The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

What's in a name? Probably not a lot, unless of course you are Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan or Joe Montana. Most thought that the NCAA was just joking around when it put the Tide in the East Region bracket, let alone put it up against an Ivy League team. Don't be so hasty in judging the Quakers, though. The Quakers step into Baltimore, Md., tomorrow night just stepping off an Ivy League championship. Look out! The Tide, however, cannot say the same thing. No, it did not win any kind of championship, unless you count a second-half laugher against the defending national champion Arkansas Razorbacks in which the Tide shot nearly 30 percent from the floor before finally bowing down to the Hogs. Center Antonio McDyess, much improved from his defensive showings in past games this season, pulled down 20 rebounds against the strong inside attack of the Razorbacks, tying an SEC Tournament record. Forward Jason Caffey, who has been bothered by a lackluster showing from the free-throw line, hit on all of his attempts to improve on his 48-percent shooting from the line thus far. "We have a chance to do some damage in the bracket we were placed in," Caffey said. "I don't know much about Pennsylvania except that they like to slow the game down a little bit." The Tide will hold the definite advantage in the rebounding aspect of the game when it heads into Baltimore Arena for the matchup. The Quakers' game looks to be suffering mainly in that aspect. Penn, which finished 14-0 in Ivy League play this season, pulls down an average of 38.3 boards per game while letting its opponents pull down 38.0. The Tide, however, averages nearly 41.5 a game while limiting its opponents to only 36.8 to lead the SEC. The Tide's Earth-Quakers, 6-foot-11 centers McDyess and Roy Rogers, lead the team in defensive stops. McDyess has 62 blocked shots and 26 steals while Rogers falls closely behind his colleague and current roommate with 64 blocked shots and 10 steals. The 1-2 punch of 6-8 Caffey and 6-7 forward Jamal Faulkner would appear to give the Quakers fits on the inside. The Quakers lack the size to defend Caffey and, should Penn choose to nibble on the bait of the two inside guys, Faulkner will unload his shot from behind the arc where he is shooting close to 40 percent. Wait a minute -- coach David Hobbs might choose to sub for Faulkner, though. Same result for Alabama. Sophomore guard Eric Washington is another perimeter guy who is not afraid to take the ball inside, either. Washington is shooting 42 percent from the perimeter, connecting on 68 of 163 attempts. The Quakers, who like to set the same bait in the inside where size is an opponents' plus, appear to like to kick it back outside as well. Matt Maloney, who statistically appears to be Faulkner's mirror-image, has hit 44 percent of his three-pointers, which seem to come in bushels for him. Maloney has attempted 185 three-point shots this season, connecting on 83. The true test for the Quakers will be their depth. The Quakers, who appear to have several players that like to nap on their team, have only seven players that average double figures in minutes played, which immediately points to the confidence in the depth of his team for Quakers coach Fran Dunphy. Nine out of 13 players for the Tide average over 10 minutes per game. No. 12 seeds are traditionally beaten by No. 5 seeds, and Alabama should not have to worry. When put up against a top 25 SEC team, the Quakers should crack but not break, but that crack should be just big enough for Alabama to creep through. The Quakers, in order to see "Big Country" of Oklahoma State, need to rely on more than what appears to be a good team that takes the court every game. The Quakers need to rely on some luck, also. A little luck is needed to pierce the defense of the Tide. It's not every day that an Ivy League team gets to see reality. It's not every day that an Ivy League team goes against one of the premier teams in the SEC -- the Alabama Crimson Tide. Todd Anderson is Assistant Sports Editor for The Crimson White.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.