Let the Game Previews Begin!

The Ivies are opening their seasons tonight and tomorrow night, so let’s just commence with the game previews already.

The Teams: Yale (0-0) at Quinnipiac (0-0), Friday, 5:30 p.m.

The Skinny: Quinnipiac returns several key pieces from last year’s Bobcats squad that won seven of eight games in February and carried that momentum into a 69-68 CIT opening-round loss to Yale. Still, two of Quinnipiac’s top three scorers from a season ago – Ike Azotam and Umar Shannon – have graduated, leaving senior guard Zaid Hearst to help fill their void. Expect Yale to win this grudge match as Quinnipiac’s offense searches for its identity in its very first game of the season.

The Teams: MIT (0-0) at No. 25 Harvard (0-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Skinny: Division III at nationally ranked Division I, anyone? Last season, Harvard blasted MIT, 79-37, so even though MIT returns its top two scorers in senior forwards Matt Redfield and Andrew Acker, the Crimson will win their 10th straight home opener tonight.

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Cornell at Syracuse: Scouting Report from SUJuiceOnline

Cornell returns to the Carrier Dome tonight, the site of the program's greatest moment in the 2010 Sweet 16.
Cornell returns to the Carrier Dome tonight, the site of the program’s greatest moment in the 2010 Sweet 16.

In honor of the first game of the Ivy season tonight between Cornell and Syracuse, we got in touch with our friends over at SUJuiceOnline.com to see what the Big Red will be up against. Wesley Cheng was nice enough to give us a scouting report on the Orange. Our exchange is below. If you want to read up on Cornell, check out Jake Mastbaum’s season preview of the Big Red here.

IHO: What kind of team is Syracuse this year? Will they compete for the ACC title?
WC: Syracuse is going to be in the mix for the Final Four again this year. Although they lost three key players from last year’s team — Reigning NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week Michael Carter-Williams, Charlotte Bobcats’ James Southerland, and Brandon Triche — they still have plenty of talent to compete in their first season in the ACC. They were picked No. 2 in the Coaches’ Poll behind Duke and will face the Blue Devils twice this season in a home-and-home that could determine how the standings end up at the end of the regular season. 

IHO: Who should we be on the lookout for?
WC: There are two that will stand out, albeit for different reasons. Tyler Ennis is Syracuse’s new starting point guard, taking over for Carter-Williams. Ennis has showed a lot of poise in preseason and SU doesn’t have a true backup point guard behind him. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said he was going to play between 35-38 minutes a game as a result, which is a lot to put on a freshman. Syracuse will go only as far as he takes them. The other guy to watch out for is ACC Preseason Player of the Year CJ Fair. The senior from Baltimore thought briefly about jumping to the NBA before coming back for his senior season. He can score in a variety of ways, including a silky smooth 3-point shot, and a lefty floater that is very effective. He’s also worked on his post game in the offseason. I expect him to be in the 18-8 range this year.

IHO: Predictions on the game?
WC: It’s going to be a sloppy first half as everyone gets used to playing with each other. The 2-3 zone is always a tough thing to learn, and Syracuse has three new starters to integrate into that system. I expect Cornell to hang with Syracuse before the Orange ultimately pull away in the second half for a 20+ point win.


Check out more from Wesley Cheng and The Juice at SUJuiceOnline.com or on Twitter at @TheJuiceOnline.

Game Preview: Princeton at Syracuse

Princeton visits Syracuse in one of the Ivy League”s most daunting non-conference matchups of the season tomorrow evening. In anticipation of this contest, we sat down with our friends over at  to get the scoop on this year”s Orange squad.

Tell us about your site.

Wesley Cheng:  has been around since 1992. We started as a print magazine and then took our talents to the online world in 2010. Since then, we”ve joined the SNY.tv blog network, covering Syracuse Orange men”s basketball, football and lacrosse.

What is the major storyline around Syracuse this year?

WC: The biggest thing for SU has been replacing the losses of Fab Melo, Dion Waiters and Kris Joseph, who all went to the NBA, and Scoop Jardine, who graduated. They accounted for 58 percent of the Orange”s offense last season, and a lot of teams would be in a rebuilding year. Not Syracuse, though. They”ve got a younger team, but in some ways, they may

be more talented. The starting lineup features three McDonald”s All Americans (two sophomores and a freshman), and several players who can create their own shot. The Orange played a 10-man rotation last season, and Syracuse will once again have a deep bench this season, playing as many as nine guys. Syracuse will once again be prolific in the vaunted 2-3 zone. The shortest scholarship player is 6″4″, and the Orange can trot out a lineup that features three players at 6″9″ or taller in the front court.

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CIT 1st Round: Yale heads to Fairfield

Greg Mangano leads the Bulldogs into the CIT against Fairfield before heading off to the Portsmouth Invitational in April. (Photo Credit: yaledailynews.com)

The Bulldogs finished the Ivy League season in disappointing fashion, meekly dropping their final games against Princeton and then Penn. Fortunately for Yale fans, Yale’s body of work as a whole (19-9, 102 RPI) was good enough to allow them a shot at redemption. Having made it through a selection committee that for some reason included Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson, Yale will travel to Fairfield at 7 PM on Wednesday night to take on the Stags in the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Bulldogs will be just the second Ivy League team to compete in the tournament in its four-year history (the first to play in the new 32-team field, up from 24 in 2011 and 16 the two previous years) and

the first since Jeremy Lin’s Crimson went one-and-done in 2010.

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Game Preview: Yale at Harvard

Yale needs to take care of the ball and get more out of its bench if the Bulldogs want to hang with Harvard at Lavietes tonight. (Photo Credit: thecrimson.com)

The last time that Harvard lost at Lavietes was February 19, 2010, a 79-70 loss to Cornell almost two years to this day. Since then, the Crimson has racked up—after last night’s comfortable 69-42 win over Brown—26 consecutive wins at home, and they now trail only Kentucky (49 wins) for the longest home winning streak in the country (D1). In short, as Yale’s season lies in the balance tomorrow—Yale must win to continue any hopes of seizing an Ivy League title—the Bulldogs are traveling into one of the toughest road environment’s imaginable to make or break their season.

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Game Preview: Cornell at Princeton

Chris Wroblewski is going to need to control the tempo if the Big Red are going to get back on track at Princeton tonight. (Photo Credit: cornellbasketballblog.blogspot.com)

Coming into the weekend, Cornell and Princeton were arguably the hottest Ivy League teams. Both teams entered Friday night looking to capture its longest winning streak of the season after collectively dismissing arguably the two best teams in the conference, Harvard and Yale. Friday night, Princeton surged in the second half to top Columbia while Cornell faltered late and fell at the Palestra. Princeton, who has probably been the most inconsistent team in the league this season will have to put together a complete effort if it doesn’t want to find itself being swept by Cornell for the second time in the last three seasons.

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Game Preview: Dartmouth at Penn

Jvonte Brooks has been on a tear for the Big Green, but it has yet to translate into victories for the winless squad that heads to the Palestra tonight. (Photo Credit: dartmouthsports.com)

The Big Green visit the Palestra tonight after losing yet another second half lead last night at Princeton. The freshmen continue to produce and get valuable court time, but the experience has yet to translate into victories for 0-7 Dartmouth. On the other hand, a frustrated Penn team held Harvard's most potent weapons to 1-15 shooting from the field last night and still lost 56-50. Zack Rosen took the blame for the loss, having shot 6-21 from the field. Penn will look to get back on the right foot tonight, while being in the uncomfortable position of having to root for rivals Princeton against Harvard. If the Tigers can pull the upset at Jadwin, all is not lost for Penn, as the Quakers would still control their own destiny, though it would of course necessitate winning at Harvard.

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Game Preview: Yale at Columbia

Meiko Lyles was en fuego Friday night at Levien. He'll look to continue the hot streak Saturday against Yale. (Photo Credit: gocolumbialions.com)

Yale vs. Columbia usually provides fans with a good show. Sometimes the games are meaningful, other times they are for nothing more than bragging rights among two teams separated by a 15 dollar Metro-North ticket which usually leads to a good crowd. This one does mean something. Despite the overtime loss in Ithaca, the Bulldogs are within two games of first place with Harvard still on the schedule one more time.

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Game Preview: Harvard at Princeton

Douglas Davis is looking to spoil another Harvard title run tonight at Jadwin where the Crimson has not won since 1989. (Photo credit: goprincetontigers.com)

Tonight’s contest at Jadwin is ostensibly a revenge game, but it doesn’t feel like it. The Tigers simply are not the same team anymore. Dan Mavraides, Kareem Maddox, and Sidney Johnson have hit the bricks, Princeton is looking on from the outside of the title race, and the sad truth is that nothing, certainly not a mid-February matchup, will avenge the Crimson’s playoff loss a year ago. Still, tonight’s matchup is one of the best battles that the Ivy League has to offer.

First, the facts: Harvard has not won at Jadwin Gymnasium since 1989; it has not swept the Killer P’s on the road since the 1984-85 season; and it has never started 8-0 in league play. Even at 11-10, a good argument can be made that the Tigers are the second best team in the conference. Its wins over Buffalo, Florida St., and Rutgers are three of the best results on the Ivy League’s collective non-conference resume, and, despite sitting in fifth place, Princeton can easily climb the ranks with six of its final eight games at home.

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Game Preview: Harvard at Penn

Zack Rosen knows that his last chance at an Ivy title may hang in the balance Friday night against Harvard. (Photo Credit: cbssports.com)

On Friday, Harvard heads down to Philadelphia for another one of those games, the exceptional few that shape the title race. Penn, although a half-game behind Yale in the standings after last week’s loss in New Haven, is actually in the best position to catch the Crimson because it hasn’t yet conceded a home defeat to the league leaders. What we have in effect, then, is another No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup, this time staged in one of basketball’s most hallowed gymnasiums.

If this year’s game is even half as good as last year’s, it will

be a memorable night (at the very least, it’s virtually guaranteed to eclipse the 30-point drubbing that Harvard laid on the Elis two weeks ago). In 2011, it took two overtimes to determine the outcome, an 83-82 Crimson victory, and that was not without a fair share of controversy (punctuated by Steve Bilksy wagging his finger in the face of Reggie Greenwood).

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