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2013-14 Ivy League Post-Mortem

by - Published May 5, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
ivy

As good as the 2013-14 season was in the Ivy League, it might be just the beginning of a great stretch for the league. The results were great, and there is a lot to be optimistic about going forward.

Harvard won the league as expected, then beat Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament. For the first time since Princeton in 1983-84, an Ivy League team has won an NCAA Tournament game in consecutive years. The Crimson were basically prohibitive favorites, and while Yale was able to hang around late, the Crimson were never behind in the standings.

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Cornell’s future can only be better

by - Published March 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
cornell

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – There are still two games left, but Cornell’s 2013-14 season will be ending after them. There won’t be any postseason play, and the only possible drama – that of whether or not the Big Red would win a Division I game this season – was removed two weeks ago when they beat Dartmouth. So at this point, maybe a look ahead is warranted, because this season will go down as one to forget.

The season was already going to be a tough one before it began. They had already lost a lot from a year earlier just from the senior class. In addition, Shonn Miller, their best player, suffered a shoulder injury late last year that had not healed well, and redshirting was possible. As the season is almost over, we know that has happened. They lost two more starters they didn’t expect to as well, so this team was basically starting over.

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Harvard freshman big man is simply impressive

by - Published February 8, 2014 in Columns
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Zena Edosomwan has a way of impressing you. The best thing about it can probably be best summed up by a teammate who has a little in common with him, and it doesn’t just apply to this context.

“When he gets in the game, he just plays, and I think he just does it naturally,” said junior guard Wesley Saunders, who like Edosomwan hails from California.

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Brown isn’t quite ready to win a game like this

by - Published February 8, 2014 in Columns
brown

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Brown gave it all they had against the Ivy League favorites. Lack of effort wasn’t the problem, and talent-wise they might not have been far off. They had their chances, and head coach Mike Martin noted that several times in addition to the reality that they didn’t convert enough of their chances. That’s really what this came down to in one sense.

But in another sense, this was a battle of a young team against a veteran team that has won a lot of games on the latter’s home court. And that is not one this Brown team is ready to win just yet, their 52-45 setback at Harvard serving as the evidence.

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Penn is not greater than the sum of their parts

by - Published February 2, 2014 in Columns
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Jerome Allen didn’t have to look far to see what he would probably like this team to become on Saturday night. The unfortunate thing is that it was the team wearing the other jerseys that fit the description.

“They’re a pretty solid team, Harvard,” Allen said after the Crimson thrashed his Quakers by a score of 80-50. “They play probably the best brand of selfless basketball in our league.”

Harvard has the best combination of talent, experience and intangibles in the Ivy League. Still, a big reason for the Crimson’s success is that they are bigger than the sum of their parts. Penn, on the other hand, is decidedly not, and that’s the problem.

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Princeton is already in a deep hole

by - Published February 1, 2014 in Columns
princeton

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – It’s early yet, but already Princeton needs help. After losing 82-76 at Harvard on Friday night, the Tigers are in a hole that will be very difficult to climb out of.

The final score of the game showed a six-point margin, but the game wasn’t quite that close. In a similar vein, the Tigers’ Ivy League record shows 0-2, but the Tigers are in more trouble than you might think. It might be early to talk about this, but the Tigers already don’t control their own destiny.

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How the conferences shake out as 2014 approaches

by - Published December 31, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
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Non-conference play is just about over at this point. Conference games are ready to take over the rest of the slate, with a few having an “opening day” of sorts, including the Big East with its well-publicized day of five games on Tuesday. A few have already had early conference games, with the West Coast Conference having its opening day on Saturday.

How are the conferences shaping up? Which ones look like we thought and which ones look nothing like what we thought before the season? Here is a look at all 32 conferences as conference play beckons.

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Dartmouth may not be just a young and promising team anymore

by - Published December 19, 2013 in Columns
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DURHAM, N.H. – Dartmouth may be ready to turn a corner and not just be a young, promising team anymore. The latest evidence came on Wednesday night, when they lost a lead they held for a while and answered right back with a game-changing 12-0 run to take the lead for good, and then later put away an opponent on the road.

“In the past, when teams would make a run and come back, we would collapse,” said junior forward Gabas Maldunas, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds in their 62-48 win at New Hampshire. “We didn’t have the leadership on the court to help us get through the comeback.”

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Brown’s young talent needs time to grow

by - Published November 29, 2013 in Columns
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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Brown reaches Thanksgiving with a 4-2 record, with both games that they lost being right there for the taking. They had Providence on the ropes before succumbing, and had early leads and chances down the stretch Wednesday before losing 70-67 at Bryant. In all, what’s clear is that this team has talent and can win games, but has a lot of room to grow that manifests itself primarily in a need to put forth a more complete and consistent effort.

The Bears have a younger team than they expected to enter the season with due to the departures of Andrew McCarthy and Tucker Halpern. They expected to have both, with the former coming back after sitting out last season, but neither has returned. That leaves them younger up front, especially on the wing, and in all they are looking for younger players to come through, notably two freshmen starters.

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Harvard uses its depth to overcome injuries early on

by - Published November 22, 2013 in Columns
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – As Harvard gets ready for a big stretch, the Crimson have lived up to expectations in a couple of respects thus far. They are 4-0 after handling Bryant on Wednesday night 86-68 in a manner similar to how Bryant dispatched Vermont a few nights earlier. They are also utilizing the depth they have, albeit perhaps not in the manner or for reasons they had hoped before the season.

Come game time, Harvard doesn’t have the depth right now that they were thought to before the season. Kenyatta Smith and Brandyn Curry are both out, taking one away from both the frontcourt and backcourt. This team has absorbed those losses about as well as one would expect, and that’s where their depth has come in. They are hopeful of getting Curry back at Colorado, while Smith’s left foot remains in a boot and thus he won’t be coming back anytime soon.

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Your Phil of Hoops

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bostonuniversity

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hofstra

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cornell

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Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

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