Ivy League Notebook
Oy Vey! League
This is why you have postseason tournaments in the first place.
With Penn’s 64-48 win over Princeton at the Palestra on March 5, three teams in the Ivy League finished the regular season with 11-3 records: Penn, Princeton and Yale. Now the league must stage a three-team playoff for the first time in it’s 46-year history.
(Useless trivia: According to ivyleaguesports.com, the last time a team other than Penn or Princeton was involved in any kind of Ivy playoff was March 5, 1968 when Columbia knocked off Penn, 92-74, in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Hah! Take that, Trebek!)
Princeton will face Yale at the Palestra on Thursday night, March 6. The winner will take on Penn on Saturday at neutral-site Lafayette. To the victor gets the dancecard. Penn wins the privelage of a first-round bye due to its 3-1 collective record against Yale and Princeton.
In the Princeton-Penn contest on March 5, Andrew Toole netted 19 points for the Quakers and Ungonna Onyekwe added 16. The losing Tigers were lead by Ahmed El-Nokali’s 18 points.
Who to Watch: Yale-Princeton
The Bulldogs’ Paul Vitelli is the Ivy’s leading rebounder (9 rpg). Vitelli gets help from big man TJ McHugh (5.4 rgp). Both must control the “ugly underneath” and not allow any easy interior buckets – a Princeton specialty. Guards Edwin Draughan and Alex Gamboa are both scoring just over 11 points a game and Gamboa shoots around 44% from behind the arc.
Princeton’s forwards do most of their scoring, but guard Ahmed Al-Nokali has tremendous quickness and endurance and, although he didn’t score a lot this season, the Pittsburgh native had a fine showing in the recent loss to Penn. The Tigers frontcourt of Mike Bechtold (team’s leading scorer at 9.3 ppg), Andre Logan and Konrad Wysocki also don’t put up big numbers, but in John Thompson’s offense, everyone is a solid contributor.
The Rubber Match
Thursday’s Yale-Princeton playoff will be a score-settler. Yale defeated the Tigers on Feb. 9, 60-50, but on Feb. 22, Princeton got revenge, 59-46.
Yikes. I hate doing these. Oh, the pressure! Yale has too much inside and that should be the equalizer. The Bulldogs have their best chance to go to the dance this year and aren’t about to waste this opportunity. Go with the Elis. (Alternative nickname)