Fran Dunphy's teams have been in this situation before: NCAA Tournament tickets in hand, and facing Princeton in the last game of the season. The Quakers coach has to like his chances tonight. Dunphy is 4-0 against Princeton when playing as the Ivy League champion. Penn (20-7, 12-1 Ivy) secured the outright Ancient Eight title over the weekend with wins at Yale and Brown. Tonight the Quakers travel to Jadwin Gym where they have won four straight to play a game that means nothing in terms of standings, but everything in terms of pride. Princeton (11-15, 9-4) is trying to avoid its 16th loss of the season which would tie the worst record in the history of the program. But the Tigers have virtually forgotten their painful 2-12 start and have won three of the last four after splitting the weekend against Brown and Yale. Second-year coach Joe Scott is still looking for his first win against the Quakers. Penn, meanwhile, is playing to impress the NCAA selection committee in hopes of coaxing a higher seed. Last season, the Quakers were in roughly the same spot heading to New Jersey and were rewarded with a 13 seed after defeating Princeton 64-56. But the records and the standings seem less important when Penn and Princeton get together. This is a rivalry as fine as any in the game, and both sides will give it their all ƒ_" that is if there is any energy left from the weekend. Penn's four mainstays -- senior Eric Osmundson and juniors Steve Danley, Ibrahim Jaaber and Mark Zoller -- averaged 38 minutes per game over the weekend as a group. Danley played 81 in total and Osmundson put together his best weekend of the season scoring 30 points in 79 minutes and turning the ball over just twice. "Because we're off of school we'll spend plenty of time preparing for Princeton," Dunphy said Saturday after defeating Brown in overtime. "We've played them already so we've got a lot of film. We'll be OK in terms of preparation, I hope." What Penn will see on that film of its 60-41 win at the Palestra is a solid performance against a zone defense which has been some trouble this season. Brown threw a 2-3 zone at the Quakers off and on Saturday night. Penn, however, put on a superb display of perimeter passing and registered 20 assists on its 24 field goals and created dribble penetration as the game wore on. Where Brown kept the Quakers off balance was in the backcourt. The Bears repeatedly employed a three-quarter court press which often kept Osmundson and Zoller behind the offense. "We're not used to playing against that so it took us some time to get used to it," Osmundson said after the game. "Toward the end of the game we were fine." Further, guards Damon Huffman and Marcus Becker repeatedly double-teamed Penn's ball handlers at midcourt preventing the Quakers from getting into an offensive flow. Princeton tinkered with some ball pressure last time out against the Red and Blue, but lacks the quickness to make it effective. Instead, the Tigers will rely on their deliberate offense to control the tempo. As a result, turnovers are a cause for concern for Princeton, which gave the ball up 39 times over the weekend. The Quakers are first in the league in turnover margin (4.78) and steals per game (10.04). Then again, when these two teams face off, the stats really don't matter. PENN at Princeton - 9 p.m. - Princeton, N.J.Radio: WXPN-FM (88.5) - TV: ESPNU The Buzz will have in-game updates beginning at 9 p.m.Comments powered by Disqus
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