With just one week to play, we”re bringing back a feature that seemed to be much more relevant last season when a record four Ivy League squads played in the postseason. (In case you”ve forgotten, Harvard went dancing last year, falling by 9 to Vanderbilt in Albuquerque, while Penn and Princeton both won one game in the CBI before bowing out in the quarters. Yale was eliminated in the first round
of the CIT.) This season, it seems far more likely that we will see only two teams qualify for the postseason, though four teams technically remain alive going into this weekend. Yes, Brown and Columbia can still make the postseason if they reach .500, and there are 68 (NCAA) 32 (NIT) 16 (CBI) 32 (CIT) = 140 spots in this year”s four postseason tournaments. Let”s dive in.
Princeton (9-2, 16-9), RPI: 113, 2-3 vs. Top 100: Princeton has the inside track to the NCAA bid. The most recent projections from Andy Glockner at SI.com and Joe Lunardi at ESPN.com have the Tigers as either a 14 or 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If Princeton stumbles in its final three road games and ends up losing the bid to Harvard, the Tigers will probably head back to the CBI for the second straight year. Prediction: Princeton takes care of business and grabs a 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Harvard (9-3, 17-9), RPI: 97, 1-5 vs. Top 100: With two very winnable home games coming up, Harvard should be able to take care of business on the final weekend. The Crimson need help though to get to a playoff for the NCAA bid. Folks in Cambridge will be in the odd position of rooting for Old Blue on Friday, hoping the Bulldogs can earn a season sweep of Princeton. If Princeton wins out, it looks like Harvard will fall short of returning to the NIT, which they were bounced from in Round 1 at Oklahoma State in 2011. Prediction: Results hold and Harvard heads to the CBI.
Brown (6-6, 12-14), RPI: 232, 1-3 vs. Top 100: The Bears have won three in a row to get to .500 in the league and within a final weekend sweep of .500 on the year. The computer numbers aren”t good, but the wins over Providence and Niagara are, and the up-and-coming, exciting Bears are exactly the kind of team that these lower-tier tournaments look for to fill out their fields. The CBI”s lowest rated squad last season was Washington State at RPI #184; the CIT, on the other hand, included RPI #246 Toledo. Prediction: Pomeroy currently gives the Bears a 16.5% chance of sweeping this weekend. If Brown rides the momentum and pulls it off, the Bears will be CIT-bound with a 3rd place Ivy finish in hand.
Columbia (4-8, 12-14), RPI: 266, 2-1 vs. Top 100: Columbia, despite all the painful losses this year, still is within reach of a .500 season. Also, that 2-1 mark against the Top 100 speaks volumes about what this team was capable of, but that”s a story for another day. Even if underachieving Columbia gets to .500 with a sweep, they will have a bad RPI, a losing conference record, and a pretty uninspired fan base. Prediction: Pomeroy gives the Lions a 10.2% chance of earning a road sweep. Even then, Columbia would probably miss out on a top half Ivy finish at 6-8. I don”t think that”s enough for a CIT bid (but it”s close).