There hasn’t been much Ivy action the past couple of weeks due to finals, but here’s a snapshot of the Ivy League at the moment:
1. Princeton (4-6)
We haven’t seen “Ivy Princeton” yet, so the Tigers are at the top for now. In other words, just keep in mind Princeton has always seemed to overachieve in league play and underachieve in non-league play under coach Mitch Henderson. But Princeton overcame a 16-3 hole against Monmouth with a subsequent 20-2 run last week to pocket a 69-58 victory at Jadwin Gym, building that run the Princeton way: layups and three-pointers that comprised 18 of those 20 points.
The Tigers lit up Cal Poly from downtown Saturday night, and Princeton’s point distribution has been more even in its past two games. Princeton’s got a shot to shred the “non-Ivy Princeton” narrative by upsetting Southern Cal Tuesday.
2. Harvard (4-6)
Harvard hasn’t played since Dec. 6, when it overcame a 45-39 deficit with 2:12 remaining to clip Fordham in New York, winning despite a 2-for-20 performance from three-point land. The Crimson are in a slump for now, with an effective field goal percentage that has plummeted from 91st nationally last year to 299th this season. The Crimson’s Jan. 2 home matchup with Vermont should be a bellwether as they head into Ivy play four days later. Harvard’s lost to Vermont the past two seasons and needed two overtimes to best the Catamounts in 2014, so a win – and a limited turnover count – would be telling.
3. Penn (8-4)
Penn’s win at Dayton was a nonconference highlight for the Ivy League, as the Red and Blue went 13-for-22 from beyond the arc and 13-for-18 from the free throw line. Penn’s not always going to shoot 59.1 percent from deep, but winning at the foul line could very well yield a NCAA Tournament appearance for this squad in an wide open Ivy race. It’s still the team’s biggest weakness until it proves consistently otherwise.
4. Yale (6-7)
The Elis suffered a disappointing 83-67 loss at then-KenPom No. 149 Iona, allowing 1.26 points per possession and struggling uncharacteristically from two-point range. Of Yale’s six wins so far, four have come against sub-300 KenPom squads or non-Division I competition, and the Elis’ only top-shelf half so far has been their decisive second stanza at Lehigh.
5. Columbia (1-10)
The Lions are much better than their record, having beaten the only team ranked below them in KenPom (Longwood) and showing promising flashes against Villanova, Penn State and Boston College. Columbia has blown leads of nine points or more in each of its last six games, including double-digit second-half leads against Stony Brook, Albany and UConn. Columbia simply doesn’t have the rebounding, free-throw-shooting talent or interior defense to hang onto leads against superior competition.
6. Cornell (4-4)
Cornell’s three-point shooting simply isn’t on the level of its interior offense yet. When gets there under Brian Earl, watch out.
7. Brown (5-5)
Brown’s defense got better. Its offense got less efficient. Some new faces but stil an uphill climb come Ivy play.
8. Dartmouth (3-5)
Dartmouth needs more talent on offense, going just 11-for-29 from two-point range at Illinois-Chicago on Friday.