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2014-15 Ivy League Post-Mortem

by - Published July 16, 2015 in Columns, Conference Notes
ivy

The old phrase “What a difference a year makes” normally has positive connotations. For the Ivy League following the 2014-15 season, however, the opposite would be true. At a time when the league appeared to be in a big up cycle, the rise didn’t quite continue this season.

There was very good basketball in the Ivy League, to be sure. Harvard and Yale set the pace with good non-league showings, with the Bulldogs pulling out the league’s signature victory at UConn in December. The middle of the pack was pretty good – perhaps better than one might have expected given the adversity some teams faced. But there’s no two ways about it: the league went from five postseason teams in 2013-14 to just two this time around. And while postseason bids is a very imperfect way to measure a league, it’s certainly one way to do it.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, March 11, 2015

by - Published March 11, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-cyan

Robert Morris is the type of small eastern private school that fits in so perfectly in the college basketball landscape, one that every so often comes out of nowhere and makes some noise, adding a little bit of spice and a lot of charm to the sport.

Two years ago, the school made considerable noise in the NIT when it defeated Kentucky in a first round game. Tuesday night, though, the Colonials may as well have been Kentucky, for the role of villain they took on in the Northeast Conference championship game.

Robert Morris defeated sentimental favorite St. Francis (N.Y.) 66-63 in the NEC final, yet again depriving the Terriers of their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. By now the story has been well worn: St. Francis is one of five original Division I members to never make the tourney since that level was born in 1939. And it might feel like there is a glass ceiling on those teams after the last two days, as William & Mary also lost in the CAA final Monday night for the second straight year.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Saturday, February 28, 2015

by - Published February 28, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The Ivy League race is even better now, and on a pretty good night for several players, too. At least one player posted a double-double in all but one game on the evening, but that’s not the biggest news coming out of Friday night.

The New York schools are playing spoiler. Less than a week after Columbia went into New Haven and beat Yale to knock the Bulldogs a game back of first place, Cornell hosted Harvard and snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Crimson. Neither team put on a clinic at the offensive end in Ithaca, but Harvard finished just over 25 percent in a 57-49 loss. Cornell was led by Shonn Miller, who missed all of last season due to injury and is reminding people how good he was two seasons ago, as he had 24 points and 15 rebounds to get the better of Wesley Saunders, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Harvard.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Sunday, November 23, 2014

by - Published November 23, 2014 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-orange

The weekend has featured several instances of something we don’t see often: BCS conference (or Group of Five, or whatever term you want to use) teams taking to the road against good non-BCS teams.

In the past two days, four teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last year went on the road to face non-BCS teams. For those who have paid attention to this sort of thing over the years, the results of these games were not surprising.

… Continue Reading

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.

… Continue Reading

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.

… Continue Reading

Princeton Tigers 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 6, 2013 in Conference Notes
princeton

Princeton Tigers (17-11 overall, 10-4 league)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G T.J. Bray
Jr. G Clay Wilson
Jr. F Denton Koon
So. F Hans Brase
Sr. F Will Barrett

Important departures:

F Ian Hummer (16.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.3 spg) is the only full-time starter gone from last season’s team, although part-time starting G Brendan Connolly (3.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg) has also departed.

Returning:

63.3 percent of scoring and 57.1 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Henry Caruso
Fr. F Steven Cook
Fr. C Pete Miller
Fr. F Hashim Moore
Fr. G Khyan Rayner
Fr. F Spencer Weisz

Schedule Highlights:

The Tigers have six home games in non-league play, featuring visits from Patriot League contender Lafayette and George Mason. The biggest road games are at Butler, Rutgers and Penn State, all of which are winnable games. They also play Pacific and Portland at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. They get tested right away in Ivy League play, as the first three games are all on the road and none will be easy: Penn, Harvard and Dartmouth. Later, they play four straight at home as part of a season-ending stretch with five of seven in Jadwin Gymnasium.

Projected finish and outlook:

In any normal year, this Princeton team would have some people pick them to win and not look crazy for it. The Tigers have a solid veteran crew that should absorb the loss of Hummer far better than just about any other team in the league would, and he’s not a small loss. Barrett is highly skilled and has steadily developed, and now it’s his time to shine up front. Koon and Brase, the latter of whom had a good freshman season, help solidify that unit along with some depth that will get a boost from freshmen. Bray and Wilson lead the perimeter, and they also get senior Jimmy Sherburne back after missing last season due to injury. If someone emerges to provide depth there they should be better off. Bray is one of the league’s best players and yet can still be considered underrated as well. The toughest challenge will be getting past Harvard, and while they have had success against the Crimson in Jadwin Gym this year will be a little tougher.

Next: Yale Bulldogs

Back to Ivy League Preview

Another Ivy League showdown is on the way

by - Published February 24, 2013 in Columns
harvard

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The stage is set for another showdown on Friday night. Two familiar foes in recent years will meet in Jadwin Gym with first place in the Ivy League on the line, and that’s pretty much what was expected all along. The only question was the teams’ records coming in, and they will remain separated by a game in the loss column after Harvard pulled out a 72-66 win at Yale on Saturday night.

Princeton took care of their end of the bargain by blasting Cornell a night after they took care of Columbia. With the late start in New Haven, this was known well before the game was over. It was just a question of whether or not Harvard would hold up its end and head to Princeton with one league loss or two.

… Continue Reading

Young Harvard takes the first Ivy League showdown

by - Published February 17, 2013 in Columns
harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Round one of the Ivy League battle for the top went to the home team, as tends to happen. Harvard, a young team that has grown up a lot during the season, used a big second half to knock off Princeton 69-57 and go up by a game in the all-important loss column. While they played like a championship-caliber team, Harvard knows a lot of basketball is still left to be played. With that, as well as the past as a guide, Harvard will take nothing for granted right now.

Ivy League play is just past the halfway point, but already is looks like it will once again be a two-team race between the teams that battled in Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday night. Both entered the night two games up in the loss column over everyone else in the league. That’s not the case now and not just because of this game’s result, as Cornell also won to go to 5-3, a game behind Princeton in the loss column for second place. Cornell has come to life in Ivy League play after some struggles in non-league play, but there’s every reason to think this will come down to Harvard and Princeton.

… Continue Reading

Relief: Harvard gets past Princeton in the big game

by - Published February 25, 2012 in Columns
harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – This was no ordinary game for Harvard. This was a game against a challenger to their lead in the Ivy League, even if it was a team that sits two games back in the loss column and thus needs help. More importantly, it was against the team that has been a thorn in their side of late, and that includes this season as their only league loss came less than two weeks earlier on the road against this team. It was against the team whose heart-breaking defeat of them led to a constant mention of a simple number all season: 2.8.

And when Harvard walked off the court with a hard-fought 67-64 win over Princeton, the feelings about this one were not like the feelings after any other win.

… Continue Reading

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