Princeton Season Preview – Not Just Paper Tigers

What happened last year (22-7, 12-2): With Yale’s performance declining mid-slate and Jack Montague’s departure via expulsion, Princeton looked to be closing in on at least forcing an Ivy playoff game, and during Yale’s overtime win over Dartmouth, it looked like Princeton would clinch outright. But then it was the Tigers who stumbled, thanks to Patrick Steeves’ career game on the final Friday night of conference play. Then came an 86-81 NIT loss at Virginia Tech.

What’s new: Not much, and that’s just the way Tigers fans want it. Hans Brase returns after having a torn ACL last year, bringing with him a strong rebounding presence (particularly on the defensive end), an ability to get to the foul line, and a knack for stretching a defense with three-point shooting. All other major contributors from last season return.

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Harvard Season Preview – Crimson in clover

When Harvard lost six out of its first seven games against Division I opponents last season, you could hear them. When Harvard started out Ivy play 2-7, you could hear them. When Harvard finished the season 14-16 with a 6-8 record in the Ivy League, you could really hear them.

The murmurs.

Maybe you even started hearing them last August when it was announced that Siyani Chambers had torn his ACL, and that he would miss the entire 2015-16 season. Or maybe they became audible on Jan. 18, 2015, when Harvard landed Chris Lewis, the first of seven recruits who, on paper, comprise the best recruiting class on paper in Ivy League history. Or maybe they started five years ago when current Harvard senior Zena Edosomwan became the first ever top-100 recruit to commit to an Ivy League school.

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Yale Season Preview – A repeat to remember?

What happened last year (23-7, 13-1): Nothing to see here, just the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 54 years and a thrilling NCAA first-round win over Baylor. Now graduated forward Justin Sears picked up a second straight Ivy Player of the Year award and now-junior guard Makai Mason established himself as a potential Ivy Player of the Year in future seasons with his clutch play all year, including a 31-point performance against Baylor.

For a deeper look back at Yale’s banner year, read our Ian Halpern’s comprehensive chronicle from April of the Bulldogs’ rise to championship history.

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Penn Season Preview – YouthQuake

What happened last year (11-17, 5-9): Last year, Penn fans got pretty much all they could expect from the Quakers in Steve Donahue’s first year as head coach of the Quakers. Penn got off to a 4-1 nonconference start and even climbed to 5-5 in league play before dropping the last four games of the season.

Two white-knuckle losses to Princeton (including blowing a 97.6 percent win probability after leading 64-55 with 3:02 left in the first matchup at the Palestra), perhaps even more than Penn’s conference wins, provided a glimpse of what the Quakers could be more consistently under Donahue going forward:

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Columbia Season Preview – Watermarks and Engles

What happened last year (25-10, 10-4): Columbia was expected to vie for last year’s Ivy title with Yale and Princeton, but an overtime loss at home to Princeton midseason relegated Columbia to a lower tier within the conference and a CIT appearance. Columbia made the most of the CIT, though, winning the tournament and sending off the four that roared – Isaac Cohen, Maodo Lo, Grant Mullins and Alex Rosenberg as champions. Then Kyle Smith subsequently left to coach at San Francisco, and Jim Engles from NJIT was tapped to succeed him.

What’s new: With the four that roared gone, senior forward Luke Petrasek will likely be asked to shoulder much more of the offensive burden than he did a year ago, but more on that later.

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Dartmouth Season Preview – Turnover in Hanover

What happened last year: (10-18, 4-10 Ivy): Dartmouth was expected to take a step back after notching its first postseason appearance since 1959 in 2015, particularly after Gabas Maldunas’ graduation and Alex Mitola’s transfer. And the Big Green did, via a five-game skid in late January and early February, followed back-to-back overtime losses at Brown and Yale. After the season, Dartmouth Athletic Director Harry Sheehy dismissed coach Paul Cormier, who was six years into his second stint in Hanover. Cormier had gone 54-116 (.318) overall and 23-61 (.274) in his second stint in Hanover. The Big Green had gradually improved during his tenure, but Sheehy told the Dartmouth in an outstanding piece by Alexander Agadjanian that he wanted to see greater player development and recruiting, prompting him to choose a different direction for the program.

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Cornell Season Preview – The Big Red reset

What happened last year: (10-18, 3-11 Ivy) Cornell was projected to finish last in the league and did just that despite a 2-2 start to league play that included back-to-back wins over Harvard and Dartmouth fueled by freshman phenom Matt Morgan. With a nine-game Ivy skid doing the Big Red’s season in, coach Bill Courtney was dismissed after going 60-113 in six years in Ithaca.

What’s new: The coach, for one. Princeton playing legend and all-star assistant Brian Earl jumped at the opportunity to lead a program, taking over the reins from Courtney and poised to make the Big Red less frenetic at both ends of the floor over time. The team’s lone freshman, Josh Warren, reportedly brings with him a comfort level in the post that the Big Red often lacked last season, and he also brings with him a natural rivalry with Penn freshman Ryan Betley. (Warren and Betley both attended Downington West in Downington, Pa.) But as a Courtney recruit, Warren apparently prefers an up-tempo style, which leads us to …

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Brown Season Preview – Bruno scars

What happened last year: (8-20, 3-11 Ivy) The Bears’ 2015-16 season was underwhelming overall. Brown tied for last in the conference despite being projected to finish fifth in the preseason media poll with two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah still in tow and an unusual level of offensive depth. But a five-game skid in league play in February followed back-to-back 24-point losses to Yale and Princeton in the Bears’ second and third conference matchups, a tough slog for Brown.

What’s new: Kuakumensah is gone after leading the league in blocks and three-point percentage as well as ranking second in rebounding last season. Say howdy to freshmen forwards Joshua Howard and David Erebor as well as rookie center Brandon Charnov and frosh guard Brandon Anderson, who selected Brown over Columbia. Most of Brown’s offensive playmakers return, but the Bears were projected to finish last in the conference in this year’s preseason media poll, probably because of Brown’s distinct lack of defensive fortitude last season.

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