Now that Harvard has been vanquished by North Carolina, Ivy basketball is officially over for the summer. Since no one is still playing, you could say we are all equally impotent—or are we? Thus, I give you the first annual IHO Powerless Poll. Naturally, as is my custom, I will rank teams according to how I view them from most feeble to strongest.
8. Cornell: Now that Shonn Miller is headed to some Power 5 school, the natural order of the Ivy will magically be restored and the Red can return to their rightful place at the bottom. Yes, Bill Courtney did make a nice recovery from the disaster that was the 2013-14 season, but success in Ithaca is as fleeting as the four days of summer that town is allotted each year. Look out below.
7. Princeton: Only Cornell could keep Princeton out of The AQ’s cellar. All I heard last season from the so-called pundits was, “Watch out for Princeton.” “Look out for the Tigers.” “They’re coming!” Well, I’m still watching and waiting. No title, no challenge to Harvard or Yale, no NIT, CBI, CIT. Only ZIP. The good news–Mitch Henderson has reportedly switched from Rogaine to Propecia. With growth there is hope.
6. Brown: Well, a last-place finish basically guarantees you a place near the bottom of the poll. I thought Bruno would have had a better year but Mike Martin had some tough luck last season. Regardless, I suspect he will rally his troops next year, but a top-half finish still looks unlikely.
5. Yale: What can you say about James Jones? The guy is as nice and honorable as you’ll ever meet. He is the longest-tenured coach in the Ivy and he has still never been to The Dance. This year I honestly thought would be his year, but alas, no. Even he admitted that the 2015 Bulldogs were more talented than his other Ivy championship team 150 years ago. Nevertheless, while watching the playoff game against Harvard, I couldn’t help but feel his team, although gifted and gritty, seemed to lack the depth and killer instinct of The Crimson. Perhaps that’s why they lost to Dartmouth and Gabas “You’re Welcome” Maldunas in the first place. At the time of this writing, his name is being bantered around for the Fordham job. Personally, I think he should take it. First of all, The Bronx is of course a cultural step up from New Haven, but more importantly, sometimes a change of scene is just what one needs for their talents to flourish, just ask Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. Jimmy, listen to The AQ. You’re a great coach and you’ve done all you can in boola-boola land. It’s time to move on.
4. Dartmouth: I think Dartmouth is the feel-good story of the year. The coach returns for second run with his former employer and quickly makes the program relevant. Toward the end of the year no one wanted to play against the Green. (Just ask coach Jones.) How Paul Cormier didn’t get Ivy Coach of the Year is puzzling to me. Regardless, the future is undeniably bright in Hanover for the two blue-haired ladies who come to their games.
3. Columbia: If Kyle Smith can somehow get a full complement of players for one year without defections or injury, I believe he will topple the Crimson. Next year, the Lions should be loaded. The bigger question is how long will coach Smith be around to coach them?
2. Harvard: Okay, so they won again. At the beginning of the nbso online casino reviews year I thought The Crimson might be vulnerable, but they were clearly the class of the Ivy. Too much depth, talent and experience for anyone to match. Their dramatic comeback against the Tar Heels was also admirable. Next year, however, is a question mark. Without Saunders, I think they might be vulnerable. At least, I – and everyone outside of Cambridge – can hope.
1. Penn: At first I was extremely disappointed in the Donahue hiring. I thought Grace Calhoun had made a huge mistake. Hence, when I heard the news, I tweeted out things like “disgusted” and “distraught.” I wanted a young, eager coach to instill life and energy in a formerly great but now moribund program. Either that or some big name dude to out-Amaker Amaker. I didn’t want some old retread who blew it at Boston College. However, after a Valium and a few bottles of Louis VIII, I realize now these harsh words were nothing but the impulsive rants of an ignorant and immature man. First of all, no one is going to out-Amaker Amaker. The Harvard hoops machine is just too powerful. So then what if Calhoun took a shot at Andy Toole or Yanni Hufnagel and they turned the ship around only to leave after four or five years? Or worse, they failed miserably?
Donahue, on the other hand, isn’t going anywhere. He’s been to the bright lights of the ACC and didn’t do so well. He’s home now and I’m sure he has no yearning to test the Power 5 again. Conceivably, for a Philly guy with Quaker DNA, Penn could and should be his last coaching stop. Big Steve has many other upsides as well. He is a proven Division I coach with a history of winning in the Ivy League. A guy who can develop talent and most importantly has that inbred reverence for what Penn basketball, the Big 5, and the Palestra means to the fan base. Even at his press conference you could hear it in his voice, “There are only five Big 5 coaches and now I’m one of them.” But above all he is a mature father figure who is the right person to mend a broken program and nurture its young charges. With a team composed of mostly freshmen and sophomores, a strident martinet in his first Division I gig just doesn’t seem the way to go. It will take time, I imagine, but Jerome Allen left him with a reasonable amount of talent and none of the incoming recruiting class has reportedly decommitted. It is going to be fun to see what our new coach will do with them.
Grace, you did a good job. (That’s why you’re the athletic director and I’m some douche on the internet.)
Stay Red and Blue my friends,