After the Penn men's basketball team beat Harvard at the Palestra last season, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a banner headline which read, "Don't Write Off Penn Yet."
It seems that Ivy League coaches are still taking that message to heart.
Princeton may be heavily favored to win its second consecutive Ancient Eight title this season, but the Quakers always seem to have those intangible factors on their side to keep them in the championship hunt.
"I think Penn just has such a great program in place and guys know what is expected of them," Cornell coach Steve Donahue said. "I think their strength is they know how to win and they know what is expected of them."
Donahue might know better than any of the rest of his brethren on the sidelines, having served as an assistant to Penn coach Fran Dunphy from 1990 to 2000.
Terry Dunn has the least experience coaching in the Ivy League, as he arrived at Dartmouth just this past year, but he is just as wary of the Quakers.
"We all know the type of program that coach Dunphy has there and the job that he's done," Dunn said. "I would say that year in and year out they're perennial powers in the Ivy League and at the national level."
Columbia coach Joe Jones also cited Dunphy, now in his 16th season at the Palestra, as the key to success for the Red and Blue.
"Penn's strength is that they have a great coach," he said. "They have some young guys that are definitely capable of being quite productive, but the big thing is that they have a great coach."
Joe Jones' brother James, who has been part of some memorable games against Penn as Yale's head coach, took a more analytical perspective on Penn's prospects for this season.
"Penn's strength is the number of forwards they have to rotate in and out," he said.
"The backcourt could be a weakness, because freshmen are going to be starters and in the rotation."
The Elis certainly do not have that problem, with seniors Alex Gamboa and Edwin Draughan holding a firm grip on places in the Elis' starting lineup.
"Some questions they have to solve are will Jaaber be the point guard and will Begley move to the three" spot, or small forward, Jones added.
Donahue has no such concerns, though.
"I would hesitate to say what they are weak in, because that has yet to be seen," he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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