With the first full Ivy weekend in the books, the conference standings are rounding into shape. The current standings offer a clear top four building momentum toward the first ever Ivy men’s basketball tournament and a clear bottom four looking for a second wind.
Our Ivy weekend roundup focuses on a really entertaining club, clutch three-point shooting, a chalk result, some turned tables in a rivalry game, a dry spell, the youngsters taking over and #PathToThePalestra.
1. Princeton (8-6, 1-0)
See Toothless Tiger’s recap for game details, but the team’s 61-52 win over Penn proved they’re a resilient bunch. It’s not easy to withstand a 26-5 run from your archrival, but the Tigers did just that in the second half, hanging on with team-wide superior composure and characteristically clutch play from Devin Cannady. It was Cannady who broke the 44-44 tie following Penn’s gangbusters run and played outstanding defense alongside Myles Stephens down the stretch. Princeton’s defense is more than good enough to carry it to the league’s top slot.
What happened last year: A season after Harvard was a hard-fought one and done in the NCAA Tournament and Yale was snubbed by the NIT, the Ivies had a much better go of the postseason in 2016. Yale earned a No. 12 seed in the Big Dance and upset No. 5 Baylor before nearly sustaining an incredible comeback against No. 4 Duke in round two. It made for a memorable narrative – the Elis, absent from the NCAA Tournament, beat the Bears at their own rebounding game, with a meme-friendly moment after the game.
Yale’s win marked the fifth NCAA Tournament win for the Ivy League since 2010, bringing the league to an impressive 5-7 mark (.417) against substantially higher-seeded competition. The Ivy has proven it can hang with high-majors time and time again, and analytic databases such as KenPom have shown that the league should be nabbing higher seeds in the tourney than it has been this decade.