This year’s Ivy League race can be summed up very simply: if Harvard does not win, it will be nothing short of a stunning upset. There is more to the league, naturally, but that’s the starting point.
The Crimson’s story has been well-chronicled to date, so there’s no need to go over the details here. They have an embarrassment of riches that no team in the Ivy has had in a long time, and if they do well in non-league play they could be in the conversation for a high NCAA Tournament seed. The Crimson have a number of players who could contend for All-Ivy honors, and their freshmen are good, too, but won’t get enough minutes or enough of a role this year to have a chance at winning the league’s rookie honor like Siyani Chambers did last year.
Looking beyond Harvard, however, there are plenty of storylines. Princeton is probably their best challenger, but really, the race for third should be great – and even for second as any of these teams could potentially topple Princeton along the way. Penn should be much-improved after being young and ravaged by injuries last season, and they add some good newcomers as well. Brown is clearly on the rise under second-year head coach Mike Martin, as the Bears now have an identity and Sean McGonagill has a lot to work with as they have a solid inside tandem of Rafael Maia and Cedric Kuakumensah, the latter of whom won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honors as a freshman last season. Dartmouth has a few good recruiting classes put together now and could be ready to make a leap. Yale could surprise and be in the mix as well, although losing two key guards that they relied on for a lot is reason for pause. The only two teams not likely to be aiming for that spot are rebuilding Columbia and Cornell, the latter of whom may be without their best player this season.
In any normal year, the race in the Ivy would be exciting. There would be a great deal of anticipation for it as the league is in a good place as a whole. But Harvard simply has too much talent and experience, and it wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Crimson rolled through the league undefeated.
Predicted order of finish
Player of the Year: Wesley Saunders, Harvard
Top Newcomer: Anthony Dallier, Yale
T.J. Bray, Sr. G, Princeton
Siyani Chambers, So. G, Harvard
Miles Jackson-Cartwright, Sr. G, Penn
Sean McGonagill, Sr. G, Brown
Wesley Saunders, Jr. G-F, Harvard
No coaching changes were made following last season, in part a product of many coaches being early in their tenure at their school. The dean of coaches is still Yale’s James Jones by a wide margin, as he enters his 15th season at the school.