PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s all Ivy League action from here on out for the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team. They open their first full weekend of Ivy League on Friday night in New Haven, Connecticut against the Yale Bulldogs. They will follow that up on Saturday night with a visit to Providence to run with the Brown Bears.
The 6-9 Quakers lost their Ivy League opener back on January 9th, a heartbreaker in overtime to Princeton. Since then, Penn has played just one game, a 75-60 loss to St. Joe’s on January 20th. Needless to say the Quakers are anxious to get back to game action.
“They sure are,” Penn head coach Steve Donahue tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s just the way the schedule is in the Ivies, going around finals schedules. But we are absolutely excited to play this weekend, for sure.”
Listen to the entire interview with Penn’s Steve Donahue
The Ivy League schedule is truly unique as the bulk of the league games are played on back-to-back Friday and Saturday nights. It’s a lot of intense basketball in a short amount of time. For the freshman on the Penn roster, especially key contributors like guards Jake Silpe and Jackson Donahue, this weekend will be their first taste of the grind of an Ivy weekend.
“We try to do it in practice every day, (we) say, ‘We’ve got to go hard these two days and simulate what it’s going to be like in our league,'” Donahue says. “But the reality of it is it’s way different. The excitement of a game and the intensity of a game, you’re coming back in 22 hours and playing again. It’s difficult to simulate. But I think all guys, once they start understanding it, it’s not as hard as people think. I think it’s something that, if you’re ready for it as a basketball player, you’re probably excited to get back on the court.”
On Friday night, the Quakers will match-up with a Yale team that is 11-5 on the season overall, 2-0 in the Ancient 8 and a perfect 6-0 at home at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
“It’s a typical (head coach) James Jones team,” Donahue says. “It’s a very good defensive team, an extremely physical offensive rebounding team and a very solid defensive rebounding team. They are four seniors and one sophomore, they’re experienced and they are coming off a great campaign last year and they are very confident this year.”
Yale’s two league wins this year have come against Brown. The Bears are 5-11 on the season.
Friday night’s game in New Haven will tip-off at 7:00pm while Saturday’s game at Brown is an 8:00pm tip.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.