McGinnis | Penn basketball is your nightmare significant other


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Penn guard Jamal Lewis, like the rest of his teammates, was stunned after Penn's blowout loss to Yale on Friday night.

Photo by Andrew Dierkes


Penn basketball is like a bad significant other.

You take them out to dinner at a fancy Italian place and at the very least expect them to show up and act presentable the entire time.

What do they do? Come out and spill the wine, find a way to insult the wait staff and create a boisterous scene in the middle of the restaurant.

That’s the only way to describe what happened at Penn’s ‘date’ with Yale at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

It was sloppy. There were turnovers. There were fouls. There was pushing and shoving and probably a bit of name-calling.

Unlike most of Penn’s games, this sloppy play wasn’t keeping them out of the running. For the first half at least, they seemed to have found their perfect match in a Yale team that couldn’t seem to knock down an open shot.

But like all quick love affairs, it wasn’t going to last. Yale pulled away in the second half and left Penn waiting in the dust.

This game was just one small sample of a season that has been full of such games. Penn has the talent to stay competitive with most teams in the Ivy League, but just seems unable to put the pieces together and play a complete game.

And just like every bad relationship, no matter how much you hope that they’ll change their ways, it’s always more of the same.

It’s not like this team is that much different than the one we saw during the opening weeks of the season.

Early on in the season, there were a handful of winnable non-conference games that were plagued with poor defensive rebounding and careless turnovers. Those aren’t the only lingering issues though.

Penn just keeps on trying to force the ball inside against tough opposition. There’s no reason to drive in when there are a few big men guarding the paint. One of them will block you, so it’s probably best not to try scoring that route.

After watching all of this, why should we still expect Penn to change this season?

Sure, they showed us a great time last weekend in their upset win over Columbia, but one great date doesn’t tell you she’s the one.

Penn’s injuries can explain some of the recent performances – after all, going out salsa dancing isn’t quite as fun with a sprained ankle.

But this team has been inconsistent from the start.

And it doesn’t seem like they’re going to become a fundamentally different team anytime soon.

So on this Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to say that we were surprised we had a bad time out on the town with Penn basketball. It might not be time to break up, but it’s definitely time to reconsider whether this is a healthy relationship.

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