With only four games to play, five Ivy teams have a good shot of finishing the season with a winning record. Unfortunately for Columbia, the bad computer numbers, lack of quality wins and disappointing conference record will keep the Lions off the court in mid-March. For the league”s top half, let”s take a look at what could be in store after the final Ivy weekend:
Harvard: The Crimson remain heavy favorites to win the league outright. A sweep at home this weekend would virtually end all doubt regarding Harvard”s ultimate March destination. A split that includes a victory over Penn would probably do the trick too. IHO says: The Crimson are headed to the Big Dance.
Penn: The 15-11 (7-2) Quakers have a pretty comparable profile to the second-placed Princeton team from 2010. Those Tigers (RPI #133) finished 20-8 with a significantly weaker strength of schedule as this year”s Quakers and were invited to the CBI, where they knocked off Duquesne and IUPUI before falling to Saint Louis. This Penn team is on track to finish in second in a significantly better league, has better computer numbers (RPI #108) , a Top 100 win in the victory over Saint Joe”s, and the draw of one of the country”s best point guards in Zack Rosen. If you”re a Penn fan with NIT hopes, you may be out
of luck. Last year”s NIT at-large selections had an average RPI of 67 with Nebraska squeezing in with the worst RPI at #89. The CBI, on the other hand, took teams with an average RPI of 119 last year. While the CBI is a bit more unpredictable with the pay-to-play format, Penn still seems like a good fit as a road team, or even a home team if they”re willing to put up the cash. IHO says: Zack Rosen and the Quakers will play on into March in the CBI.
Princeton: The Tigers have the best computer numbers of any non-Harvard team in this year”s league (RPI #98, KenPom #114). Winning three of their last four would put Princeton in a pretty good position to be invited to a postseason tournament. The profile is good enough for a CBI or CIT invite thanks to the three top 100 wins (Buffalo, at FSU, and Harvard) and Princeton has already shown that they”re willing to pay to host a game in a lesser tournament as they did in the CBI in 2010. Even an NIT bid isn”t necessarily out of reach if Princeton can finish strong and get some help from one-bid conference regular season champions winning their tournaments and limiting the NIT auto bids that go to regular season conference champs. IHO says: Hummer and Davis lead Princeton to the postseason again, though this time, it”s a CIT home game.
Yale: Three more wins would get the Bulldogs to 20 wins. Last year, only two teams in the nation got to 20 wins and did not get invited to a postseason tournament (American U and North Texas). For Yale, it”s been 10 years since Edwin Draughan scored 15 points to lead the Bulldogs to an NIT victory over Rutgers, and with archrival Harvard”s recent surge, it would be surprising to see the Bulldogs not take advantage of a chance to play into mid-March, even if it”s a pay-to-play situation. If they can win three, there”s a very real chance they get an invite from the CBI or CIT. However, the C”s and the P”s await. Winning three is asking a lot. IHO says: Yale should not have taken off for Spring Break so quickly last year, as a 2-3 finish it its last five may keep them barely out of the postseason.
We”ll check in again with the four Ivy postseason hopefuls again after this weekend”s games.