As ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan continues his list of the top-50 programs in the last 50 years, the University of Pennsylvania came in at #22 today. While this may be surprising to some, the seasoned City Six veterans remember the days when Penn was nationally relevant. ESPN’s point system awarded the Quakers 289 points, 98 more than they gave #40 St. Joseph’s.
How did they come to this number? Penn made the Final Four back in 1979, concluding a decade that also saw them achieve four Sweet 16 appearances. Their 23 Ivy League titles (ESPN also credited them with 22 tournament titles) were due in part to winning 80 percent of games over eight years and 75 percent of games 17 times.
The Quakers’ numbers are incredibly impressive in the 1970s and also during the Fran Dunphy (1989-2006) years when they won 10 conference titles and never finished worth than 4th. In the 1970s, Penn was the 5th best team overall.
Hurting Penn was the fact that they only won a single NCAA tournament game since 1980 (1994) and have not made the tournament in five years, their longest drought in the past 50 seasons.
Chuck Daly was named the “50 in 50 coach,” but current coach Jerome Allen was named to the all-team as the starting point guard. On that list, he is the only player to suit up after 1979, Ron Haigler, Tony Price, Corky Calhoun and Stan Pawlak being the others.
Is 50 years of Quaker basketball better than 50 years of Hawk basketball? ESPN and their Stats and Information department believes so. We’ll see if any other City 6 teams make the top 22.
Was Zack Rosen snubbed on this list? Talk about it on The Boards.