By the Numbers: Penn in the NCAA Tournament (Men)

March Madness is back after last year’s tournament was canceled by the coronavirus. In the spirit and excitement of the Big Dance, Penn Today takes a look at the history of the Quakers in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 16 seed Penn takes on No. 1 seed Kansas in the First Round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament kicks off today in Indiana. Due to the pandemic, all games will be played in the Hoosier State, most in Indianapolis. The Ivy League has opted out of the winter sports season, so no conference schools are taking part.

The men’s basketball team has a long and glorious history in the NCAA Tournament, most recently in 2018, when the 16th-seeded Quakers took on top-seeded Kansas in Wichita, Kansas.

In this edition of By the Numbers, Penn Today takes a look at the history of the Red & Blue in the NCAA Tournament.

    • 24

      Total number of NCAA Tournament appearances for Penn. The first was in 1953.

    • 13-26

      Penn’s record in the NCAA Tournament. The Quakers’ first win in a non-consolation game was a 70-65 win over Duquesne in the First Round of the 1971 Tournament. Forward Bob Morse led the Red & Blue with 24 points and 16 rebounds.

    • 37

      Most individual points scored by a Penn player in an NCAA Tournament game. Forward Keven McDonald dropped 37 on St. Bonaventure at the Palestra on March 12, 1978, in the Preliminary Round.

    • 1979

      Year when Penn reached the Final Four, the last time an Ivy League school reached the National Semifinal. The Ninth-seeded Quakers beat Iona, North Carolina, Syracuse, and St. John’s before they ran into a Michigan State team led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

    • 48

      Number of NCAA Tournament games hosted at the Palestra. The first was in 1939 and the most recent was in 1984.

    • 1970

      Year when Penn reached the Elite Eight. The Quakers finished 26-0 in the regular season and won their Ivy League contests by almost 20 points per game. The Red & Blue defeated Duquesne and South Carolina before falling to Big 5 rival Villanova in the East Final. (Villanova later vacated the game due to an ineligible player, so technically Penn finished 28-0.)

    • 3/17/94

      Date of Penn’s last NCAA Tournament win. The 11th-seeded Quakers defeated sixth-seeded Nebraska 90-80 in the First Round in Uniondale, New York. Barry Pierce led the Red & Blue with 25 points and eight rebounds.