The week that was in Ivy roundball, rankings included:
8. Penn (3-5)
Three wins in a row vs. teams whose KenPom rankings add up to 970 (Navy: 322, Binghamton: 340, Marist: 308)
7. Dartmouth (3-5)
Nice 21-point win at UMass-Lowell, but Dartmouth really has become Gabas Maldunas, Alex Mitola, Connor Boehm and a bunch of guys. That trio accounted for 50 of the Big Green’s 67 points in a loss at Jacksonville St.
6. Princeton (3-8)
More losses than any other Ivy. Princeton lost by 14 to St. Peter’s, which Brown beat by 12 in the Bears’ season opener, so the Tigers fall below Brown here. Still, an outstanding first half at Cal showed that the Tigers are capable of much more. Untapped upside still looms large for Princeton.
5. Brown (5-6)
Very solid win at Providence with five Bears in double figures. When J.R. Hobbie is 4-for-7 from three, Tavon Blackmon has a 7:2 assist-to-turnover ratio and Cedric Kuakumensah is involved offensively, this is what happens.
4. Cornell (5-4)
Didn’t play this week after playing 90 games in November. Way to craft an even schedule, Bill Courtney.
3. Columbia (5-3)
2. Yale (8-3)
Got crushed by 38 at Florida, but that loss is offset by the UConn win from the week before.
1. Harvard (7-1)
Took care of Boston U., 70-56, at Lavietes. Corbin Miller gathering momentum now, which is dangerous for the rest of the league.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Columbia guard Maodo Lo – The Chairman himself must be rewarded here for his efforts at Rupp Arena. Lo notched a game-high 16 points and enabled Columbia to control the pace of the game with his measured point play, four treys and three early steals.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK – Penn forward Sam Jones – Jones registered a game-high 19 points in just 21 minutes in a blowout win over Marist, adding four boards and two steals. Most impressively, he nailed five of six three-point attempts, the fourth straight game he has shot at least 40 percent from beyond the arc. Jones is the real deal as a sharpshooter who can put up big numbers fast.
SURPRISE OF THE WEEK – Putting Columbia’s performance aside, how about Brown flushing the Friars down again? Brown’s win over Providence marks its second in the teams’ last three meetings and Cedric Kuakumensah was named Ivy Player of the Week for helping the Bears take control of the game in the second half with his 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting and seven rebounds.
FACEPALM OF THE WEEK – It’s been a quiet week for the Ivy League as players focus on finals, and since Cornell didn’t play at all this week, let’s just highlight this tweet from the Cornell Basketball Blog.
Aside from 2011, there really haven’t be any true races in the recent Ivy. http://t.co/9DA8SOwoks
— Cornell_BB_Blog (@Cornell_BB_Blog) December 15, 2014
Wait, what? As Steven Tydings of the Daily Pennsylvanian noted in a Twitter exchange with @Cornell_BB_Blog, Penn won at Princeton in its final regular season game, there would have been a playoff between Penn and Harvard to determine the league champion. Penn had won the most recent meeting between the two at Lavietes Pavilion. If that’s not a “true race,” then I don’t know what is. And as AP’s Noah Trister noted, Harvard erased a one-game deficit to trump edge Princeton out of an Ivy crown. Harvard built a 9–1 record in conference play before falling to 7–2 Princeton. Then Harvard lost to Penn and Princeton beat Dartmouth, giving Princeton the league lead into the second week of March before the Tigers eventually faltered against Yale and Brown. So, we have two “true races” in the last three years, not zero. The competitiveness of the Ivy League has been very real even throughout Harvard’s reign at the top of the league, and forgetting or denying that merits a facepalm for sure.