Ivy Postseason Possibilities

Five Ivy teams have a shot at postseason basketball. Who's going to land where and who's going to get left out in the cold?
Five Ivy teams have a shot at postseason basketball. Who’s going to land in which tournament and who’s going to get left out in the cold?

With two weekends remaining, a record five Ivy teams have a shot at reaching the postseason. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, and Princeton all look like they’ll finish the season with a winning overall record. I’ve done some initial research to see what kind of chance each team has at securing a bid to a March tournament based on the CBI and CIT teams selected in the past two years. Let’s break it down.

The CBI (College Basketball Invitational) is a 16-team single-elimination tournament until the championship, which consists of a best-of-three series at the homes of the finalists. Penn and Princeton participated in the 2012 CBI and both advanced to the second round before bowing out.

2013 CBI Invitees KenPom RPI
AVERAGE Rating for CBI Teams

127

125

Worst Rated Team Invited

187

197

Best Rated Team Invited

61

71

 

2012 CBI KenPom RPI
AVERAGE Rating for CBI Teams

134

132

Worst Rated Team Invited

192

184

Best Rated Team Invited

68

82

Meanwhile, the CIT (CollegeInsider.com Tournament) is a 32-team single elimination tournament that is targeted toward mid-major squads. To be eligible for the CIT, a team must have a .500 record or better. Yale participated in the 2012 CIT, losing to Fairfield in the first round.

2013 CIT KenPom RPI
AVERAGE Rating for CIT Teams

162

149

Worst Rated Team Invited

242

227

Best Rated Team Invited

71

80

 

2012 CIT KenPom RPI
AVERAGE Rating for CIT Teams

156

142

Worst Rated Team Invited

254

246

Best Rated Team Invited

88

71

Now let’s take a look at how our 2014 Ivy postseason candidates stack up against this data.

2014 Ivy KenPom RPI
Harvard

42

52

Yale

154

132

Columbia

117

137

Brown

156

228

Princeton

110

147

Harvard: If they don’t win the league title, the Crimson will almost certainly be headed to the NIT since they’d have to take at least two “bad” losses (one in New Haven, one at a neutral site playoff). These results would push them off of the NCAA bubble, but into a strong seed on the road to MSG.

Yale: The Bulldogs would be a low-end selection for the CBI, but their rankings are in the ballpark. Given the team’s recent history with the CIT and the tournament’s penchant for selecting mid-majors, Yale seems likely to wind up on the road in the CIT if the Bulldogs can win one or two more games.

Columbia: If Columbia can win two of their last four, the Lions are just the type of team that these tournaments want in their field: an up-and-coming young squad that has a fired-up fan base and the full support of its athletic department. I expect a CIT home game for Columbia if they get to 8-6, and a road game if they struggle down the stretch and finish at 7-7.

Brown: The Bears are a tough case here. On one hand, they are also an up-and-coming team with a good young coach. On the other hand, they’ve played an embarrassingly easy schedule and have no Top 100 wins. The soft schedule has tanked the RPI ranking (#228), which is lower than any team invited to either tournament last year. If Brown finishes strong with a win against Harvard on Senior Night at the Pizz, the Bears may play their way into the CIT. Otherwise, I don’t think they get an invite.

Princeton: For the Tigers, there are two questions. Will they earn an invite? And if so, will they accept it? Last year, Princeton declined a postseason invite after collapsing in the season’s final weekend. This season, that collapse came at the beginning of the season, but you’d have to think the Tigers would want this squad’s young non-Bray nucleus to get more experience in March. With Princeton’s history and connections to the CBI, it seems likely that we’ll see the Tigers there for the second time in three years.

4 thoughts on “Ivy Postseason Possibilities

  1. The Tigers play three of the teams with which they are “competing” for a post-season opportunity, Yale (tonight at home), Brown (tomorrow night at home) and Columbia(next Saturday on the road). Princeton has lost to Yale and Columbia, by 1 point in each game, and has defeated the Bears in Providence. No one can be surprised if Princeton wins 4 of their last 5. As noted above, the Tigers’ CBI connections are quite deep. Turning down an invitation last year was disappointing for many people close to the program and won’t happen again. The bigger question is whether the athletic administration will spring for a home game. One hopes that Gary Walters has enough clout as a lame duck AD to pull it off. Two years ago the Tigers schlepped to Evansville, somewhere in the mid-west I think, and then to Pittsburgh. Mitch Henderson got 20 wins and Doug Davis scored enough to reach 2nd on the all-time Tiger list. Good things can happen in the post-season, especially for a young club.

  2. MEMORANDUM

    TO: Yale AD Tom Beckett; Princeton AD Gary Walters

    FROM: Ivy League Basketball Fans

    RE: The Future of Our Conference

    DATE: 1 March 2014

    2013 — Yale, with “nothing to play for,” ruins Princeton’s title hopes.

    2014 — Princeton, with “nothing to play for,” ruins Yale’s title hopes.

    For the two “high AI” programs, you guys are pretty stupid.

    If you two keep up this kind of high AI internecine assassination and Seven Dwarves cannibalism, you will ensure until the end of time the dominance of Harvard and its pioneering low AI allocation strategies. In that event, all Seven Dwarves will be forced to lower their own AI profiles or cease sponsoring meaningless basketball programs.

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