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AROUND THE IVIES: Men's Basketball Faces Challenging Home Slate

Djuricic and the Dish
Freshman forward Danilo Djuricic scored in double figures both games last weekend. Djuricic is shooting 42.7 percent from the field this season.

We’re going to play a game called ‘Who Said it?’. It’s a pretty simple concept, we’re going to give you a quote and you’re going to guess who said it. Here we go.

“The whole reason why I keep talking about the Eagles is because I feel like it totally translates to what this team is going through.”

Do you have your guess?

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, Philadelphia is home to the Lombardi Trophy. Let that one sink in for a second. This article is being written on a train from Philadelphia following a parade to celebrate the Eagles’ first ever Super Bowl.

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‘Was the quote from Millville, N.J., native and noted Eagles fan Mike Trout? He was at the Super Bowl on Sunday and his Angels team figures to contend for a World Series following a down year last season.’

No on the Trout guess. Millions of people took the streets on a Thursday afternoon when center Jason Kelce delivered an expletive-laden speech about being an underdog. A team that lost three of its top players to injury, was led by a man who was rated the 32nd-best coach in the NFL before the season, and scored two offensive touchdowns between Christmas and the NFC Championship Game brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl, defeating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the process.

‘So, did Villanova coach Jay Wright deliver the quote? His team knows a little bit about knocking off a powerhouse on the big stage and was the last team from the Philadelphia area to have a parade.’

It wasn’t Wright. Philadelphia doesn’t typically win things, but its teams also don’t stink to the point where there are no expectations. Philadelphia sports teams are good at being just good enough for fans to have hope and then they rip your heart out.

In December, it appeared as though the Eagles were well on their way to another season of heartbreak. After leading his team to the best record in football and perhaps an MVP award for himself in the process, second-year quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL in what was perhaps one of the most “Philadelphia” injuries of all-time.

‘Then was the quote from Chester, Pa., native Tyreke Evans, who lost his Memphis Grizzlies teammate Mike Conley to season-ending surgery on his heel late last month?’

Good guess but no. A mere five weeks after Wentz’s backup, Nick Foles, threw for 39 yards in the first half of a 6-0 home loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles were basking in the glory of a Super Bowl while their fans were wreaking havoc on the nation’s fifth-largest city. The whole thing felt surreal. Heck, Rocky, the city’s most iconic sports movie is about a boxer who (spoiler alert) ends up losing. In addition to the game story that it wrote on Monday morning, The New York Times published a piece chronicling how Philadelphia has an identity crisis, going from perennial losers and underdogs to champions during the Eagles’ improbable Super Bowl run. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article about how the Eagles’ run was ushering in a golden era of Philadelphia sports.

What about 76ers coach Brett Brown? Many people think his young team will be the next one from Philadelphia to hoist a trophy.

While he and Eagles coach Doug Pederson are good friends, the quote does not belong to Brown. Let me give you a hint. The person who said the quote plays for a Philadelphia sports team that currently holds a longer win streak than the Eagles. The quote at the beginning of the article comes from Penn junior Jake Silpe, a reserve point guard from Cherry Hill, N.J.

Silpe may not have been your first guess, but his team is hot. In fact, the Penn men’s basketball team is red hot. The Quakers have won four straight contests and are the Ivy League’s last remaining unbeaten team. Penn coach Steve Donahue has orchestrated a renaissance of Quaker basketball quicker than many experts predicted. After four straight losing seasons and an 0-6 start to Ivy League play a season ago, Penn has won 12 of its last 14 Ancient Eight contests. The Quakers came the closest of any Ivy League team to taking down last year’s undefeated Princeton squad and have already beaten the Tigers twice this season and title contender Yale last weekend. Penn is averaging nearly 77 points per contest and has already won nine games decided by nine or fewer points.

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