NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor/reporter Amy Fadool and senior producer Sean Kane get you set for all the weekend's local college basketball games with Fastbreak Friday. With the regular season ending this weekend, this will be the final Fastbreak Friday column of the season.
Temple (16-13, 8-9 AAC) at Tulsa (18-11, 11-6 AAC), Sunday at 3 p.m.
AF: It’s been a rough season for the Temple Owls. Yes, there was that win over ranked Wichita State in the middle of a 5-game win streak. But after the stumbles down the stretch, that seems like a distant memory.
Of course, the bad can be washed away with an AAC tournament run, but first, the Owls need to close out on the road against Tulsa.
Given their track record on the road, things don’t line up well for Fran Dunphy’s crew. Plus, it’s dollar dog, dollar soda and dollar popcorn night at Tulsa. That’s a delicious trifecta.
But there is still some fight in this team. Quintin Rose and Shizz Alston have been everything the Owls have needed, and throw in Nate Pierre-Louis and you have a nice core back for next season.
Temple 71, Tulsa 70
Pennsylvania (21-7, 11-1 Ivy) at Yale (14-14, 7-5 Ivy), Friday at 7 p.m.
Pennsylvania (21-7, 11-1 Ivy) at Brown (11-14, 4-8 Ivy), Saturday at 6 p.m.
SK: Penn enters the final weekend of the regular season in control of its own destiny. If the Quakers beat Yale and Brown on the road they'll win their first Ivy League championship since 2007 and earn the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which will be played at the Palestra next weekend. It all adds up to Penn having the inside track to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years.
This seems like an appropriate time to salute the job done by head coach Steve Donahue. In just his third season at Penn, he has the Quakers poised to reclaim top billing in the Ivy League. He inherited a team that finished 9-19 in the 2014-2015 season and promptly began a swift rebuilding project. Penn went 11-17 in Donahue's first season, 13-14 in his second year, and now stand at 21-7 overall and 11-1 in conference play. Look for those winning ways to continue this weekend and for Donahue and company to do some celebrating.
Penn 73, Yale 66
Penn 69, Brown 60
La Salle (13-17, 7-10 A-10) at St. Joseph's (14-15, 9-8 A-10), Saturday at 2 p.m.
SK: La Salle and St. Joe's will each try to keep the good times rolling heading into next week's A-10 Tournament. La Salle has won three of its last four games, including a convincing 18-point win over Dayton earlier this week. St. Joseph's meanwhile has a 5-1 record in its last six games and just recorded arguably one of the most stunning victories of this college basketball season.
The Hawks went on the road and beat No. 18 Rhode Island, 78-48, on Tuesday, spoiling the Rams' senior night in the process. It was the first road win over a ranked team for St. Joseph's since 1979 and it came in shockingly easy fashion. I expect the Hawks to build on that momentum this weekend and avenge a three-point loss to La Salle earlier this season.
St. Joseph's 74, La Salle 68
Drexel (12-19, 6-12 CAA) at James Madison (10-21, 6-12 CAA), Saturday at 4 p.m. in first round of CAA Tournament
AF: The Dragons' season has been marked with highs and lows. While it may seem like a marginal improvement — with 12 wins to their credit compared to nine last season — they did double their conference win total.
Also, Drexel beat the top two teams in the CAA this season as well as set an NCAA Division-I record for the largest comeback ever when they erased a 34-point deficit against Delaware.
But the Dragons did have two separate losing streaks that would cause any coach to lose sleep, one of five straight and the other of four straight losses.
Drexel begins the quest for its first-ever CAA tournament title against JMU, then Charleston awaits on basically home turf. Go ahead and make it a baker’s dozen, Dragons.
Drexel 76, JMU 74
Sean Kane: 30-11
Amy Fadool: 22-21