1. Princeton (20-5, 10-1 Ivy)
It’s Princeton’s versatility that gives the Tigers a better chance to win in a potential NCAA Tournament berth than Yale, or indeed, most mid-majors. What matters most in an Ivy playoff is that Princeton’s offense matches up well with Yale’s defense, complete with multiple sharpshooters and slashers that can use the Elis’ size advantage against them.
2. Yale (20-6, 11-1)
The Elis will go only as far as Makai Mason takes them. Against Dartmouth, for the second time in four games, Mason took 18 shots, making just four. One of those makes forced overtime in the clutch, but Mason must be more efficient for the rest of league play if Yale is to go dancing for the first time since 1962. Perhaps Nick Victor can step up offensively down the stretch, posting 15 points, including three treys, in 35 minutes against the Big Green. We’re accustomed to Victor stuffing stats elsewhere, but Victor has shown a capability to score and score efficiently that Anthony Dallier and Trey Phills simply have not.
3. Columbia (20-9, 9-3)
Saturday night at the Palestra was peak Columbia. No Lion posted an offensive rating lower than 118, Alex Rosenberg was efficient from all over the gym, possessions ran through Maodo Lo and the Lions shot 41.7 percent from deep. Even if Columbia doesn’t win the Ivy title, its ability to avoid turnovers remains impressive: just eight turnovers at Princeton and four at Penn. Unfortunately, Columbia’s offensive discipline was not enough when it mattered most at Princeton. Columbia probably could and should have played tighter on Princeton’s three-point shooters and gambled more, especially when it became apparent that Steven Cook and Spencer Weisz were not going cold again. The Lions’ defense wasn’t as bad as Princeton’s offense was good, but the Light Blue D wasn’t good enough.
4. Penn (11-14, 5-6)
It’s ironic that the young Quakers finish a season in which it performed markedly better at the Palestra than on the road by getting blown out by Columbia, a team it had beaten at the Palestra five straight times, on 33rd Street. Freshman forward Max Rothschild’s absence might have helped facilitate Alex Rosenberg’s scoring outburst Saturday night, but really, sometimes, one of theirs is better than yours. If Penn can go 7-7 in league play by winning two of its last three games, that would be a major accomplishment for a roster this green.
5. Harvard (12-16, 4-8)
It should be troubling for Harvard fans that Zena Edosomwan can’t put himself in a position to play down the stretch of games. Edosomwan played just 27 combined minutes in this past weekend’s games due to foul trouble, including two fouls before the first media timeout at Yale and fouls Nos. 3 and 4 in quick succession midway through the second half at Brown. But the Crimson performed well with Tommy McCarthy out with a concussion, relying on Patrick Steeves and Corey Johnson to pick up the slack from deep in successive nights.
6. Brown (8-18, 3-9)
All Ivy hoops fans should miss Cedric Kuakumensah, who turned in a typically versatile stat line in Brown’s overtime win over Dartmouth: 17 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. When Kuakumensah graduates, though, he’ll leave behind a talented offensive perimeter lineup: Tavon Blackmon, Steven Spieth and Obi Okolie. But the Bears’ defense has to get its act together, even sans Kuakumensah.
7. Dartmouth (9-17, 3-9)
Overtime was not kind to the Big Green this weekend, bringing them two losses after Brown and Yale scored a combined 16 points against Dartmouth in overtime. That’s because Dartmouth continues to struggle with fouling, as players hit the four-foul mark eight times this weekend. In the final road game of his collegiate career, Connor Boehm nearly toppled Yale’s Ivy title hopes posting 16 points on 8-for-15 shooting and three steals in 42 minutes. Dartmouth gets to play spoiler one more time in its season finale hosting Princeton. KenPom predicts a 74-67 Princeton win in Hanover, but the Big Green can do better if they get the Tigers on a bad shooting night and hit the offensive boards, their strength versus Princeton’s strength.
8. Cornell (9-17, 2-10)
At least Robert Hatter looks like his old self again. After posting 31 points at Penn, Hatter scored 12 more in a solid first half for the Big Red at Jadwin, including a stanza-ending 35-footer. But for all the talk about Cornell’s defensive holes, it’s the offense that has failed the Big Red this season. Cornell ranks 295th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 233rd in effective field goal percentage and 328th in free throw percentage. The Big Red only truly excelled at hoisting NBA-range three-pointers, ranking 34th in the nation in three-point distribution among total points. Here’s hoping Cornell can turn in a strong performance in its season finale against Brown in Ithaca, in which will likely be coach Bill Courtney’s final game at Cornell.