1. Harvard (5-1)
Harvard’s still the class of the conference. The Crimson held Yale to 11 points in the entire first half at Payne Whitney Gym to tie Yale atop the Ivy standings at 5-1 in league play. Wesley Saunders’ career-high 33 points did Brown in in overtime the night before. Reports of the Crimson’s demise were clearly premature. Harvard hosts Columbia and Cornell at home, two more solid defensive squads that will not be easy outs at Lavietes. The thing about Harvard is that the Crimson win the close ones – they’re 8-1 in overtime games since 2010. I have a feeling that that stat will be coming into play at least one more time down the stretch.
2. Yale (5-1)
The Bulldogs responded to the biggest game for their program in quite some time by going 3-for-22 in the first half. Harvard’s defense is awesome, but the Elis were visibly a little tense in the early going too. Still, Yale is 5-1 and tied for the conference lead with its greatest rival and another shot at that rival at Lavietes, the same place Yale trumped Harvard last season. All is not lost for the Elis, but it was disconcerting to see them abandon Justin Sears in the second half.
More importantly, the Whiffenpoofs are full steam ahead.
3. Princeton (3-2)
Instead of falling at Levien and emerging victorious at Newman, the Tigers managed to pull off the reverse, yielding a 25-2 run to Cornell (a night after the Big Red themselves collapsed against Penn) following its 74-62 stifling of Columbia. Princeton’s got one of the deepest teams in the league, boasting five different players that scored in double figures this weekend. That will bode well as this season progresses.
4. Columbia (3-3)
Fifteen three-pointers against a confused Penn perimeter defense allowed the Lions to end the weekend with a better taste in their mouths, but it was the Light Blue’s perimeter D that got torched the night before by the Tigers, who shot 60 percent from beyond the arc.
5. Cornell (3-3)
How does a senior-laden team like this build up a 12-0 run against a freshman-filled Penn squad and lose? Sure, it made the run it had to against Princeton, but the Big Red are 0-4 in games decided by three points or less, and that doesn’t even include an overtime loss to St. Peter’s earlier this season.
6. Penn (2-3)
The Quakers enjoyed one of their most impressive victories in years at Cornell, But Penn fought back the hard way, Jerome Allen’s way, with defense, with team captain Tony Hicks leading the way and with Penn playing smart basketball come crunchtime. The Quakers did not commit a single turnover in the final nine minutes of the game and they were much more efficient from the field against Cornell than either Yale or Columbia had been. Then the Columbia game happened.
7. Brown (1-5)
The Bears beat Dartmouth, so here they are. Still, 19 turnovers against the Big Green isn’t a good sign, indicating a lack of offensive efficiency that Brown suffered from even before leading scorer Leland King left the program. Sophomore guard J.R. Hobbie isn’t going to can five three-pointers every night, either.
8. Dartmouth (1-5)
Yeah, Dartmouth won at Lavietes. It has also lost to Penn and Brown. How about freshman guard Miles Wright going off for 21 points and six rebounds against the Bears, though?