Game Nine Liveblog — Penn hoops vs. Villanova

The Quakers kick off the Big 5 schedule tonight at the Palestra with Villanova. The Wildcats are 0-2 in the Big 5 and also have a loss to Columbia this season. Tonight's game is on NBC Sports Network, but follow along our liveblog and join the conversation!

This Week on 33rd Street: Dec. 10

It's our final edition of the semester, and we've got a full preview of the men's basketball team's winter break. Highlights include my best John Wall dance, and a fired up Jerome Allen.

One more note on Nova

Ari did an excellent job analyzing last night’s 12-point loss to Villanova in detail, touching on Penn’s use of zone defense (1-3-1 and 2-3) at the end of his post. ‘Nova coach Jay Wright praised the Quakers' 2-3 zone at the press conference following the game.

“I don’t want to say anything about shots we made or turnovers without saying that you have to give Penn credit. I thought they were really active in their zone,” he said.

Wright even went as far as to compare the Quakers’ defense to Syracuse’s renowned 2-3 zone in “really extending it” and taking away the three-point shot with ball pressure on the perimeter. Villanova was not able to take advantage by pounding the ball inside, he added.

While much of what the ever-positive Wright says needs to be taken with a grain of salt, it appears Allen may be onto something with the zone defense. Players like Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore, a great defender who is lacking in lateral quickness, can be better utilized in a zone that emphasizes discipline and collective movement rather than one-on-one defense — especially against the quicker, more athletic teams in the Big 5.

I think part of the reason Allen and Zack Rosen were so upset after the game is that they knew how effective the zone could be but several lapses cost them. Really, though, had Corey Stokes not been on fire from the field — he shot 73 percent (11-for-15) despite being at just over 40 percent for his career — we’d be spending today and the next few weeks discussing another astonishing Penn upset.

Villanova’s JayVaughn Pinkston out for season

The Quakers now have one less thing to worry about for Wednesday night's showdown against No. 12 Villanova.

Freshman phenom and McDonald's All-American JayVaughn Pinkston was suspended by the university for the spring semester and is off the Wildcats' lineup for the remainder of the season, according to ESPN. Last month, the frosh was charged with two counts of simple assault and harassment at an off-campus apartment. While the incident occurred before Pinkston saw any game-time action, the power forward was "expected to contribute immediately." Pinkston, who hasn't played yet this season, will likely return to Villanova in June as a redshirt freshman.

What does this mean for the Quakers? They couldn't take advantage of a similar situation in this season's loss to Drexel, despite the suspension of Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip, who are facing charges from a summer robbery incident. Can the Red and Blue take advantage Wednesday?

Philly Hoops schedule complete

Villanova announced its men's basketball schedule earlier today, with the Wildcats hosting Penn on Monday, Nov. 16.

As Zach Klitzman previously reported, it's the first time since the 2000-01 season that this matchup will take place outside of December.

The rest of Penn's City Six schedule was already known. All games are at the Palestra:

  • Drexel, Nov.24
  • Temple, Jan. 13
  • La Salle, Jan. 20
  • Saint Joseph's, Jan. 25