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City 6 Preview: Penn Quakers schedule analysis

10/13/2017, 9:00am EDT
By Owen McCue

Penn's Steve Donahue (above) has put together a non-con which should result in a few wins. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
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(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2017-18 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 10. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season, click here.)

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Here’s a look at the Quakers’ schedule for 2017-18:

Overview
Penn was 6-5 before it played its first conference game in 2016-17. Although a late-season run pushed the Quakers into the Ivy League’s inaugural postseason tournament, Penn finished the year with a losing overall record (13-15) and conference record (6-8).

The Quakers have a pair of tournament teams on their non-conference schedule for the 2017-18 campaign. A road trip to Dayton and an away game against Villanova will likely be tough but can give Penn some experience against top competition before Ivy play. The Quakers also have some familiar faces on the schedule like Navy, Fairfield and Lafayette, who they went 2-1 against last season.

The annual home-and-home pairings in the Ivy are no different than usual but a four-game stretch in early February containing three matchups with the league’s top three teams will challenge Steve Donahue’s squad.

A five-game February win streak saved the Quakers’ season in 2016-17. t’s hard to imagine a 6-8 showing in the Ivy gets Penn back into the conference tournament in 2017-18. Penn will need to avoid long losing streaks and put together a more consistent effort from November to March if it is to compete for an NCAA spot.

Toughest Stretch
Non-conference: Nov. 25-Dec.9 (@ Monmouth, @ Villanova, @ Howard, @ Lafayette, @ Dayton)

The Quakers have quite the road trip scheduled in late November and early December. Penn will play away from home for five games in a row. While Howard and Lafayette finished near the bottom of their respective leagues last season, Dayton, Monmouth and Villanova were all regular-season champions of their conferences..

Conference: Feb. 3-10 (Yale, @ Princeton, @ Dartmouth, @ Harvard)

It’s likely no team in the Ivy this year will have a tougher conference stretch than Penn’s week in February. Princeton, Harvard and Yale finished first, second and third in the league last season ahead of Penn. The Quakers lost three times to the Tigers and split their meetings against the Bulldogs and Crimson in 2016-17. Dartmouth only had four Ivy League wins, but two of them came against Penn.

Opposing Players to See
1. Bryce Aiken, G, Harvard

Aiken was ranked a Top 100 recruit by ESPN before coming to Harvard last season. He didn’t disappoint, earning Ivy League Freshman of the Year a season ago and a first team all-conference selection.

2. Myles Stephens, G, Princeton

Stephens was the Ivy Defensive of Player of the Year. He and Aiken are the Ivy's only returning first team all-conference selections. Stevens scored 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Quakers in the Ivy semifinal last season.

3. Tyler Nelson, G, Fairfield

Nelson is the top returning scorer in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He averaged 19.5 points and 3.6 assists per game last season.

Can’t-Miss Games

Princeton, Harvard and Yale

If the Quakers are to make a second straight appearance in the Ivy League tournament and establish themselves as one of the top teams in the league, they’ll have to fare well against the Ivy League’s Big 3. Penn was 0-4 against Princeton, Harvard and Yale before Feb. 19 last season. The Quakers picked up a 16-point road win against Yale and then a 75-72 win against Harvard to end the regular season in order to clinch a spot in the conference postseason. The Quakers had Princeton on the ropes in the Ivy tournament before the Tigers came back and won in overtime. They’ll hope to carry some of that momentum into this season.

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Full Schedule (all times TBD unless otherwise mentioned)
* = Ivy League game

# = Gulf Coast Showcase

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Sat., Nov. 11 @ Fairfield
Mon., Nov. 12 vs. La Salle
Weds., Nov. 15 vs. Navy
Sat., Nov. 18 vs. Penn State-Brandywine
#Mon., Nov. 20 vs. Northern Illinois
#Tues., Nov. 21 vs. Florida Atlantic/ Towson
#Weds., Nov. 22  vs. TBD
Sat., Nov. 25 @ Monmouth
Weds., Nov. 29 @ Villanova (7 PM)

Mon., Dec. 4 @ Howard
Weds., Dec. 6 @ Lafayette
Sat., Dec. 9 @ Dayton
Weds., Dec. 27 vs. Delaware St.
Fri., Dec. 29 vs. Toledo

*Fri., Jan. 5 vs. Princeton
*Fri., Jan. 12 vs. Cornell
*Sat., Jan. 13 vs. Columbia
Sat., Jan. 20 vs. Temple
Sat., Jan. 27 vs. Saint Joseph’s

*Fri., Feb. 2 vs. Brown
*Sat., Feb. 3 vs. Yale
*Tues., Feb. 6 @ Princeton
*Fri., Feb. 9 @ Dartmouth
*Sat., Feb. 10 @ Harvard
*Fri., Feb. 16 @ Columbia
*Fri., Feb. 17 @ Cornell
*Fri., Feb. 23 vs Dartmouth
*Sat., Feb. 24 vs Harvard

*Fri., March 2 @ Yale
*Sat., March 3 @ Brown


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