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 seasonâ€”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 itâ€™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%), whoâ€™s 6-foot, 7-inches and 220 pounds, is Pennâ€™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 Pennâ€™s offensive puzzle. Heâ€™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.