La Salle (Atlantic 10) at Pennsylvania (Ivy)The Palestra - Philadelphia, PA7:00 PM EST
When there's no games featuring conference frontrunners or prospective NCAA teams that are facing soul-baring tests, we here at G!O!T!N! studios usually revert to the game we'll be attending. Since we're hoarding all our Winthrop
material for the paid gig, we go to our third option, which is anything Big 5-related. So the virtual satellite trucks will be rolling up to the Palestra, the great cathedral of college basketball
, for a matchup in the greatest invisible league in college hoops.
And here we have the two schools with the very least amount of Big 5 success, the Explorers and Quakers. In the 51 years that the round-robin's been held, La Salle came into the year 76-116 and Penn 75-117 while the other three schools (Saint Joseph's, Villanova and Temple) all own winning records. But Penn has the distinction to be the first to sweep in consecutive years twice, under Dick Harter in 1969-70 and 1970-71, and Chuck Daly repeated the feat in 1972-73 and 1973-74. No sweep this year with Glen Miller, as the Quakers' 5-9 record includes a loss to Villanova. And while we originally liked the Quakers to win their league on raw talent alone, the six-freshman roster hasn't shown much to be excited about -- although they play much faster and freer than usual, they're among the nation's leading producer of embarrassing turnovers. It'll be interesting, though, to see how SWAC style translates to the Ancient Eight.
La Salle has been swept out 0-4 in the city series six times in its history, and you have to go back to the mid-Seventies days of Charlie Wise to find some positive blue-and-gold Big 5 vibes. This is a young team,with just three functional upperclassmen, but one of those is mainstay senior guard Darnell Harris
, who's stepped up to contribute 16.7 ppg this year. Coming up behind is sophomore guard Rodney Green
, a 6-5 combo who's developing as an all-around threat (13.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.2 apg) that could lead the 'Splorers for years to come. Can he turn in a Wise-like performance tonight in this matchup of underperforming 6-9 Philly squads?LAS 62, PENN 58