Welcome to the inaugural edition of Is Stat So?, a compilation of some of the most interesting stats to come out of Penn Athletics from the week. Each week, we'll highlight a few different numbers that go beyond the box score, and give deeper insight behind Penn's biggest wins and losses.
If the Quakers have all of their best athletes on the floor, we think the Red and Blue men will drive home as tournament champions. As for the women, closing the gap with Columbia might be a tall task, not to mention that the women have a harder field because Temple does not have a men’s team. But still, we expect the Quakers to improve on last year’s effort with a second-place finish here.
Penn men’s basketball has me convinced. They are legitimate, serious contenders for an Ivy title this year. If last year’s team could make the tournament at 6-8, this year’s edition should have no problem getting in with two or three losses.
Penn wrestling's Frank Mattiace had himself an extremely successful winter break. Highlighted by his takedown of No. 6 Nate Robert, Mattiace's efforts were enough to earn him DP Sports Player of the Break.
Both the men’s and women’s teams experienced an inconsistent meet, picking up wins against host Dartmouth, 249-104 and 235-118 respectively, but suffering big losses to Yale, 123-230 and 80-273 respectively.
Penn men's basketball sophomore guard Ryan Betley made a lot of those in the Quakers' 76-70 win over Princeton on Saturday. His 21 points on 72 percent shooting garnered him the third Ivy League Player of the Week award of his career.
The Quakers started their slate of matches before the new year when they travelled down to Illinois for the prestigious Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, where they finished with their best team score in 16 years. A week later, Penn travelled to the west coast for a dual meet double-header against Cal Poly and Stanford. There, they dominated Cal Poly 32-13 but lost a nail bitter to Stanford 21-20.
This iteration of the Quakers is probably the best squad the program has had in a decade. They play with intensity, energy, and athleticism. They've got fluid ball movement, three point sharpshooters, and two big men who pass as well as they score. They've got a great starting five, but they also have a deep and talented bench.
The much anticipated – and once delayed – Ivy League season opener stalled out the gate as neither team seemed able to land a punch: the first points came almost three minutes into the game. Once that was out of the way, the two archrivals treated those in attendance with one of the most exciting regular season games in recent memory: a 76-70 Penn win over defending conference champion Princeton.
On Friday afternoon, the Baltimore Ravens announced that they had hired James Urban, who served as Penn’s Director of Football Operations from 2000 to 2003, as their quarterbacks’ coach, effective immediately.
Just a few days after former teammate Alek Torgersen signed with the Detroit Lions practice squad, tight end Ryan O’Malley has been added to an active roster. The 2016 graduate was a captain and two-time All-Ivy honoree with the Quakers, and scored a total of nine touchdowns in his 40 career games.
The Rockets shot a season high 64.3 percent from beyond the arc, marching to an 85-73 victory over the Quakers. The loss snaps the Quakers (9-5) four-game winning streak, dating back to December 4.
In Penn’s first home game in 39 days — and first game at all in 18 days — the Red and Blue showed absolutely no signs of rust against non-conference foe Delaware State. Boosted by an incredible 51.9 percent effort from three-point range, the Quakers set the school record for margin of victory against a Division I opponent, blowing out the Hornets, 105-52, for their fourth straight win.
This comes after a rough start to Torgerson's career in the NFL. Penn’s star quarterback was cut by the Washington Redskins just a month after signing for their practice squad in September.
Watson was invited to compete in the 93rd East-West Shrine Game, an annual all-star game featuring top college players from schools in the Eastern US and the Western US.
Finishing with four consecutive victories, Penn football was rolling at the end of the 2017 season. And now, the time to look ahead to 2018 is officially here.
Taking a step back from the actual games themselves, 2017 was an exciting year for the Penn Athletics community.
Considering the sheer competitiveness and ubiquity of Penn’s club culture, it seems only fitting that the Year in the Review issue takes into account the successes of Penn's club sports in 2017.
For many teams at Penn, there is one event that stands out over the others: The Ivy League Championship.
Both Penn men’s basketball and women’s basketball saw their seasons end in agonizing fashions last March, but neither of those final games should take away from thrilling 2017s for both teams.