Penn to Install Video Boards at the Palestra, We Brainstorm Further Ideas for Modernization

Penn to Install Video Boards at the Palestra, We Brainstorm Further Ideas for Modernization

Miss something? See it on replay! Finally...

The University of Pennsylvania announced Monday that its famed Palestra would soon be joining the 21st century thanks to a partnership with ANC Sports Enterprises and the addition of two new "Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision" video boards. According to the University's press release, the new displays will replace the conventional scoreboards mounted on the walls behind each basket.

Thankfully, for those of you worried that the technological advancements might in some way diminish or cheapen the Palestra's famed look, the University has ensured that the update will do its best to preserve "the traditional atmosphere of the venue." Via UPenn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky:

"We are being extremely careful to enhance the game-day environment while not disturbing the integirty of The Palestra, including using technology that is capable of creating a nostalgic feel."

For reference, the boards are described as similar to that of the out-of-town scoreboard at Safeco Field in Seattle. Per the release:

"ANC's unique VisionSOFTTM operating system will enable the displays to mimic the look of the current fixed digit scoreboards, feature in-depth statistical analysis, or dissolve into full-motion video of memorable events which make up The Palestra's storied history. The patented software is also capable of creating the appeal of an old manually turned scoreboard, a unique feature which enabled the Seattle Mariners' out-of-town scoreboard to be named the best in Major League Baseball by ESPN.com."

It really is about time for this sort of addition. Even though it can fun to sit there like a snob and laugh at the people who missed something because they weren't paying attention, there are countless other times when you just want see it again for yourself. Bravo to the University for finding a way to update the Cathedral without compromising its character.

Speaking of which, is there any chance you guys at Penn might want to continue down this path and make a few more not-so-great leaps forward? The
$2-million dollar remodeling project known as "Palestra 2000" did
little to solve any of the building's actual issues, opting instead to
play on the its history by turning the concourse walls into a
mini-museum. As an odd yet semi-relevant aside, doesn't literally everything once-slapped with the suffix "2000" seem outrageously dated now only eleven years later?

For our own pet project—"Palestra 2011"—accepting debit and credit cards seems like a good start. I mean really, if you can figure out the wiring for a 24-foot video board, we shouldn't be totally screwed if we're cash-less. Moreover, while standing in line to pee in the janitor's sink has a certain charm the first few times, it's really just not cool anymore.

Obviously, we realize the building has structural issues that really can't be rectified (there really isn't room for additional bathrooms and the width of the corridors are stuck as they are). I personally should also clarify before I'm criticized as lacking a certain local pride—I love the place. There's absolutely nowhere I'd rather watch a basketball game. Still, as patrons of the arena, lovers of basketball and fans of the Big 5, we all have our hopes for the place moving forward.

If you could change one thing about the Palestra (obviously within reason, given the practical limitations), what would it be?

La Salle pummeled by VCU, 90-52, snapping 5-game streak

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USA Today Images

La Salle pummeled by VCU, 90-52, snapping 5-game streak

RICHMOND, Va. -- Justin Tillman had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead five VCU players in double figures in a 90-52 victory over La Salle on Sunday.

VCU held La Salle to 15 made field goals and forced 16 turnovers.

VCU went on a 19-0 first-half run -- with 11 points from JeQuan Lewis -- for a 38-14 lead and the Rams led 42-16 at halftime after shooting 51.5 percent. Lewis made 5 of 6 shots and had 13 of his 15 points in the first half.

Samir Doughty added 15 points for VCU (15-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10). Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Jordan Burgess scored 10. Tillman was 7 of 10 from the field as the Rams shot 56.5 percent.

Jordan Price and Saul Phiri each scored 11 points for La Salle (11-6, 5-2) and Pookie Powell added 10. It was a season-high for the freshman Phiri but the Explorers were just 15-of-53 shooting (28.3 percent).

The Sixers without Joel Embiid: Still just the Sixers

The Sixers without Joel Embiid: Still just the Sixers

Well, if anyone hoped the Sixers' performance at game's end against Portland on Friday night -- with Joel Embiid riding the bench, ruled out for the game's remainder with a left knee contusion -- would carry over to an entirely Embiid-less game again Saturdaynight... I guess you're not alone, 'coz I sorta did. Perhaps it shouldn't have been particularly surprising to see that the Sixers were still the same team last night in Atlanta they were the previous Saturday against the Wizards: good enough to hang against an above-average East team, but not nearly good enough to actually win. 

At least they kept this one closer longer. Normally, against the Hawks, once the single-digit lead in the first half balloons into the double-digit lead in the third quarter, it never deflates back, but this time we cut it down to seven a couple times -- just never hitting that one big shot that would've really made things interesting, ultimately losing 110-93. It doesn't help that Nik Stauskas is in the midst of one of his most refrigerated runs as a Sixer, going just 7-30 (3-16 from deep) over Philly's last five games, or that Dario Saric is similarly bricking shots near and wide, a remarkable 2 for 22 over his last couple contests. 

This, sadly, is a primary reason why the Sixers' playoff hopes, while fun to dream about, are still unlikely to be more than a flicker. Over the next few weeks, the Sixers have a trio of back-to-backs coming up, with the back-end games coming against Milwaukee, Sacramento and San Antonio -- none of which Philly, 2-12 without their star center, are probable to win sans JoJo. Even if they can take care of business with Embiid on the court, it'll be tough to make up the ground that the Sons of Sam need to while they have to drop one every three or four games as Joel sits. 

That's fine, though. This season's been super-fun, but we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves: Let's ensure Embiid's health, maybe get Ben Simmons out there too, secure a nice draft pick or two (though the plummeting Kings could be of significant help with that themselves), and focus on making next year even more of a thing. The future remains impossibly bright, even if the present is going to have to be borderline-unwatchable once or twice a week.