Ivy League Basketball Tournament to be held at Calhoun's house
March 26, 2018 at 11:58 pm
The men and women’s Ivy League basketball tournaments are leaving the Palestra.
After two years of league-wide complaints surrounding the inadequacy of the Palestra and the home-court advantage it gives Penn, the Ancient Eight’s biggest events will be relocating to Penn Athletic Director M. Grace Calhoun’s house.
Many coaches around the conference were excited about the new, completely neutral venue.
“I love it,” said Princeton women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart. “That old barn has so much great history. Whether it’s her now-relevant Loyola-Chicago memorabilia, her extensive collection of identical red suits or her husband's golf stuff, Calhoun’s house is undoubtedly the best possible venue for our conference.”
“The biggest thing for me is the fan experience,” remarked Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker. “The view from the Calhoun family’s sofa is tremendous, and the upper level puts you literally right on top of the action.”
Not everyone was thrilled, however, citing the unusual court layout.
“They had to make the baskets a bit smaller in order to fit in the living room; so it’s actually pretty hard for the basketball to fit through the hoop now,” said Penn senior guard Lauren Whitlatch. “Plus, having them on top of the door frames makes it really hard to shoot threes.”
Penn men’s coach Steve Donahue seemed to have a more open-minded outlook. “At the end of the day, it’s just basketball. Both teams have to play on the same court,” he said. “But when the kitchen island is right in the middle of the paint, it hurts our guys’ ability to play the inside-out game that we like to play.”
“I’ll admit that it’s annoying,” added sophomore forward AJ Brodeur. “But like Coach said, whether it’s a guy like [Harvard’s Seth] Towns or that island, you just have to find a way to get past the defender that’s in your way.”
The kitchen island declined to comment.
One Penn student particularly disagreed with the change in location. “The Palestra was the perfect place for the tournaments. It’s a historic arena. It’s the cathedral of college basketball!” exclaimed College freshman Aaron Butcher. “How can you say that the Palestra gave Penn a ‘home-court advantage?’ I mean, Harvard was technically the home team in the final.”
Butcher, who would call himself a “stan” of Penn basketball, has spent the last five months intensely performing data analytics based on the statistics of each game. “By the way, how unfair was it that the Kansas game was in Kansas, am I right? I mean, it was totally rigged. We didn’t have a chance out there.”
Ultimately, the consensus across the Ivy League is that the change in venue is for the better. For the first time, the Ivy tournaments’ national television exposure will showcase the conference’s best teams on its greatest stage without an unfair advantage.
“The Palestra just brought Penn too much of a home-court advantage,” stated Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. “We’ve solved finally that by relocating the tournaments to the Penn’s Athletic Director’s personal residence.”
The Ivy League will continue to host the event during the spring breaks of its eight universities, but student attendance is sure to increase now that the tournaments are being held in suburban Philadelphia.