CBI worth the effort for Penn

Posted: March 16, 2012

PENN PLAYED at home in Wednesday's first round of the CBI tournament. The Quakers (20-10) will also be walking to the Palestra for their next game, Monday night against Butler (21-14), the two-time defending NCAA runner-up.

The university had to come up with the money to be the host site - reportedly, about $35,000 for the first game and $45,000 for the second.

Athletic director Steve Bilsky thought it was worth the investment so he sought out help from private sources. And they came through big-time.

"It's just our way of showing a commitment to [coach] Jerome [Allen] and the guys," Bilsky said. "So we reached out to some of our supporters to help subsidize it and they were great. We had like seven or eight people step up. That's always been a Penn tradition."

Even though the crowd was only a little more than 1,000 for the Quakers' 74-63 win over Quinnipiac, Penn didn't lose money. Bilsky hopes Penn can at least double the attendance with a name opponent coming in.

Butler advanced with a 75-58 win over Delaware.

"I don't know if [Butler's] ever been to Philadelphia," Bilsky said. "I know their coach [Brad Stevens] was talking about coming to the Palestra, which I think is sincere. If we get 2,500 it sounds like 5,000. And it's on TV [HDNet] so we'll get some national exposure.

"I don't care who you are, you have to pause when you make these kind of commitments. Again, it's not coming out of anyone's budget. So it's not like it would have gone to some other cause. I think [the supporters] felt very good about the team this year and were appreciative of the effort and results. That's not to say they wouldn't have done it for other teams.

"It's unchartered territory. And people have options. As much as many think they have money to give, they're also the type that give to a lot of things. So it's nice that it would work out like this."

In Monday's other quarterfinals, Princeton will travel to Pittsburgh, Wyoming will travel to Washington State and TCU will travel to Oregon State. The TCU-Oregon State game will air on HDNet after the Penn-Butler game.

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