short lived as Penn lost its third game of the season to the Crimson, 66-58, in the semifinals.

Penn suffered big losses to graduation with Max Rothschild, Antonio Woods, Jake Silpe, Jackson Donahue, Tyler Hamilton and Collin McManus leaving West Philadelphia.  Hamilton and McManus will continue on as graduate transfers, at William & Mary and Fairleigh Dickinson, respectively.  The Quakers suffered another enormous loss when junior Jelani Williams, the probable starting point guard, went down with his third torn ACL.

To replace those players, Coach Donahue will welcome a five-member first-year class, featuring four-star power forward Max Lorca-Lloyd from Northfield Mount Hermon and Blair Academy’s Jordan Dingle, who will look to replace Williams in the starting back court.  As important as these players will be, the biggest boost to the roster is the return of senior Ryan Betley, the 2018 second-team All-Ivy wing (14.3 ppg and 84 made three-pointers) who ruptured his patella tendon five minutes into last year’s season opener.

As the Quakers (Torvik rank #62) aim to return to the top of the conference standing and March Madness, the squad will rely on the strength of its returning senior All-Ivy performers.  AJ Brodeur, a unanimous first-team All-Ivy and Big Five forward, led Penn in scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg), assists (113), blocked shots (41), and field-goal percentage (.528).  Goodman, the backcourt speedster, earned second team All-Ivy and Big Five honors, while placing first on the team in steals (53), second in scoring (13.9 ppg), third in assists (70) and fourth in rebounding (3.3 rpg).

2019-20 Penn Men’s Basketball Schedule

11/05 (Tue.) at Alabama (Torvik rank #33)
11/09 (Sat.) at Rice (#211)
11/13 (Wed.) vs LA SALLE (#166)
11/19 (Tue.) at Lafayette (#266)
11/23 (Sat.)  at Providence  (#24) non-bracketed game of Wooden Legacy Tournament
11/28 (Thu.) vs University of Central Florida (#129) at Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim, CA.
11/29 (Fri.) vs Arizona (#28) or Pepperdine (#125) at Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim, CA
12/01 (Sun.) vs College of Charleston (#116) , Long Beach State (#323), Wake Forest (#85), or Providence (#24) at Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim, CA
12/04 (Wed.) at Villanova (#21)
12/21 (Sat.) vs WIDENER (Not ranked)
12/30 (Mon.) at Howard (#327)
01/04 (Sat.) vs PRINCETON (#97)
01/11 (Sat.) at Princeton
01/18 (Sat.) vs ST. JOSEPH’S (#287)
01/25 (Sat.) vs TEMPLE (#86)
01/31 (Fri.) vs HARVARD (#19)
02/01 (Sat.) vs DARTMOUTH (#149)
02/07 (Fri.) at Columbia (#121)
02/08 (Sat.) at Cornell (#304)
02/14 (Fri.) vs BROWN (#140)
02/15 (Sat.) vs YALE (#193)
02/21 (Fri.) at Dartmouth
02/22 (Sat.) at Harvard
02/28 (Fri.) at Yale
02/29 (Sat.) at Brown
03/06 (Fri.) vs CORNELL
03/07 (Sat.) vs COLUMBIA