Earlier this month, we learned Penn's slate of Ivy League games in the coming season. Now we have the full schedule for the 2013 campaign. Here it is:
Saturday, November 9: vs. Temple
Tuesday, November 12: at Monmouth
Sunday, November 16: vs. Penn State
Friday, November 22: at Iowa
Tuesday, November 26: vs. Niagara
Saturday, November 30: at Lafayette
Wednesday, December 4: at Villanova
Saturday, December 7: vs. Wagner
Sunday, December 22: at Marist
Sunday, December 29: at Rider
Thursday, January 2: at George Mason
Saturday, January 4: vs. La Salle
Saturday, January 11: vs. Princeton
Saturday, January 18: vs. Saint Joseph's
Saturday, January 25: vs. NJIT
Friday, January 31: at Dartmouth
Saturday, January 1: at Harvard
Friday, February 7: vs. Cornell
Saturday, February 8: vs. Columbia
Friday, February 14: at Yale
Saturday, February 15: at Brown
Friday, February 21: vs. Harvard
Saturday, February 22: vs. Dartmouth
Friday, February 28: vs. Brown
Saturday, March 1: vs. Yale
Friday, March 7: at Columbia
Saturday, March 8: at Cornell
Tuesday, March 11: at Princeton
A few things stand out with the non-conference slate. The big one is the January 18 game vs. St. Joe's, which is the same day that ESPN's College GameDay will be at the Palestra for Temple-La Salle. Here's hoping the night game gets on national TV too.
Playing at Iowa will bring Dau Jok home to face his brother, Peter, who plays for the Hawkeyes. And of course, it reunites Iowa coach Fran McCaffery with his alma mater.
The game at George Mason is also intriguing. It's the first time the two programs have met, and it's the Patriots' first season in the Atlantic 10. The program was already a good one before leaving the CAA, but it's likely to get even better in the new conference.
Of course, playing in the A-10 means they'll get a lot of exposure to Philadelphia teams. Among the reasons that non-local programs play Penn is to plant a foot in our region for recruting, but Mason doesn't really have to do that. It will be interesting to see if Mason comes back to the Palestra in a later season.
And there's also the romantic angle of Penn being the original George Mason when it comes to underdogs making the Final Four. But it's been a while since that ride. Perhaps the Patriots' move to the A-10 will get them back in the national spotlight.
You'll notice that there's one big name missing above: Drexel. For the second time in the last three years, the Quakers and Dragons won't contest the Battle of 33rd Street.
I know it can be hard to get the game scheduled, and I know Bruiser Flint hates not having Penn come to the DAC. I have long been sympathetic to Drexel's inability to get home games, and it speaks poorly of a lot of programs that they won't go to Market Street.
Indeed, there's a degree to which I applaud Bruiser's principled stand when it comes to playing the Quakers. It would be easy enough to give the Dragons a fair share of the gate, or to make it their home game on Penn's floor. That happens with other city schools all the time.
But at the end of the day, it makes no sense for these programs to not play every season. The students at both schools love it, and that should mattter a lot more than it does. If it means they always play at the Palestra - where both teams' fan bases can fit in easily - then so be it.