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Penn lost to Penn State on Friday, November 13th at Penn State's home stadium. 1 Zack Rosen Credit: Alex Remnick

This year’s Ivy League preseason poll pegged the Quakers at fourth in the conference. But as expected, the team isn’t too concerned with what everyone else thinks about them.

“I don’t pay that much attention to others guys’ predictions or their perception of what’s going on here,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “We know we can’t finish in 9th place.”

Though the squad might not be picked to place atop the league, there is plenty of reason for optimism at the Palestra. Not only does Penn have a strong freshman presence, highlighted by talented newcomers Miles Cartwright and Marin Kukoc, but the Quakers will also benefit from the return of seniors Tyler Bernadini and Andreas Schreiber — both of whom missed most of last season with injuries.

But how much better will this year’s squad truly be?

“I don’t think you can really put a scale on it,” Bernadini said. “I think it gives us a little extra motivation, but I don’t think anyone needs any more motivation after what happened last year. [22] losses is a lot of games to lose, and I think we’ve had that sour taste in our mouths.”

But improvement alone will not be enough for the Quakers this season. The end product, as always, will be bringing home a championship.

“We’re going to win a lot of games,” a confident Bernadini said. “I think we’re going to have a very successful year, and we want to win an Ivy League Championship. That’s the only goal that we all have.”

Many other preseason publications including Athlon Sports, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, Lindy’s Sports Annuals and ranked Penn either 3rd, 4th or 5th — but almost all of them had the Red and Blue as a dark horse candidate due to the presence of junior guard Zack Rosen. Rosen, the league’s reigning top-scorer, was picked as a unanimous preseason first-teamer, as well as the player of the year in four of those five publications.

“We’ve got a solid group,” Allen said. “And who knows ­­— if we hold onto our principles, who knows where we’ll end up?”

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