Ivy Power Rankings – Dec. 19, 2016

1. Yale (6-4)

Yale’s only game this past week was a 90-59 home romp over Central Connecticut State, but it was emblematic of the unexpected division of labor that’s carried Yale to arguably the top slot in the Ivy League standings. Sophomore guard Alex Copeland went 9-for-11 from two-point range to contribute 23 points along with four assists in 30 minutes, while freshman guard Miye Oni lit up Payne Whitney Gym with 7-for-8 shooting from three-point range en route to 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in just 26 minutes.

Yale went 14-for-27 from long range against CCSU, reinforcing the Elis’ position as a much improved three-point shooting team compared to last season. Yale is 24th in the nation in three-point percentage at 40.2, and 50th nationwide in defensive three-point percentage. If Yale keeps winning the battle of the treys, it’ll continue surprising people all throughout the Ivy slate.

2.  Princeton (4-5)

The Tigers’ future is still unwritten, but their present is rough. Henry Caruso, arguably Princeton’s best player, was reported out for the year Wednesday with a toe injury, joining Hans Brase on the out-for-the-year list. Without both against Saint Joseph’s at Jadwin Gym, Princeton faltered late again, surrendering a 64-61 lead with 3:58 to play by virtue of a 15-4 Hawks run to close out the game. Princeton shot just 10-for-31 (32.3 percent) from downtown and was not much better from two-point range (12-for-31). Senior guard Spencer Weisz shone with 11 rebounds, 10 points, eight assists, zero turnovers and two steals. If Princeton is to hang on to win the Ivy championship it was projected to before the season started, Weisz is going to have to continue stuffing the stat sheet and get more efficient shooting from Steven Cook and Devin Cannady. A win at formidable Monmouth Tuesday would reverse the Tigers’ slide, but Princeton could really use a win at Bucknell Thursday in what is basically a tossup game.

3. Penn (4-5)

Penn pulled off arguably the Ivy League’s most impressive nonconference win (along with Yale’s season-opening win at Washington) with its 58-49 victory at UCF to start the week. Penn freshman center A.J. Brodeur overcame UCF’s 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall, hitting some crucial shots in the paint around or through Fall in the second half that cemented him as the current favorite to win Ivy Rookie of the Year and a legitimate contender for first-team All-Ivy status. More importantly, Penn’s defense hunkered down early and often, holding Golden Knights not named Tacko Fall to 9-for-44 (20.5 percent) shooting on their home floor. It was UCF that entered the game with a top-30 defense nationally, but Penn’s defense was the best in CFE Arena in Orlando Monday night, and that’s no fluke when accounting for the Red and Blue’s entire season. Senior guard Matt Howard again proved himself an asset anywhere on the floor, going 3-for-7 from deep and adding nine rebounds and two assists. Penn should win its remaining two games before it travels to Princeton on Jan. 7, so momentum should

4. Harvard (4-4)

Harvard drops a slot by virtue of not playing a game this week while the Quakers scored what is likely the league’s best nonconference win of the year. Houston will provide a solid measuring stick for the Crimson on Friday. If Harvard’s frosh can shine there (on ESPN2, I might add), they can shine anywhere.

5. Columbia (4-5)

Columbia didn’t play this week either, but Luke Skywalker really liked Rogue One.

6. Brown (7-5)

Also didn’t play this week. Brown’s still favored to win its next three games, though, so the seven-win Bears could enjoy the most fruitful nonconference slate of any Ivy.

7. Cornell (2-6)

Cornell fell at Wyoming, 97-78, Saturday despite another solid effort from sophomore center Stone Gettings, who contributed 23 points and six rebounds in just 27 minutes. But the Big Red still rank 10th-worst in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, notching just five at Wyoming. That won’t bode well against Ivy defenses like Yale’s, Princeton’s or Penn’s.

8. Dartmouth (1-9)

Dartmouth finally registered its first win of the David McLaughlin era Sunday with an 82-68 triumph at LIU Brooklyn. Interestingly, the Big Green got it done with sophomore forward and reigning Ivy Rookie of the Year Evan Boudreaux posting just seven points in 30 minutes before fouling out. Previous Ivy Rookie of the Year Miles Wright came to the fore instead, notching 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting and seven rebounds to fuel the win. Dartmouth held LIU Brooklyn to 0.93 points per possession, a real accomplishment for a defense that has struggled so badly this season. Freshman guard Brendan Barry got extensively involved for only the third time this season, pouring in 14 points with 8-for-9 free throw shooting in 24 minutes. Dartmouth’s got a legitimate shot at winning its next game too, a matchup this Thursday at Bryant.

5 thoughts on “Ivy Power Rankings – Dec. 19, 2016

  1. With strong home wins against Delaware and CCSU, Yale showed that it can certainly handle teams below its skill level. Its Thursday road contest at Temple (7 pm on ESPNU) will be a good test to see how it compares to teams a bit above its ranking.

    A great win for Penn against UCF last week. Brodeur and Howard played have been playing well all season. The team’s free throw shooting (FTA #350 and FTM #348, nationally) is still a problem, especially when playing close conference games.

    Hopefully, Penn can avoid the rust in a 16 day layoff, when they play Drexel (coached by former Steve Donahue assistant at Cornell, Zach Spiker) on the 28th.

    Cornell has a very difficult game at USC on Monday night, then two winnable games in Las Vegas on Thursay and Friday night. On the 22nd, they play Troy and on the 23rd, they play either Chicago State or SE Missouri State.

    The Big Red’s offensive rebounding is a problem, but Josh Warren is 2nd in the conference (2.3 per game) in less than 20 minutes. With Onuorah remaining on the DL, it might be worthwhile for Coach Earl to start Warren with Gettings down low. Since Fallas is not providing enough offense to justify his starters minutes, the coach can move Wright to the three spot.

    Congratulations to the Big Green and Coach McLaughlin for today’s road win against LIU-Brooklyn! The coach gets his first Division I victory and ties Hall of Famer Dave Gavin as the last Dartmouth coach to lose his first nine to start a season (1967-68 season).

    Amazing that the Big Green won so handily with Boudreaux only scoring 7 points (3-15 and 0-6 three-pointers). It was his first non-double digit games in the last 27.contests. Wright did a great job, hitting 5 three pointers. Having him produce from way outside would be a big help, but last year he only hit 4 or more three-pointers on 3 occasions (and one was LIU-Brooklyn). Good to see Barry getting solid minutes today. Since he seems to energize the team more than Fleming and Johnson, it will be interesting to see if he finds his way into the starting lineup before long.

  2. By this point in the OOC most teams have settled on a rotation. Injuries and inconsistency have thrown a spanner into the Tiger works. Henderson’s rotation is more a product of who is available rather than who is playing well. The Tigers have considerable talent remaining, although it has not been displayed to advantage yet, and that’s a troubling sign with the Ivy opener against a very good Penn team now just two weeks away. Two tough road games this week could give the Tigers a springboard to the Ivy season, or could further erode whatever confidence remains from the most depressing first month of the campaign. I am thrilled and grateful that our editor still ranks the Tigers near the top of the League. We must earn respect on the court, not on the keyboard.

  3. Dartmouth is about a 6 point underdog to Bryant. Still do not understand y they fired Cormier, who finally got some decent players to venture north and certainly knew what to do with them. Cornell’s struggles are not surprising, given entirely new system which involves some intelligence that Cornell’s teams of recent past, displayed none of. Give Brian Earl a couple of years to get his players to play his system. I believe he will have Cornell a middle to upper ivy team then. Brown is slightly better than last year, but that still leaves them 6th best. Do not see much upside either. Think Columbia made a terrific hire, but the lost so much from last years home run team, that it will take a year to once again threaten the top teams. Princeton is still the best team in the ivies. It may take a couple of games to get line up sorted out with 2 starters now done for the year, but there is still good talent and even better coaching. No surprise at Penn’s improved play given brilliance of their hc. The Red and Blue could challenge for title next year. I attended Penn during their final four run.That can no longer happen in today’s cutthroat, greed filled and very sad world of college hoops, but the ivies can still make some dumb major schools life miserable in the NCAA first rd. That is enough to make this disgusted fan smile. No surprise either at Harvard underachieving, given the lack of brilliance from their hc. Perhaps if Amaker just told them to play and did not attempt to coach, then their athleticism could win them a couple of more games, but as long as he is calling the shots, you can expect the sum to be less than the parts. Biggest surprise is Yale, who blew out Washington to start the year They lost big as most do at Va,but then played a very good Pitt team to the wire and then showed great resolve in their third straight tough road game, coming from 13 down to lose close at Vt. They r running great offense. They r hitting thier 3s. Obviously James Jones is one of the better coaches in college hoops. He loses his star point guard just before the season begins, yet his team continues to play at high level. Brilliant.

    • Harvard has finished first in the Ivy League 5 of the last 6 years. Coach Amaker deserves credit for most of that success. The “side line style” points that are used to grade his prowess are silly. His players always play hard for him. Let’s see how the season plays out before we rush to judgement.

  4. I agree. The Ivy has good coaches; it is easy to second guess their in game moves; if the ball goes in the hoop, every play hat is drawn up is fine; if the shot is missed, not so much. Also , you cannot win many games without talent.

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