Penn Quakers @ Kentucky Wildcats (11):  Pregame

This is where you will see DeAndre Liggins most of the time when the ball is on the floor.

The Penn Quakers come down from their ivory towers in the Ivy League to challenge the Kentucky Wildcats to a basketball contest in Rupp Arena Monday evening in the last out of conference game for the Wildcats.

Here is a comparison of the two seasons so far:

W-L Splits: Kentucky Penn
Split W-L Pct W-L Pct
Home 6-0 1 3-2 0.6
Away 1-1 0.5 1-3 0.25
Neutral 4-1 0.8 1-0 1
Conference 0-0 - 0-0 -
Conf Home 0-0 - 0-0 -
Conf Away 0-0 - 0-0 -
Conf Neutral 0-0 - 0-0 -
Top 25 3-0 1 0-2 0
RPI 1-50 2-2 0.5 0-2 0
RPI 51-100 1-0 1 0-0 -
RPI 101-150 0-0 - 1-0 1
RPI 151-200 3-0 1 1-0 1
RPI 200+ 1-0 1 2-1 0.67

Penn has lost to virtually every top 100 RPI team they've played with the exception of the Davidson Wildcats, which was contested in Penn's home arena.  Penn is coming off an upset loss on the road to the Marist Red Foxes.

After the jump, we'll take a look at personnel.

Personnel

Here is a look at the personnel changes of Penn over the last year:

Lost Players
Ht Wt Class Comments
Brian Fitzpatrick 6-7 225 Freshman Minor reserve
Carson Sullivan 6-3 190 Freshman Minor reserve
Drew Godwin 6-2 180 Senior Rarely played
Justin Reilly 6-8 230 Senior Minor reserve
Malcolm Washington 5-9 165 Freshman Minor reserve
Sean Mullan 6-6 220 Freshman Rarely played
Tommy Eggleston 6-5 175 Freshman Rarely played

 

New Players
Ht Wt Class Comments
Cameron Gunter 6-8 190 Freshman Rarely plays
Casey James 6-4 195 Freshman Rarely plays
Dau Jok 6-4 180 Freshman Rarely plays
Fran Dougherty 6-8 230 Freshman Major reserve
Marin Kukoc 6-7 195 Freshman Son of NBA star Toni Kucoc, out with undisclosed injury
Miles Cartwright 6-3 170 Freshman Starter
Steve Rennard 6-2 175 Freshman Minor reserve

Returning players:

Player Ht Wt Class Comments
Andreas Schreiber 6-9 245 Senior Injured last season
Conor Turley 6-7 220 Senior Starter
Dan Monckton 6-6 205 Senior Season-ending knee surgery, starter last year
Darren Smith 6-4 200 Senior Minor reserve
Jack Eggleston 6-8 215 Senior Starter, 2nd leading scorer 41% 3pt shooter, leading rebounder
Larry Loughery 6-6 210 Junior Injured last season and has not yet played
Mike Howlett 6-9 215 Junior Minor reserve
Rob Belcore 6-6 215 Junior Has not played due to migraines
Tyler Bernardini 6-6 205 Senior Starter.
Zach Gordon 6-6 215 Senior Rarely plays
Zach Rosen 6-1 175 Junior Starter, leading scorer, leading 3-point shooter.

Penn returns the vast majority of their players from last year, and they are an improved team.  Unfortunately, some key injuries and health issues have held them back from a much better season, and that doesn't look likely to change against Kentucky.

Four Factors

The Factors for this game look like this:

 

Penn is a good shooting team, but not particularly dangerous from 3-point range, although 3-pointers are responsible for about half their scoring, so they do shoot a lot from outside.  The Quakers are a poor offensive rebounding team averaging 25% OR and turn the ball over quite a bit, but they do get to the line a lot.

Overall Evaluation

This is another game that Kentucky should have no problem with.  The quakers aren't particularly big and are definitely not particularly athletic or skilled.  As you usually find in Ivy League teams, the Quakers can shoot the basketball when they are left open, so Kentucky cannot take them for granted for this reason.  Any team who can make a bunch of threes can pull an upset, and as the Cornell Big Red showed last year, the Ivy League can produce some quality teams.

But this year's Quakers team is too injured and too inexperienced to seriously threaten Kentucky if the Wildcats come to play.  Penn has no answer at all for Terrence Jones or Brandon Knight, and just staying in front of the Kentucky players will be very difficult for the smaller, slower Quakers.  In addition, DeAndre Liggins is likely to wind up on Zach Rosen, and that spells trouble for the star junior guard.

Penn prefers a deliberate tempo, but as was saw against Louisville, that's really no problem for Kentucky.  What may be a problem for Penn is if Kentucky decides to speed up the game, which they well may.  If so, and the Quakers can't stop them, this game could get out of hand in a hurry.

In the end, this looks like another game where the stars will have to align perfectly for the Wildcats to lose, but we said virtually the same thing about Gardner-Webb back in 2007.  This wouldn't be quite as big an upset as that, but it would be comparable. 

The Quakers did play a pretty good game against the Villanova Wildcats, covering the spread and keeping the game in doubt until less than one minute remained.  But against the Pittsburgh Panthers, a team roughly comparable to Kentucky in skill and athleticism, the Quakers were statistically dead with more than nine minutes left in the second half.

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