Pennsylvania Quakers—Ivy League Winners Will Dance

The Penn Quakers (12- 1 Ivy League, 21- 8 overall) have one more game left in their season, against the last- place Princeton Tigers (2- 11 Ivy League, 11- 16 overall). But that game will have no bearing as the Quakers secured an NCAA bid on March 2, 2007, by beating the second-place Yale Bulldogs (10- 4 Ivy League, 14- 13 overall) 86- 58. It was the Quakers third consecutive conference championship.Not ranked nationally, Pennsylvania played and lost to two top-25 teams this season—the Syracuse Orange 78- 60 and the North Carolina Tar Heels 102- 64. Prior to playing Yale a few days ago, Penn had run off seven straight victories, with its last lost coming to the Bulldogs on February 3, 2007 by a score of 77- 68. That game was won and lost at the penalty stripe, where Yale converted 69% of its free throws gaining 18 points and Penn hitting only 38% for merely 8 points. That 10-point differential was expressed in the final score.

In the tourney, it will be tough for the Quakers to go very far, but it’s not impossible. Three seniors lead them and that veteran tournament presence will go a long way.

Forward Mark Zoller (18.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, .561 FG%, .785 FT%), who’s 6-foot, 7-inches and 220 pounds, is Penn’s top scorer and a fine defensive player. Senior guard Ibrahim Jaaber (16.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.4 APG, .530 FG%, .629 FT%), who leads the Quakers in assists, offers solid leadership. Forward Steve Danley (9.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, .488 FG%, .691 FT%) provides some balance around the basket.

Additionally, junior guard Brian Grandiere (12.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, .509 FG%, .720 FT%) is an important piece of Penn’s offensive puzzle. He’s the best 3-point shooter, hitting at a rate of 50%.

Along with these key players, Penn will have be on target with its stingy defense and try to maintain their inside game against some of the bigger, hard-banging clubs. The club is normally a fine free throw team, hitting 66% of their shots.

Penn needs each of these four starters to perform effectively on the boards and in the paint in order to go deep into the tournament.

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