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Details: Hoops in Philly

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

GETTING THERE: Philadelphia is about a 2 1/2 -hour drive up Interstate 95. Round-trip Amtrak tickets start at $84, while fares on Greyhound go for $43 and up.

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TICKETS: Philly loves its basketball, which means getting tickets can be hit-or-miss. For instance, the highly anticipated Villanova-St. Joseph's game Monday at the Palestra is sold out. But with Temple, La Salle and Penn experiencing down years, other choice matchups have tickets available, such as -- at press time, at least -- the Princeton-Penn game on Feb. 12. These Ivy League powers played their first game on Feb. 15, 1903; a display at the Palestra calls it "the greatest college rivalry."

Tickets usually run $15 to $20 and can be ordered online. Most teams will continue playing regular-season games until the first week of March.

* Temple: The Owls play at the Liacouras Center (North Broad and Cecil B. Moore streets); among the remaining home games are Massachusetts (Feb. 10), Rhode Island (Feb. 13) and Duquesne (March 5). Info: 215-204-8499, http://owlsports.cstv.com.

* Villanova: The Wildcats' home games at its on-campus arena are sold out, but the team has two good upcoming games -- against Connecticut (Feb. 23) and Marquette (Feb. 25) -- that will be played at the much-larger Wachovia Center (3601 S. Broad St.). Tickets are $25 and $35. Info: 610-519-4100, http://villanova.cstv.com.

* La Salle: The Explorers play at the on-campus Gola Arena (1900 W. Olney Ave.); remaining home games include Duquesne (Feb. 9), Dayton (Feb. 21) and Temple (March 8). Info: 215-951-1999, http://goexplorers.cstv.com.

* Penn: The Quakers play, of course, at the Palestra, on campus on West 33rd Street between Walnut and Spruce streets. In addition to the Princeton matchup, some of the home games remaining include Harvard (Feb. 1), Dartmouth (Feb. 2), Yale (Feb. 16) and Columbia (March 8). Info: 215-898-6151, http://www.pennathletics.com.

* St. Joseph's: The Hawks play at the on-campus Alumni Fieldhouse (5600 City Ave.); home games remain against, among others, St. Louis (Feb. 28) and Xavier (March 6), in addition to a March 2 date with Temple at the Palestra. Info: 610-660-1712, http://sjuhawks.cstv.com.

WHERE TO STAY: There are lots of lodging options in Philadelphia, many of them high-priced. I paid about $130 for a night at the Best Western Center City (501 N. 22nd St., 215-568-8300, http://www.bestwestern.com), not fancy but adequate and close to the campuses of Penn, Temple and La Salle.

INFORMATION: For other lodging and activity options, contact the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (215-636-3300, http://www.philadelphiaUSA.travel). -- T.W.


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