Mano-a-mano | Which hoops game excites you more?
The beginning of basketball season is right on the horizon (aka this weekend) and both programs will take to the court with plenty of fresh faces. Our editors will be making the trip down to Tennessee on an epic #roadtrip, but the Palestra always hits close to home as well. In a rivalry as heated as Ali vs. Frazier, sports editor Holden McGinnis and senior sports editor Steven Tydings take to the ring once again to debate it out over which season opener has them more excited.
Holden McGinnis : For me, the choice is simple, and it’s not just because I love a good old-fashioned road trip. Women’s basketball’s opener at Tennessee will be the toughest matchup of the season for the Quakers, and it isn’t one coach Mike McLaughlin and crew expect to win. But what’s more exciting than opening up in a packed arena against a top-five program? The fact that the Red and Blue are coming off an Ivy League title just adds to the excitement.
This is a team that has postseason aspirations once again, and however the box score looks after Friday night, the experience of playing against a top-tier team on the road will be invaluable to this squad. While Thompson-Boling Arena may not have the history of the Palestra, it’ll definitely get louder than the Palestra has been at any time in recent memory.
Steven Tydings : You said it right there: Nothing has quite the history of the Palestra. And I am excited to see a new Penn basketball squad write a new chapter in that history against Delaware State. As you will read in our basketball supplement, this squad looks much different than last year’s team and that is a good thing, considering last season’s results.
After watching practice the last couple weeks, it is clear that junior Tony Hicks has the potential to do some special things this year. Fans remember Hicks as inconsistent, but starting on Saturday, I think they may see a new side of the now-captain for the Red and Blue.
While women’s hoops is facing the bigger name opponent, there is one thing that Penn fans are much more likely to see from men’s hoops this weekend: a win, as the Quakers face a struggling Delaware State program.
HM : You’re certainly right, this is a new Tony Hicks, but Penn men’s hoops isn’t the only team this weekend with a whole new look.
Penn has an exciting group of freshmen that will come in and contribute from the get-go. Against Tennessee, we’ll get our first look at freshman guard Anna Ross — who missed the Red and Blue scrimmage — as she takes over the point. This is a program that’s been on the upswing over the past four years and the game against Tennessee is just its latest exciting matchup.
ST : Let’s quit talking about the guards and talk about the forwards. With a relatively small Delaware State squad coming to the Palestra, it is time to see what junior center Darien Nelson-Henry can do. Let the games begin.
Verdict : The women’s game is on the SEC Network and the men’s game is a day later at home. Why not watch both?