Four 2014-15 preseason predictions for Ivy basketball

Predictions are a fool’s game … so let’s play!

HARVARD WILL LOSE AT LEAST THREE IVY GAMES

We all know this conference is loaded this season. Columbia, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth return nearly everyone. Even Cornell will be more dangerous with Shonn Miller back, so the Big Red will be poised for an upset or two. So what does that mean for prohibitive conference favorite Harvard?

Tough sledding, obviously, enough for Harvard to drop three conference games this season. Of course, all the Ivies will have to endure that tough sledding, meaning 11 league wins will be enough for Harvard to win a fourth straight conference championship, the same magic number that allowed Harvard into the 2013 Big Dance.

Read moreFour 2014-15 preseason predictions for Ivy basketball

Cornell Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

This preseason, Ivy Hoops Online will be running in-depth roster previews of all eight Ivy teams. We start with the squad projected to finish last in the conference this season, Cornell. 

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Well, let’s start with half full. Braxton Bunce, Galal Cancer and 2012-13 first-team All-Ivy Shonn Miller return after missing all of last season, and Deion Giddens returns after missing most of last year as well. There’s presumably nowhere to go but up from 2-26, and sophomores like Darryl Smith and Robert Hatter will be well-seasoned after getting pressed into action early and often as rookies a year ago.

Read moreCornell Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

Breaking down the Ivy preseason media teleconference

The Ivy basketball preseason media poll was released yesterday, and the results weren’t surprising, with Harvard garnering all 17 first-place votes.

Rank School Points
 1 Harvard (17) 136
 2 Yale 108
 3 Columbia 94
 4 Princeton 88
 5 Brown 75
 6 Dartmouth 47
 7 Penn 39
 8 Cornell 25

 

Then Ivy League’s eight head coaches gave a lot of insight into their respective programs during yesterday’s Ivy preseason media teleconference. They knocked on a lot of wood too. Here’s a comprehensive look at what each coach had to say and what their comments actually mean going forward.

Read moreBreaking down the Ivy preseason media teleconference

Meiko Lyles and Zach En’Wezoh depart Columbia basketball program

After missing the 2012-13 season due to personal reasons, Meiko Lyles posted 5.7 points per game last year. (GoColumbiaLions.com)
After missing the 2012-13 season due to personal reasons, Meiko Lyles posted 5.7 points per game last year. (GoColumbiaLions.com)

Columbia issued a statement from head coach Kyle Smith announcing the departure of senior guard Meiko Lyles and sophomore forward Zach En’Wezoh from the Columbia basketball program.

Smith’s statement reads as follows:

Meiko Lyles and Zach En’Wezoh have decided to leave the program. They both will remain enrolled at Columbia. Meiko decided to take his last year and focus on his academics and securing a job after graduation. Zach’s situation is more medical. He has battled through a series of injuries since he’s been here and, despite his best efforts, does not believe his body can make it through the rigors of another season. Meiko and Zach have been great representatives of our program. We respect and support both of their decisions and wish them nothing but the best.”

While the sting of En’Wezoh’s departure will be mitigated by Columbia’s deep frontcourt, the loss of Lyles is a big one for a program universally thought to be on the rise following last season’s 21-13 finish. Lyles came on strong down the stretch in the regular season last year, hitting a game-winning three to give the Lions a win at Princeton, posting 21 points on 80 percent shooting from the field in a 70-68 win against Brown and providing solid perimeter defense on a consistent basis.

Lyles’s absence will put pressure on freshman guards Kyle Castlin and Nate Hickman to contribute in perhaps greater roles than previously expected, but Lyles’s tight defense will be missed regardless. His D was a factor in Miles Jackson-Cartwright and Tony Hicks’s combined 3-for-15 performance from the field for Penn at Levien Gym late in the season and he helped contain Armani Cotton in Columbia’s 16-point win over Yale.

But that win over Yale may also provide an answer for how replace Lyles going forward.

Steve Frankoski notched 17 points off the bench against the Bulldogs, and the senior guard will have to help fill Lyles’s shoes in 2014-15.

Interview with Yale’s James Jones

Yale's James Jones has led the Bulldogs to 15 consecutive top-half Ivy finishes. This past season's 9-5 team will return most of the rotation and may be Harvard's biggest competition once again.
Yale’s James Jones has led the Bulldogs to 14 consecutive top-half Ivy finishes. This past season’s 9-5 team will return most of the rotation and may be Harvard’s biggest competition once again. (Photo credit: yalebulldogs.com)

Friend of IHO and author Richard Kent– whose basketball work includes Big East Confidential and Lady Vols and UConn: The Greatest Rivalry— sat down this week with Yale head coach James Jones to chat about next season for the Bulldogs. Some of the highlights from their conversation are below.

Richard Kent: The Ivy will be tough next year. Can you envision two NCAA bids?

James Jones: That will be tough, but could happen if two teams tie and have a playoff. We will certainly have some strong teams who will be in the postseason.

RK: Any defections or losses from this year’s team next season?

JJ: Well, Brandon Sherrod is taking a year off to sing and travel with the Whiffenpoofs. He will be back after that.

Read moreInterview with Yale’s James Jones

Harvard Bows Out in Instant Classic

Michigan State 80, Harvard 73, Final.
Michigan State 80, Harvard 73, Final.

Down 16 in the second half against Tom Izzo’s mighty Spartans, Harvard stormed back, capturing the lead and the nation’s attention on Saturday night before ultimately falling short in a 80-73 Round of 32 defeat.

Read moreHarvard Bows Out in Instant Classic

The Shoe Fits Again! Harvard 61, Cincinnati 57

Harvard 61, Cincinnati 57, Final. If you didn't have it in your bracket-- shame on you!
Harvard 61, Cincinnati 57, Final. If you didn’t have it in your bracket– shame on you!

Behind the usual balanced attack, Harvard outplayed Cincinnati for 40 minutes, making clutch shots down the stretch and limiting Sean Kilpatrick’s impact in a 61-57 Round of 64 victory in Spokane.

The Crimson will face Michigan State on Saturday for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.

Read moreThe Shoe Fits Again! Harvard 61, Cincinnati 57

Princeton Holds Off Tulane, Advances to CBI Quarters

Princeton took care of business in the Big Easy, topping Tulane 56-55 behind 16 points from Hans Brase.
Princeton took care of business in the Big Easy, topping Tulane 56-55 behind 16 points from Hans Brase.

The Tigers continued the Ivy League’s creditable showing in the 2014 post-season with a 56-55 victory over the Tulane Green Wave in the opener of the College Basketball Invitational in New Orleans. Princeton was in control of the contest throughout, although Tulane made a strong run at the end. The Green Wave clearly missed the services of leading scorer Louis Dabney, unable to take the court due to recent injury.

TJ Bray, mistakenly identified as “Ivy POY” by the Tulane play-by-play announcer, showed once again why he deserved consideration. Bray joined the Princeton 1000 Point Club with 12 for the game, to go with 9 assists. His 370 assists Red/Black, Even/ Odd, Low/High BetsVoit asettaa panoksen yhteen sarakkeista joka on poydan pitkalla sivulla. leave him just 11 shy of second place in the Tiger career record book. Hans Brase led the Tigers with 16 points.

Read morePrinceton Holds Off Tulane, Advances to CBI Quarters

Take it to the Bank: Bulldogs Dance on

Another night, another postseason Ivy buzzer beater.
Another night, another postseason Ivy buzzer beater. This time, it was Yale edging crosstown rival Quinnipiac behind Justin Sears’ last second heroics.

All season, Yale has relied heavily on IHO Player of the Year Justin Sears. So it only made sense that with the season on the line, down two points to Quinnipiac with the game clock winding perilously low, the Bulldogs would find Sears– even if it wasn’t in his natural zone of dominance in the paint.

Instead, Sears caught the ball out on the wing, took a few dribbles, stepped back, and let fly on his 10th three-point attempt of the season (for reference sake, he’s taken 307 two-pointers). The ball hit glass, then net as the Yale crowd erupted in astonished euphoria, while Quinnipiac supporters that had made the trip down from Hamden stood slack-jawed. Yale 69, Quinnipiac 68. The referees reset the clock to :00.7, but the Bobcats’ full-court heave was picked out of the air by (who else?) Justin Sears and the Elis moved on to the second round of the CIT.

Read moreTake it to the Bank: Bulldogs Dance on

Lo’s Buzzer Beater Sends Columbia Past Valpo in CIT

Maodo Lo knocked down a buzzer beater to send Columbia into the Round 2 of the CIT on Tuesday night.
Maodo Lo knocked down a buzzer beater to send Columbia into the Round 2 of the CIT on Tuesday night.

After two straight big baskets from Cory Osetkowski got Columbia the lead back, Valparaiso’s Vashil Fernandez hit 1 of 2 from the stripe to tie the game at 56 with just :28 on the clock. Holding for one shot, Maodo Lo let the clock tick under five seconds before making his move at the basket. He maneuvered just above the foul line, stepped back, and nailed the game winning jumper to send Columbia into the second round of the CIT as his teammates mobbed him at center court. The road victory was the Lions’ 20th win of the season, the most since 1970. The postseason triumph was Columbia’s first since 1968.

Read moreLo’s Buzzer Beater Sends Columbia Past Valpo in CIT