Book Review: The Divine Nature of Basketball by Ed Breslin

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Breslin”s book, released this week, chronicles Yale”s 2011-12 season under coach James Jones.

Guest Post by Wesley Cheng

Friend of the site, Wesley Cheng, from over yonder at SUJuiceOnline.com, was nice enough to review Ed Breslin”s new book about the 2011-12 Yale basketball season. Neither Wesley nor IHO received any compensation for this review.

Let me be clear before the outset of this review: I did not attend an Ivy League school, nor did I previously have an appreciation for it. Save for a few friends who worshiped Penn hoops, my loyalties remain in the old Big East and the current ACC. So it is with that lens that I review Ed Breslin”s The Divine Nature of Basketball: My Season Inside the Ivy League, his look at the 2011-12 Yale Bulldogs basketball team, led by head coach James Jones. Breslin petitioned Jones to be a special assistant coach, essentially shadowing the team throughout the entire season. What follows is an insider”s look at one of the more entertaining Yale basketball seasons in recent memory.

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Countdown to 2012-13

Welcome back, Ivy Hoopheads! There are less than three weeks until the season tips off and we”re getting the gang back together here at IHO. The league is wide open this year after the scandal in Cambridge cost the defending champion Crimson their captains, though an experienced squad in central Jersey may contest that claim. Behind the two favorites, New York”s “C” schools both have the talent to crash Come 2015 large employers with 100 fulltime equivalent employees or more will have to affordablehealth.info fulltime workers. the top-half party and contend, though both teams” youth may prevent them from making that jump. In Philly and New Haven, it may be a step back before another step forward as both teams graduated their stars last spring. The lone coaching change this offseason happened in Providence, where Mike Martin”s Bears may be able to surprise some people if they can finally stay

healthy and get production from their rookies. And finally, the Big Green

will attempt to rise from the basement once more, as the young, promising

nucleus in Hanover gets a year older. So there you have it: the flawed favorites, the unproven dark horses, the likely rebuilders, and the hopeful also-rans.

We”re excited to bring you some interesting angles on the upcoming season over the course of the next few weeks. Check back soon!

-Bruno March

Requiem for the Quakers

The Ancient Quaker laments the departure of ring-less Zack Rosen, the greatest Penn player he's ever witnessed. (Photo Credit: thedp.com/thebuzz)

Once again, we were lucky enough to hear from IHO commenting veteran, The Ancient Quaker. This time, the AQ closes the door on an exciting season of Penn basketball and evaluates the state of the program going forward. We hope you have a dictionary handy. The author of this piece is not affiliated with Ivy Hoops Online, but we always welcome and encourage commenters, outside contributors, and readers to share their opinions and thoughts. 

By The Ancient Quaker

I am OK. Thank you for your concern. Aside from a badly lacerated tongue and a rather embarrassing public loss of sphincter tone (both #1 and #2), I have been given the necessary intravenous anti-convulsives and all grand mal seizure activity has mercifully ceased. It feels good to be no longer foaming at the mouth and flopping on the floor like freshly landed mackerel. Although I am technically still post-ictal, I thought it only fair that I relate my feelings regarding Penn’s losing the Ivy title.

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The Aftermath

Penn celebrates after a dramatic 55-54 victory pulled the Quakers even in the loss column with Harvard as the Ivy League enters its final weekend. (Photo Credit: boston.com)

Basking in the glow of last night”s Penn victory, the shameless anti-Harvard critic, devoted Penn supporter and loyal IHO commenter The Ancient Quaker weighs in on the altered landscape of the Ivy League standings this morning. The author of this piece is not affiliated with Ivy Hoops Online, but we always welcome and encourage commenters, outside contributors, and readers to share their opinions and thoughts. 

Let me begin with a retraction—the Columbia Lions are not a dangerous team after getting blown out by Brown.

Loyal followers of Ivy Hoops Online, if you need to know anything about The Ancient Quaker know this: The Ancient Quaker does not gloat. (Even though Harvard’s home winning streak has now passed in to history like so many illegal recruiting trips.) The Ancient Quaker does not revel in another team’s misfortune. (Unless of course that team resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.) And finally, The Ancient Quaker is above all not self-righteous. (But I told you so.)

Now excuse me a moment while I climb down from my high horse.

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Why Harvard Will Win/Lose

Our favorite cranky Cantab-hating commenter sent us the following essay yesterday. The author of this piece is not affiliated with Ivy Hoops Online, but we always welcome and encourage commenters, outside contributors, and readers to share their opinions and thoughts. 

The Ancient Quaker is sick of all the talk about 2012 Harvard being the best Ivy team ever. How about Penn's 1979 Final Four team? (Photo Credit: blogs.dailypennsylvanian.com)

By The Ancient Quaker

Now that the preliminaries are finally out of the way, at last comes the make or break weekend for the Crimson. The hyperbole surrounding this team is insufferable. The sporting press has already crowned them champions since early September. Some have even dared to call this year’s Crimson the best Ivy team of all time. (No, that would be the third ranked (that’s 3) Quakers of 1970. If you don’t agree, there are plenty of other possibilities: Bill Bradley’s Tigers, Penn’s 1979 Final Four team or even the sixth-ranked 1967 Columbia Lions with Jim McMillan.) What’s more, earlier this week ESPN was trying to determine Harvard’s likely tournament seed. As amusing as these possibilities may be, to this I say not so fast. With the P’s coming to Boston in a few days anything can happen. As I have already made clear in a prior article, I am no fan of Harvard Basketball or of their unctuous coach Tommy Amaker. Nevertheless (for fun), I will posit why I believe the Crimson will win their first outright title. Then to be fair (and hopeful), I will suggest why they will fail.

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IHO Power Poll: February 20, 2012

Keith Wright's Harvard Crimson has been the wire-to-wire #1 team in the IHO Power Poll this season. (Photo Credit: thecrimson.com)

Welcome to the eighth IHO Power Poll (based on games through 02/20/12). Please note that these rankings are based off of our best guesses of how the Ivy League picture will sort itself out. We always love to hear your gripes and whines in the comments below.

1. Harvard (9-1), (23-3)- Harvard took care of business this weekend with its best back-to-back performances in a month. A depleted Brown team did not put up much of a fight on Friday night, and the next day the Crimson weathered Yale’s best shot

to pull out a 15-point victory. Keith Wright was the leader on the court, averaging 11 points and nine rebounds in just 23 minutes per game, but Harvard got standout performances from Steve Moundou-Missi (14 points off the bench against the Bears) and Brandyn Curry (a season-high 18 points against the Elis) as well. Now holding a game-and-a-half lead over the competition, the Crimson can effectively wrap up its second Ivy title in as many years if it can beat the Killer Ps next weekend at Lavietes, where Harvard now owns a 27-game winning streak. -C. River Banks

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A View from Antiquity: Quaker Fans, Consider the Tiger

The following essay appeared in the IHO Mailbox yesterday. The author of this piece is not affiliated with Ivy Hoops Online, but we always welcome and encourage outside contributors and readers to share their opinions and thoughts. 

What could drive a Penn fan to pull for their hated rivals? Harvard, it seems. (Photo Credit: penngazettesports.com)

By The Ancient Quaker

Ladies and gentleman of Pennsylvania do not hate me. I am as loyal and grateful a Quaker as any of you. I donate generously to the annual giving, married a woman with more Penn degrees than Amy Guttmann, and even named one of my sons Benjamin after our great founder. (We didn’t really name him after Big Ben but you catch my drift.) So why would I ever root for the hated and haughty Tigers and their Mickey Mouse Halloween colors?

Allow me to explain.

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Breaking News: Brown's Halpern Applying for Medical Redshirt; Out for Season

Tucker Halpern, Brown's leading scorer and All-Ivy Honorable Mention selection in 2010-11, will not play this season according to sources within the program. Halpern, who has been sidelined with a debilitating bout of mono since the preseason, is in the process of applying to retain a year of eligibility, meaning he would return in 2012-13 as a junior with two years of eligibility remaining.

While relatively rare in cheap clomid the Ivy League, medical redshirts have been obtained by a few active Ivy players who experienced similar illness or injury. Penn's Tyler Bernardini successfully retained a year of eligibility after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot after the Quakers' second game of his junior year. Cornell's Dwight Tarwater missed his freshman season last year due to mono, but retained four years of eligibility, as did the Big Red's Dominic Scelfo due to a knee injury last season.

In the short-term, this is more bad news for the Bears. Earlier in the season, freshman Rafael Maia was declared ineligible by the NCAA for the 2011-12 season.

Brown takes on Providence College tonight at 7:00 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

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Game Preview: Cornell at Delaware

Freshman Shonn Miller has taken home two Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards already this season. Miller looks to lead the Big Red over the Blue Hens of Delaware tonight. (Photo Credit: buffalonews.com)

By Sam Aleinikoff & Jake Mastbaum

Game 5: Cornell (2-2) vs Delaware (0-2) – Tuesday, November 22 – Bob Carpenter Center Acierno Arena

On the heels of an impressive victory over American East-favorite Boston University, Cornell hits the road in search of a winning record for the first time in nearly a year. The Red was last above .500 following a win over the same Delaware squad that it travels to play on Tuesday. With a newly developed, and largely unexpected interior threat in the duo of Eitan Chemerinski and Josh Figini, Cornell hopes that balance in the scoring column will keep the group on the winning path against the Blue Hens.

The Blue Hens look to be at full strength Tuesday night.  Freshman Kyle Anderson and Jarvis Threatt each went down for stretches on Friday night at Villanova but are expected to play. Their ability to bounce back will play a major factor in Delaware picking up its first W of the season.

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This Weekend's Top Performers (11/20/11)

Penn's Zack Rosen is averaging 23 ppg through four games. More importantly, the Quakers are out to an encouraging 3-1 start. (Photo Credit: penngazettesports.com)

The Ivy League shook off its sluggish start to the season this weekend, going 6-1 and improving to 10-13 against Division-I opponents. This weekend also saw Brown, Dartmouth, and Princeton pick up their first D-1 wins of the season, while Harvard continues to roll over inferior opponents, no matter what coast the Crimson is playing on.

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