Penn Basketball in the Big 5

I always knew my born-and-raised-Philly father would’ve loved for me to go to Villanova or Penn State, so that he could cheer with me at packed sporting events in gorgeous stadiums broadcasted on ESPN. To both of our surprises, UPenn actually has all of those things.

The Palestra, or as some call it, The Cathedral of College Basketball, is as beautiful and historic of a stadium as you can imagine. It’s the oldest college stadium still in use and has hosted more NCAA games than any other facility since its opening in 1927.

Penn basketball plays in two main divisions: The Ivy League and the Big 5. A huge Villanova fan, my father was thrilled that I chose a school in Philadelphia’s Big 5 division (Penn, Villanova, Temple, St. Joe’s and LaSalle), even though it wasn’t Nova.

My dad and I have been to many Penn basketball games, but by far the most memorable was the Penn v. Villanova game this past December. As big sports fans, we were excited to see the talented Villanova team play; however, our own Quakers shocked everyone, pulling out a 78-75 win over Nova. I remember storming the court with the other students as my dad cheered from the stands. For weeks afterwards, I bragged to my friends for the following weeks that I had been at the game. Penn won the Big 5 tournament this year, breaking Villanova’s 25 game win streak in the Big 5.

Sports probably isn’t the first thing people think of when the University of Pennsylvania comes to mind, but school spirit definitely is a huge part of the Penn community. Alumni of all ages attend basketball games, dressed proudly in a “Class of __” sweatshirts. Don’t be surprised when you see me twenty years from now in my ’21 shirt, screaming loudly for our Quakers.

-Kaitlyn B, C’21