By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
Penn men’s basketball coach Steve Donahue hasn’t shied from competition when putting together his schedules in the past. The team’s non-conference slate is no different with another loaded slate on tap.
The Quakers have a quartet of high-major programs on their schedule, which was announced in its entirety on Thursday, along with the new edition of the Big 5 Tournament and the second annual Cathedral of College Basketball Classic.
Leading scorer Jordan Dingle transferred to St. John’s, so senior guard Clark Slajchert (13.6 ppg), senior forward/guard Max Martz (10.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and junior forward Nick Spinoso (8.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) are the top players back from last season’s 17-13 (9-5 Ivy) squad.
Penn senior guard Clark Slajchert is the team's returning scoring leader at 13.6 ppg. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Things tip-off against D-III John Jay on Nov. 6 before a home game against Bucknell and new head coach John Griffin on Nov. 8. The Quakers then jump into Big 5 play at St. Joe’s (Nov. 10) and home against Villanova. The new format will conclude with a tripleheader at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Penn has a road trip to Maryland Eastern Shore on Nov. 18 precedes the second annual Cathedral Classic at the Palestra. Last year’s inaugural tournament included Hartford, Colgate and Delaware. The Quakers face Lafayette, Belmont and Monmouth from Nov. 24-26.
The Quakers final Big 5 opponent will be determined on how they fare in their first two games. After the tripleheader, they face D-III FDU-Florham and then return to the Wells Fargo Center against Kentucky in a doubleheader that also includes Villanova vs. UCLA. The matchup with the Wildcats will give fans a chance to see Wildcats’ star freshmen local products Justin Edwards (Imhotep Charter), D.J. Wagner (Camden) and Aaron Bradshaw (Camden).
Penn will be back at the Palestra Dec. 11 to host Howard before a 12-day break. The Quakers then travel to Rider on Dec. 23 then to Houston, which is coming off a third straight Sweet 16 appearance, and concluded the non-conference slate with another big one at Auburn on Jan. 2.
“We love to put our guys in a position to make memories, and with Villanova at The Palestra, two games at the Wells Fargo Center, and road trips to face a top-10 Houston team and an SEC program in Auburn we are giving this group the chance to write an indelible chapter in Penn’s incredible men’s basketball history,” Donahue said in a release. “I can’t wait to get started with our group as we look ahead to the upcoming season.”
Penn finished third in the Ivy League regular season in 2022-23 and fell in the league semifinals to eventual champion Princeton, which won an NCAA Tournament game. A stretch with a home and away game against Yale reigning league runner-up sandwiched around a matchup with the Tigers in early to mid-February could be a big stretch this season.
The Quakers, who play a total of 15 games at the Palestra, have a three-game homestand to finish off the Ivy League season, concluding with a matchup against Princeton.
2023-24 Penn MBB Schedule
All game times TBD unless noted; bold games are home. Last year’s record in parenthesis
* = Ivy League Contest; #= Big 5 Contest: +=Cathedral Classic
Mon., Nov. 6 vs. John Jay University
Wed., Nov. 8 vs. Bucknell (12-20, 5-13 Patriot)
#Fri., Nov. 10 at Saint Joseph’s (16-17, 8-10 A-10)
#Mon., Nov. 13 vs. Villanova (17-17, 10-10 Big East)
Sat., Nov. 18 at Maryland Eastern Shore (18-13, 9-5 MEAC)
+Fri., Nov. 24 vs. Lafayette, 4:30 p.m. (11-23, 7-11 Patriot)
+Sat., Nov. 25 vs. Belmont, 4:30 p.m. (21-11, 14-6 Missouri Valley)
+Sun., Nov. 26 vs. Monmouth, 2:30 p.m. (7-26, 5-13 CAA)
Sat., Dec. 2 vs. TBD/Big 5 Classic
Wells Fargo Center
Wed., Dec. 6 vs. FDU-Florham
Sat., Dec. 9 vs. Kentucky (22-12, 12-6 SEC)
Wells Fargo Center
Mon., Dec. 11 vs. Howard (22-13, 11-3 MEAC)
Sat., Dec. 23 at Rider (16-14, 13-7 MAAC)
Sat., Dec. 30 at Houston (33-4, 17-1 AAC)
Tues., Jan. 2 at Auburn (21-13, 10-8 SEC)
*Sat., Jan. 6 vs. Dartmouth (10-18, 6-8 Ivy)
*Mon., Jan. 15 at Cornell (17-11, 7-7 Ivy)
*Sat., Jan. 20 vs. Harvard (14-14, 5-9 Ivy)
*Sat., Jan. 27 at Columbia (7-22, 2-12 Ivy)
*Fri., Feb. 2 at Brown (14-13, 7-7 Ivy)
*Sat., Feb. 3 at Yale (21-9, 10-4 Ivy)
*Sat., Feb. 10 at Princeton (23-9, 10-4 Ivy)
*Fri., Feb. 16 vs. Yale (21-9, 10-4 Ivy)
*Sat., Feb. 17 vs. Brown (14-13, 7-7 Ivy)
*Friday, Feb. 23 at Dartmouth (10-18, 6-8 Ivy)
*Saturday, Feb. 24 at Harvard (14-14, 5-9 Ivy)
*Fri., March 1 vs. Cornell (17-11, 7-7 Ivy)
*Sat., March 2 vs. Columbia (7-22, 2-12 Ivy)
*Sat., March 9 vs. Princeton (23-9, 10-4 Ivy)