With a little over two months before tip-off, Penn men's basketball has announced its schedule for the upcoming 2023-24 season. In addition to the standard 14 Ivy League games, the Quakers will also play 15 out-of-conference matches this year.
Penn will be participating in several notable tournaments over the non-conference season. The Quakers will host the Cathedral of College Basketball Classic at the Palestra over Thanksgiving weekend and seek to repeat last year's victory. This time around, though, Penn will play host to Lafayette, Belmont, and Monmouth on Nov. 24-26.
Additionally, the 2023-24 season marks the first year of a reworked structure to Big 5 play. Instead of playing four other Philadelphia-area schools, Penn now just has two opponents set: Saint Joseph's and Villanova. Depending on the results of those two matchups, Penn will then face either Drexel, Temple, or La Salle in the Big 5 Classic at the Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 2.
That game will be one of two the Quakers play in South Philadelphia this season; they return the following Saturday to play Kentucky at the Wells Fargo Center. Additionally, UCLA and Villanova are scheduled to face off that day in the same venue, according to Jon Rothstein.
Another highlight of the Red and Blue's non-conference schedule comes as the calendar turns to 2024. While most students rest at home for winter break, the Quaker team will head south to face Houston and Auburn on Dec. 30 and Jan. 2, respectively. These represent what will likely be two of Penn's toughest matchups this upcoming campaign. The Cougars spent numerous weeks as the AP No. 1 ranked team in the country last season and ultimately were the top seed in the midwest region of last year's March Madness. Auburn, meanwhile, went 21-13 overall in 2022-23 — including an impressive 14-2 at home.
Upon returning to the Palestra, Penn will begin its Ivy League schedule with 14 conference games — one at home and one on the road against each Ancient Eight team between Jan. 6 and March 9. Of note is that of the three back-to-backs Penn has to play, two of them are on the road – at Brown and Yale on Feb. 2-3 and at Dartmouth and Harvard on Feb. 23-24. The latter of those could be especially difficult for the Quakers, given that they are playing two games the previous weekend as well, hosting Yale and Brown on Feb. 16-17. Therefore, Penn will have four games in nine days — the most crowded stretch of their conference schedule.
As has been the case in recent years, the final game of the Quakers' regular season schedule is set to be with the Princeton Tigers on March 9. But, while last year's matchup was in New Jersey, this year's will be at the Palestra – with spots in Ivy Madness or even a conference title potentially on the line.
This season, Penn is set to return four of its top five scorers from last season including senior guard Clark Slajchert and senior guard/forward Max Martz. However, there were several notable departures during the offseason. In particular, guards Jordan Dingle and Lucas Monroe transferred to St. John's and Drexel, respectively.
But with a new freshman class on the roster, plus several other players set to receive more minutes this season, one can't rely on last year's numbers to tell this season's story. Only the games will tell what this year's team will be like.