Now that we’re well into nonconference season, we’ve got a bead on how the Ivies are coming along so far. Our Richard Kent breaks down his Ivy power rankings. What are yours?
1. Yale (5-3) The best team by far thus far. Makai Mason is making an early case for Ivy Player of the Year, coming up big against top competition (37 points and 15 assists against SMU and Duke combined). Justin Sears is, well, Justin Sears (and the reigning Ivy POY, who has to like his chances of doing major damage to the Tigers, who he scored 53 points against in two games a year ago) after Stony Brook forward Jameel Warney dominated the Tigers in the frontcourt last week. Brandon Sherrod is a specimen after taking a year off. Should have beaten the Mustangs and were competitive at Cameron Indoor for a half.
2. Princeton (4-1) The slate of opponents (just 301st in KenPom strength of schedule) and defense are suspect, and the 14-point loss at Stony Brook raised some eyebrows, but the overall record is solid. Henry Caruso has been a pleasant surprise, shooting 64.6 percent from the floor so far this season and ranking second in the conference in scoring (17.6 points per contest) behind Cornell’s Robert Hatter.
3. Columbia (5-5) Another team with issues on defense, ranking next to last in the conference in defensive field goal percentage and defensive three-point field goal percentage. Maodo Lo and Alex Rosenberg continue to be offensive weapons, of course.
4. Harvard (2-6) The worst record in the Ivies, but gave Kansas all it could handle in Lawrence and still actually plays tough defense. Zena Edosomwan has been solid, leading the league in rebounding (nine snares per game) and the bench is one of the tops in league with Patrick Steeves and Weisner Perez starting to command defenses. .
5. Penn (4-4) A pleasant surprise. The La Salle win was a solid victory over a top 150 team. The Quakers have adjusted to the loss of Tony Hicks, but they need to find someone other than Sam Jones who can drill treys in Steve Donahue’s three-heavy system.
6. Cornell (5-4) A very solid win against Siena at home. Robert Hatter can play and now everybody knows it – he was named Ivy Player of the Week for lighting up Colgate and the Saints.
7. Dartmouth (2-3) Thought the Big Green would be better, with a bad loss at Marist now on the resume from last month. The Hartford win was encouraging, though, since it demonstrated significant depth for that will only gather momentum as the season progresses, with senior Brandon McDonnell and sophomore Cameron Smith stepping up to help down the Hawks.
8. Brown (3-6) The Bears have played an ambitious schedule and have played some top teams (Providence, SMU) tough for at least half the game. Cedric Kuakumensah has been an offensive machine. The defense has been good. The league play-opening home-and-home against Yale next month will say a lot.