Ironically, Penn did not even win the Ivy League title in 1963, losing to a Princeton team led by sophomore Bill Bradley.1 Even though Penn lost the Ivy League title to their arch-nemesis, the Big 5 title purged Penn of any shortcomings whatsoever. As Daily Pennsylvanian columnist David Katzman explained when reviewing the 1963 year in Penn sports, “The biggest surprise was Penn’s not winning an Ivy League basketball title, but gaining a…Big Five Crown.” Penn’s Big 5 title satisfied all fans, and instantly transformed what would otherwise be an uneventful, if not disappointing season, into a season in which the University could take great pride.
1. Opponents in the Ivy League, John Wideman and Bill Bradley actually played together while studying at Oxford. There was no nearby court, so Bradley would ride on the back of Wideman’s motorcycle to a nearby US air base.