Ivy Hoops Online’s writing staff voted on where all eight Ivy men’s and women’s basketball teams would end up for the 2019-20 season. Our projected order of finish for the men:
After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April. Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.
On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up. Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign. In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.
Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.
In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.
The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.
Ivy Hoops Online reported Monday that Dartmouth guard Brendan Barry would miss the 2019-20 season due to injury. The Ancient Eight suffered its second major hit of the week Thursday when news broke that Columbia’s Gabe Stefanini injured his left foot and would be having surgery on Friday. Columbia Athletics confirmed the news to IHO later in the day.
Unlike with Barry’s injury, it is unclear how much time Stefanini will miss.
There is no official timetable for Stefanini’s return, but Basketball NCAA editor Riccardo De Angelis, places it at three to five months. If the timetable is correct and the junior guard’s recovery goes optimally well, he could return in time for the end of the Lions’ nonconference schedule against Maine on January 2 and Mount St. Vincent on the 9th to get ready for the Ivy opener at home against Cornell on the 18th.
Days before the Columbia University Marching Band prepared to take the field for the Lions’ football home opener against Georgetown on Saturday afternoon, band leadership was informed by Athletics Director Peter Pilling, Associate Athletics Director Bob Steitz, and Director of Student Engagement William Lucas that the group would not be allowed to perform at upcoming athletic events. The group, which has been in existence since 1904 and battled the university administration for years, “will no longer exist in any official capacity,” it announced in an official statement Wednesday.
- Princeton’s Bella Alarie completed her last 3×3 tournaments with USA Basketball with a silver medal effort in Edmonton this past weekend and a bronze medal showing in Montreal in early September. Overall, her team came in seventh place in the 28-team field.
The two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who also picked up a silver medal with USA Basketball at this summer’s Pan American Games, continues to improve her stock as she heads into her final year for the Tigers. Michelle Williams of the WNBA listed Alarie as one of the 12 potential first-round picks in next years’s Draft, while Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops had her as the number five pick for the Minnesota Lynx.
- Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker told Jon Rothstein that 2018 men’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Seth Towns, has been cleared for non-contact work. Towns, a co-captain of this year’s Crimson team, missed all of last year due to a knee injury sustained in the 2018 Ivy Tournament final against Penn.
Earlier this month, the senior from Columbus, Ohio, was one of 16 players attending the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis.
On Wednesday morning, coach Dave McLaughlin released the schedule for Dartmouth men’s basketball. The Big Green’s 14 Division I nonconference games, heavy on regional opponents and light on highly ranked rivals, will be highlighted by trips to Tampa to take on the defending College Basketball Invitational champion and Lowell for the inaugural River Hawk Invitational.
The Green have only five non-Ivy games at Leede Arena, but they will get to see neighboring Vermont, which is the three-time defending America East regular season champion and ranked in the Top-100 heading into this season. The team will hit the road for 10 games before league play, including the Nov. 8 opener at defending MAC champion Buffalo, which went 32-4 last year and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Cornell head coach Dayna Smith announced her team’s 2019-20 schedule on Wednesday afternoon, unveiling a 13-game nonconference schedule that features seven home matches as well as games against teams from the Big 12 and Atlantic 10.
The Big Red’s early schedule is dominated with contests against tri-state neighbors, Albany, Binghamton, Colgate, Duquesne, Lafayette, Niagara, NJIT and St. Bonaventure, but the team will branch out with a visit from East Tennessee State and trips to TCU and West Virginia.
The Columbia women’s basketball nonconference schedule was released on July 30 and the league potion of the schedule was finalized on Monday morning. Coach Megan Griffith’s Lions have a 13 game pre-Ivy schedule featuring seven home contests and four games against NCAA Tournament teams.
After starting the season on the road at Albany and opening up the home slate against St. Joseph’s, Columbia faces three straight NCAA teams in an eight day period. First up is Fordham on November 10. The Atlantic 10 champion Rams were 25-9 last season, including a 68-49 victory over the Lions.
Five days later, the Light Blue travel to upstate New York to take on defending MAC champion Buffalo. Two years ago, Felisha Legette-Jack’s Bulls, visited Levien Gymansium and escaped with a buzzer-beating 65-63 win. Buffalo would eventually go on to the Sweet 16 that season. The Lions close the streak at NEC champion Robert Morris on November 17.
Featuring 18 contests against teams ranked in the top 150 and highlighted by trips to the Carrier Dome and the Bryce Jordan Center, the Cornell men’s basketball teams released its 2019-20 schedule on Thursday. The Big Red will attempt to develop their young squad over a 13-game nonconference schedule to again exceed expectations and return to the Ivy League Tournament after a one-year absence.
Following early games with Binghamton and Bryant, Cornell welcomes NJIT to Newman Arena on November 13. Last season, the Big Red defeated the Highlanders by six in Newark and look to make it two-in-a-row over the ASUN’s second best team. Three days later, the Red head to the midwest to take on DePaul of the Big East. This game would have had more intrigue had Bill Courtney remained on the Blue Demons’ staff, but the former Cornell head coach (2010-2016) left for Miami in June.
On November 20, Cornell heads up I-81 for its yearly trip to Syracuse. This year’s game will be third meeting between junior Jimmy Boeheim and his Hall of Fame father Jim, as well as the 125th overall between the nearby schools. Last year’s 63-55 loss was the 39th in a row, but the closest game against the Orange since 2005.
Columbia men’s basketball head coach Jim Engles announced his team’s nonconference schedule on July 31, but it would be over a month before Columbia Athletics released the remaining 14 Ivy contests. With the schedule now complete, the Lions will look to use its 16 nonconference games as a springboard to the program’s first ever spot in the Ivy Tournament.
The highlight of the first half of the Lions schedule is an early season four-game tournament which includes a match against the defending national champions and a battle for New York supremacy.