Ivy Power Rankings – Feb. 23, 2016

1. Princeton (18-5, 9-1 Ivy)
The Tigers have it all on the table. Princeton’s toughest game remaining, according to KenPom, will be at Harvard next weekend, not hosting Columbia Friday night. But Princeton’s lowest win probability, which comes visiting the Crimson, is still 75 percent. To take advantage of a favorable schedule, Princeton must continue firing on all cylinders offensively, which means getting the most out of X-factor Amir Bell, whose effective field goal percentage has been solid ever since he dominated in the Ivy opener at the Palestra.

2. Yale (18-6, 9-1)
Despite its loss at Princeton Friday night, Yale remains six slots ahead of Princeton in the KenPom standings. But is Yale really the better team? One thing Yale is better at than any Ivy is defense, which should in turn allow the Bulldogs to win ugly down the stretch. Yale’s adjusted defensive efficiency is easily the best in the conference, and it helped the Elis slip past Penn in the second half despite no outside shooting (1-for-6 from deep). That’s how Yale is going to have to win out, including at Columbia to wrap the regular season and against any Ivy playoff foe, most likely Princeton. Interior offense is Yale’s bread and butter, and defense all over the floor is Yale’s security blanket. (The Elis rank first in defensive three-point defense by a wide margin and first in defensive efficiency.)

3. Columbia (19-8, 8-2)
The last time Alex Rosenberg, Grant Mullins and Maodo Lo played together at Jadwin, the Lions won, 53-52, going on a 6-0 run in the final 2:04 to eke out the win. Then last season, with Rosenberg and Mullins out due to injury, Lo attained an outrageous offensive rating of 195, shooting 11-for-15 from beyond the arc en route to 37 points in Columbia’s 85-83 loss. Lions and Tigers: It’s been mighty memorable recently. It will be again Friday night.

4. Penn (10-13, 4-5)
Kudos to Darien Nelson-Henry for turning it on in the homestretch of his collegiate career. Nelson-Henry has posted an offensive rating of 115 or higher in four of the six games since he sat out at Brown with a sprained ankle on Jan. 30. The Quakers will miss him next season. In the backcourt, though, the development and easy integration into Steve Donahue’s motion offense of Jake Silpe and Jackson Donahue has surpassed the benefits that Antonio Woods and especially Tony Hicks would have brought. The combined offensive rating for Jackson Donahue and Jake Silpe is higher than Antonio Woods or Tony Hicks ever had, with Silpe’s assist rate also higher with stouter defense in conference play as well. By the way, Penn’s Saturday night win over Brown gave the Quakers double-digit wins in a season for the first time since 2011-12, Zack Rosen’s senior season.

5. Harvard (11-15, 3-7)
Zena Edosomwan played a grand total of 25 minutes against a vacuous Cornell interior defense despite picking up only two fouls the entire game. If he had played more, Harvard’s win probability wouldn’t have dipped to 0.6 percent at the 9:02 mark of the second half, when Harvard trailed, 67-46, before a 30-7 game-ending Harvard win let the Crimson walk off winners. That’s on Tommy Amaker.

6. Dartmouth (9-15, 3-7)
Evan Boudreaux went 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) shooting two-pointers at Cornell and Columbia this past weekend, and he’s 24-for-63 (38.1 percent) in the past five games. Boudreaux remains one of the most productive freshman the Ivy League has enjoyed in a long time, but the offensive efficiency has to start picking up now.

7. Brown (7-17, 2-8)
Freshman guard Obi Okolie has had a solid past two weekends, scoring 38 points combined on 15-for-21 two-point shooting at Penn and Princeton last weekend after breaking out at Harvard and Dartmouth the previous weekend. Blackmon and Okolie should make for an entertaining backcourt next season.

8. Cornell (9-15, 2-8)
Scoring seven points in the final 9:02 of a game suggests that team’s offense just stood around for that length of time. That’s not true for the Big Red. They do that all the time.

5 thoughts on “Ivy Power Rankings – Feb. 23, 2016

  1. Cornell’s offense does not just “stand around all the time”– they just don’t have enough of a post presence to incorporate all five guys into their offense. It might look like they are “standing around”, but really they are working it around the perimeter trying to find a driving lane while swinging it to guys coming off a cross-court cut. Unfortunately, they usually go through the motions with this system way too long, and then Robert Hatter has to go barreling into traffic and lose the ball because the shot clock ran down to 8 seconds.

    • Point well-taken, and agreed about the perimeter ball movement. But it’s not meaningful ball movement and does involve a lot of stagnation that results in said Hatter barreling, etc. As you note, there just isn’t a post presence to play off of.

  2. As someone who was able to watch Boudreaux at Cornell, kid is a beast. Started struggling with the offensive efficiency lately, but he routinely faces double teams and might be the best rebounder in the league. I can’t believe he’s going to be giving us problems for three more years. Imagine if Dartmouth had a legitimate second scoring option that shows up every game.

    • Yeah, the problem is he needs help on the offensive end. Much like Matt Morgan at Cornell, it can’t just be Boudreaux all the time on offense. That’s where Miles Wright and Taylor Johnson need to come in for the rest of this season and beyond.

  3. Princeton has crawled out of the grave twice now – Penn and Columbia – , beaten Yale without Montigue, and Harvard without Zena. We must face both Penn and Columbia again at home and Harvard (with Zena?) in Cambridge plus nasty Dartmouth (ask Yale) in Hanover. This season is far from over. May the stars stay aligned!

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