Ivy Hoops Online’s Richard Kent caught up with Brett MacConnell, an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Princeton. He is a Rutgers graduate and a long-time New Jersey resident.
Richard Kent of Ivy Hoops Online connected with Yale coach James Jones for insight into how Yale has moved on after losing Jordan Bruner and Makai Mason to injury (the former for the season).
Ivy Hoops Online: Perhaps no coach in the country this season has been forced to employ the next man up strategy as much as you. How difficult has that been?
James Jones: We’ve worked hard to get the young players in our program ready so when their number is called they will be ready. This year has been no different, we’re just using more of our bench players than we normally would.
IHO: Your team really seemed to click against Lehigh (in an 86-77 road win). Was that your best performance to date?
JJ: Several games this season we’ve been able to play at a high level. I’d say Lehigh (Dec. 6), St Bonaventure (a 75-67 road loss on Dec. 9) and Kennesaw State (an 89-74 road win on Dec. 30) were all played at about the same level.
Defense and offensive rebounding have been the calling cards for Yale head basketball coach James Jones ever since his arrival in New Haven in 1999. Right now, he sits as the dean of Ivy basketball coaches, the winningest Yale coach in history and the only Yale coach to guide the Elis to an NCAA win, a victory over favored Baylor in Providence in 2016.
Last year, Yale finished at 18-11 and 9-5 in the Ivies and just a game away from another NCAA tourney. In the first season of the Ivy postseason tourney, the Elis won a thrilling game over Harvard before falling by 12 to Princeton at the Palestra as the Tigers capped a 16-0 run through Ivy competition.
It is March 12, 2022 and the NCAA Selection Show is set to air on CBS.
There is a great deal of speculation about who the top seeds will be, since 91 NCAA Division I schools are currently on suspended or on probation.
The schools in contention for the top seeds are Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Brown, Amherst, Williams and Trinity in Hartford, Conn.
The Tigers that season went 25-3 and 13-1 in Ivy play, beating No. 2 UNC at fabled Carmichael Arena. They blew out the second-best Rutgers team ever, led by All-American Bob Lloyd and Jim Valvano, on the road and came within a hair of beating Carolina again, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing 78-70 in overtime, after beating West Virginia in the first round. They came back to blast a very strong St. John’s team in the Regional consolation game, rising as high as No. 3 in the polls and finished No. 5.
After years of debating and voting on the efficacy of an Ivy League Tournament, the first one is in the books.
And it certainly has engendered much discussion amongst the Ivy faithful, given its prominence on the ESPN family of networks this past weekend (ESPNU for the semifinals and ESPN2 for the final).
From a national perspective, not so much, despite the fact that the venerable college basketball writer John Feinstein was one of the media members in attendance for the Saturday session. With that said, here is an attempt to grade the event in different categories:
Yale entered last Saturday night’s home game against Penn under second -year head coach Allison Guth with an Ivy record of 2-7, while Penn stood at 8-0. But Yale stunned Penn, 61-48. IHO caught up with coach Guth after the game.
Ivy Hoops Online: After the Princeton loss on Friday night, did you have an indication that your team would step up to the extent that it did against the team which you characterize as the top of the Ivy?
Allison Guth: I believe in this team and our ability to compete at the highest level. The challenge we have faced this season is our ability to perform consistently to our potential. I thought that we had a very inspired focus at shootaround and that our team was prepared to play a poised game vs a very good Penn team.
Trey Phills and Nick Victor are different people. Really.
Phills is a sophomore at Yale and stands 6-foot-2. Victor graduated from Yale last year and stands 6-foot-5. He currently plays in Norway and last week was named Player Of The Week in his league, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Now let the comparisons begin.