You think you do. You look at the teams and you figure St. Joe's has the talent and the athleticism and Penn has been struggling, and in particular when it comes to the front court just can't match up.
And you figure, after watching the Quakers play Villanova and Temple in front of a half-empty Palestra, that the buzz just won't be there even if all the tickets have been sold.
But then the ball goes up in the air. And against whatever you thought the odds were, Penn holds a 24-8 lead midway through the first half.
Then the Hawks come roaring back, hitting threes from all over the court when you figured their path to victory was a straight line to Ahmad Nivins under the basket.
Come the second half, the Hawks go up by 9, and you think they're pulling away. But Penn gets back to within one. Then St. Joe's goes up by eight, and you figure that's definitely it this time... but with 7:37 left Penn takes the lead back.
And the crowd is alive and the students at both ends are jumping, and voilà: we have ourselves a Big 5 game.
Yes, St. Joe's pulled away in the end, with Nivins making big plays underneath and Darrin Govens hitting big shots from outside.
But there's no question Penn gave its best effort of the season, and picked a good time to do it with Ivy League play starting in six days.
Will any of this carry over beyond tonight? We'll see. What we know for sure, though, is that a full house at the Palestra got its money's worth tonight.
That counts for something.
Before you start reading the blog transcript, I talked to ESPN.com bracketologist and St. Joe's radio analyst Joe Lunardi before the game about the state of things in the Atlantic 10, the Big East and the Colonial Athletic Association. As ever with Joe, it's worth listening to.
So are the postgame press conferences, which you'll also find below.
And now, as President Obama likes to say, we go play hoop.
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.