Annual alumni game ends in tie

In a shockingly close finish on Saturday afternoon, the Penn alumni game ended in a tie, 67-67

The Red and Blue teams were tied at 65 in the final minute when Tim Krug (C' 96) made a shot to put the Blue team up two. The Red team quickly responded with a two of their own from Brian Grandieri (C' 08).

So with the game tied in the final seconds, Krug drew a foul and went to the line for two free throws. Unfortunately, he succumbed to pressure, missing both free throws, including an air ball on his first attempt. He made up for it on defense with a steal to preserve the tie.

“Historically, I’ve been a poor free throw shooter,” Krug said. “Being out of shape and at the foul line at the end of the game, being a bad free throw shooter, isn’t the best place to be.”

The Blue team (0-0-1) led for much of the contest thanks to some strong jump shooting early from multiple players, including Joe Gill (C' 08), who hit two early three pointers.

With the team behind early, the Red team (0-0-1) resorted to the worst of basketball’s vices: cherry-picking. Penn coach Jerome Allen and Stan Greene (C' 78) failed to get back on defense in order to get the glory of an easy layup on the other end.

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Brennan Votel makes ESPN

...But not for anything related to basketball. The former hoops forward who graduated this past May apparently took a trip to Europe after graduation and participated in the annual Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling race. It sounds simple enough: 15 people race to the bottom of a hill, trailing a large wheel of cheese. First one to the bottom wins the cheese.

Yet it's not that easy. Since the hill is steep and uneven, the vast majority of participants in any given race fall down. Multiple times. In fact, the race has been described as "twenty young men chase a cheese off a cliff and tumble 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital."

Votel raced in the event, as seen in this E:60 segment on ESPN. You can see him briefly at :58 seconds getting some "Dutch courage" and also briefly at roughly 5:56. But if you want to see him tumbling down the hill, in all his Robert "Tractor" Traylor Michigan jersey glory, then watch from roughly 4:45 to 5:30, including an interview at 5:15 with Jeremy Schaap.

(HT Neil Fanaroff)

Notes from Miami

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami coach Frank Haith started sophomore Dwayne Collins over junior Jimmy Graham last night against Penn, and the decision paid off when Collins terrorized the Quakers inside while Graham still had seven points in 23 minutes. Haith had an interesting explanation for the move:

"It wasn’t anything bad that Jimmy did. What we looked at was [that] ... officiating at the beginning of the game is when it's the tightest. And I think Jimmy always gets two fouls, so he sits for 17, 18 minutes, and he comes back in the second half and he gets his third foul. So he ends up playing like 11 minutes for the game. We want to get him more minutes. We want him on the court more. I'm not proving my theory like an Einstein, but [tonight] he got his first foul in the second half. His aggressive nature hurts him to start games sometimes."

Penn injury report: Harrison Gaines (hamstring), Michael Kach (back) and Brennan Votel (hamstring) likely won't return for Saturday's game against N.J.I.T.

Good thing Votel wasn't going to get in the game, because his mind might not have been on basketball. A troupe of eye-catching females made its way behind the junior during a first-half media timeout, and Votel found some time to chat it up with them on the bench before play resumed. Good to see at least some positives in an otherwise bad night for the Quakers.

It was a great night of promotions at the Hurricanes' BankUnited Center. Instead of the Palestra-style protocol of throwing items into the stands, Miami instead dropped trinkets in tiny parachutes onto the crowd from the rafters. (Sadly, none were aimed at the media section.) Also, any fan could get a free shave or haircut right above Section 108. Spiffy.

Click here for excerpts of the Penn press conference, courtesy the Inquirer.

A little Miami Ink

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Greetings from about two blocks away from the Miami Hurricanes' BankUnited Center, where the Quakers will try not to set any more dubious NCAA scoring records Wednesday night.

As of midnight, Penn is a 20- or 21-point 'dog, and it's not hard to see why. The 'Canes were ranked for two weeks, then suffered their first loss (to Winthrop) and fell out of the Top 25, but they're still a darn good team on paper.

No way will Penn come out as flat as it did against Florida Gulf Coast, but the Quakers just don't seem to match up well in this game. Miami shoots the lights out from three-point land (nearly 44%), which has killed the Quakers all year. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior Jack McClintock has been particularly ridiculous in this department; he leads the ACC with 2.91 threes per game and a 54.2% clip from deep and has a 20-point scoring average. James Dews, a sophomore with a bit more size, is a distant second in the conference in three-point percentage (47.9) and scores nearly 12 per game.

According to Penn's game notes, Brennan Votel, Harrison Gaines and Michael Kach are doubtful again after missing the FGCU game, which means we'll see plenty of Aron Cohen (who'll start) and Andreas Schreiber, plus some more Kevin Egee, Conor Turley and possibly Cameron Lewis as well.

Check back here at 8 p.m. where I'll be blogging the game live. Afterwards, myself and fellow DP Sports Editors Krista Hutz and Sebastien Angel will all have stories on breaking things down.

As promised, here are my personal Ivy Rankings, Edition 2. (Here's No. 1.) RPI is included this time as well, and starting in the next edition I'll include how each team's RPI moved in the previous week.

1. Cornell (6-4, Previous Ranking: 3, RPI: 118). The Big Red had the best-quality win of the week -- Stony Brook -- so the No. 1 spot is theirs by default.
2. Columbia (5-7, Previous Ranking: 4, RPI: 203). 46-point victories are in short supply around the Ivy League, even against an opponent like Polytechnic.
3. Brown (6-5, Previous Ranking: 1, RPI: 119). The Bears got blown out by Notre Dame, but the Irish are 10-2, so Brown only moves down two spots.
4. Harvard (4-11, Previous Ranking: 7, RPI: 301). Harvard is still losing, but by smaller and smaller margins. I'm predicting a win over Dartmouth on Saturday.
5. Princeton (2-10, Previous Ranking: 8, RPI: 291). Still not much for the Tigers to be proud of, but their nine-point loss to Monmouth this week pales in comparison to what the three teams below them did.
6. Yale (3-7, Previous Ranking: 6, RPI: 158). 35-point loss. (Kansas.)
7. Dartmouth (5-7, Previous Ranking: 5, RPI: 241). 35-point loss. (Siena.)
8. Penn (4-8, Previous Ranking: 2, RPI: 255). 30-point loss. (Florida Gulf Coast.) Pick the outlier in that group. Sorry, Quakers, but last place is a lock this week.

Big man melee

I'd like to get your thoughts on a big personnel question during the final exams lull. How should Glen Miller divide up time in the Penn frontcourt over the next few games?

Well, it depends on the answers to a few other questions:

  • Is Justin Reilly's offensive game worth his defensive lapses?
  • Is it the right decision to bury Brennan Votel on the bench?
  • Should Cameron Lewis be more than a defense/rebounding role player?
  • Should we see more of Conor Turley after the boost he gave against Monmouth?
  • Will Andreas Schreiber ever be able to stay out of foul trouble?

For a frame of reference, here's how the minutes and points have been divvied up so far. I'm not counting Brian Grandieri in this group, although he's been listed as a forward most of the year.

Eggleston: 10 GP, 26.4 mpg, 7.7 ppg, 51.8 FG% (29-56), (7-18) 3-pt. FGs, 4.7 rpg
Reilly: 10 GP, 18.4 mpg, 7.1 ppg, 46.0 FG% (23-50), (7-13) 3-pt. FGs, 2.3 rpg
Schreiber: 10 GP, 13.8 mpg, 5.0 ppg, 54.1 FG% (20-37), (3-14) 3-pt. FGs, 3.7 rpg
Votel: 9 GP, 9.4 mpg, 1.9 ppg, 33.3 FG% (7-21), (1-7) 3-pt. FGs, 2.6 rpg
Lewis: 8 GP, 8.1 mpg, 1.5 ppg, 33.3 FG% (4-12), (0-0) 3-pt. FGs, 1.3 rpg
Turley: 5 GP, 7.2 mpg, 1.4 ppg, 28.6 FG% (2-7), (0-3) 3-pt. FGs, 0.4 rpg

Leave your comments on this frontcourt mess below, but be fair. If you suggest that one player should see more time, please indicate who those minutes should come from.

Brian Seltzer's weekly podcast offers some insight on Harrison Gaines' absence from the starting lineup against Monmouth; Miller commented that he was looking for "more organization for our offense" and better decision-making -- when to push things and when to put on the brakes. With a couple of days' hindsight, I think it also had something to do with Gaines' night against North Carolina, where he looked completely out of sorts.

Points anyone?

If you've followed Penn basketball for more than 10 minutes, you probably know that the team will take a major blow without recently-graduated and current European basketballers Mark Zoller and Ibrahim Jaaber this season. It sounds bad, but the stats make it look even worse.

Zoller and Jaaber averaged 34.1 points per game, or 46 percent of the team's total. And if you take out Stephen Danley's (graduated) 8.7 and Tommy McMahon's (medical redshirt) 5.0, (and yes, Adam Franklin's 0.7) the current team (10 returning players) only accounted for 34 percent of last year's points. Other than Brian Grandieri, the highest average last year was Kevin Egee's 3.9 points per game.

Coach Glen Miller is clearly not oblivious to this issue.

"We're trying to find out [who's going to score], we don't have those answers right now," Miller said last Friday. "Just like the Ivy League has a lot of parity, on our team from top to bottom there's a lot of parity."

So where will the points come from in 2007-08?

The obvious answer is that Grandieri (11.7 points per game) will pick up the slack. Grandieri is the team's best player, but he's a guy that slips into the short corner and nails 10-footers or finds a loose offensive rebound and puts it in, not a guy who breaks a defender's ankles and throws it down over a guy like Drexel's Frank Elegar. He was a cog in last year's offense, and without the parts around him can he do the same thing?

All is not lost, though. There is a lot of potential in this team.

Darren Smith, while he was tentaitive last year and his shot isn't exactly beautiful, can knock down that corner three as well as anyone in this league. He hit an astounding 22 of 46 from deep (48 percent), he's just got to be less gun-shy (a.k.a. shoot other than just on the game's first three possessions) in his second season.

Egee also hit at a great percentage from three, going 20 for 39, but his strength is his all-around offensive game. He had a couple of strong drives in the Red and Blue scrimmage that ended in a runner (one went in, one didn't). And he has the strongest triceps on the team.

Guys like Aron Cohen and freshman Tyler Bernardini are real unknowns, but each has a nice shot and could put it to use.

The inside game will be a big question mark, as guys like Justin Reilly, Brennan Votel and Cam Lewis have to prove they can score on the block. Lewis' post game looked improved in the Red and Blue scrimmage, so we'll have to see what he can do in a game, and how the other two will fare. Lets just say they weren't the deadliest of shooters last season - Votel and Reilly went a combined 8 for 31 from three in 2006-07 (26 percent), while averaging a respectable 39 percent from inside the arc.