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Palestra Hosts First No. 1 Team in 45 Years

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Courtesy: Mike Mahoney, Director of Penn Athletic Communications

PHILADELPHIA - Coming off a pair of tough road losses at Lafayette and Villanova, the young Quakers return home. However, things are hardly going to be easier -- No. 1 North Carolina is Penn’s opponent, setting up one of the most anticipated games in the storied history of The Palestra.

How historic is Tuesday night’s contest? From a Penn perspective, it’s a first. The Quakers have never hosted a No. 1-ranked team at The Palestra. A survey of the other Philadelphia Big 5 schools (La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Temple, Villanova) yielded two contests played here by Villanova against No. 1 teams -- Seton Hall on Jan. 31, 1953, and West Virginia on Jan. 8, 1958 -- and one by Saint Joseph’s (when the Hawks beat No. 1 Bowling Green, 58-57, on Dec. 26, 1962).

Penn is not entering the 2007-08 season quietly -- with a young, inexperienced roster, the Quakers played seven games in the month of November, and this is already their second in December. Consider the schedule after this, though. On Saturday, Penn plays at Monmouth, their 10th game in a 30-day span; following that game, the Quakers will play just eight games between December 9 and February 1 (a span of 54 days).