Game 1: Dartmouth at Harvard

Keith Wright and company are riding a 21-game win streak at home and a four-game win streak against Dartmouth heading into this Saturday's contest versus the Big Green. (Photo credit: thecrimson.com)

The rain has started to fall on Harvard’s parade, and it’s just in time for the 14-Game Tournament, which begins this Saturday when Dartmouth comes to Cambridge. The 60-54 loss to Fordham on Tuesday will bump the Crimson from the Top 25, likely for the remainder of the season, and will also certainly raise some second thoughts about a team that many had penciled in for a perfect Ivy record.

The Rams made it look relatively easy. They packed in a zone against the Crimson, and for some reason the No. 21/22 team in the nation could not adjust. Harvard forwards Keith Wright and Kyle Casey combined to attempt just seven shots, and the offense gravitated towards the perimeter where the Crimson launched 30 threes. Harvard managed to hit just eight of those attempts despite frequent open looks, with sharpshooters Laurent Rivard, Christian Webster, and Corbin Miller the greatest offenders, hitting one-of-eight, zero-of-five, and zero-of-three, respectively.

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College Park Comeback Falls Short, but Cornell Improves

Coach Bill Courtney made some important in-game adjustments against Maryland, but the comeback fell short as Cornell lost to yet another major conference foe. (Photo Credit: testudotimes.com)

“At the under-12 [media timeout], #Terps hold a 26-5 lead [over Cornell]. Trying to figure out how much of this is #Maryland looking great and [how much of this is] #Cornell being awful.”

Those following Tuesday night’s Cornell vs Maryland matchup may recall reading the above Tweet after about eight minutes of basketball had been played. The author is someone who most likely had not watched more than eight minutes of Cornell Basketball to that point all season. However, he may be on to something. What was it? Maryland playing amazing? Cornell “being awful”? After the first ten minutes of game action, Maryland led Cornell 30-8.

Cornell is not a team that shy away from big time competition. Before Tuesday night’s matchup with Maryland, Cornell had played five BCS road-games under Bill Courtney. In each match-up, Cornell’s play in the opening ten minutes has dictated the tone of the game.

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Princeton Finding Its Stride

Freshman Denton Koon has stepped up for the Tigers, who have won seven of their last nine. (Photo Credit: washingtonexaminer.com)

State of the Tigers, 2012

The Princeton Tigers are undefeated in 2012! The statheads out there will likely call foul and complain about “sample size,” given that Princeton has only played one game so far – a victory over Florida A&M on New Year’s Day. But that win, coming on the heels of a triple OT thriller over Florida State in Tallahassee, pushed the Princeton squad’s record above .500 for the first time all year. The Tigers

sit at 8-7, and have won seven of their last nine games after starting the season an ugly 1-5. With one home game against TNCJ left before a brutal five game road swing to start Ivy League play, let”s take a look at the keys to Princeton’s recent success and the potential problems that remain with the real season set to kick off in just a week and a half.

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A View from Antiquity: Quaker Fans, Consider the Tiger

The following essay appeared in the IHO Mailbox yesterday. The author of this piece is not affiliated with Ivy Hoops Online, but we always welcome and encourage outside contributors and readers to share their opinions and thoughts. 

What could drive a Penn fan to pull for their hated rivals? Harvard, it seems. (Photo Credit: penngazettesports.com)

By The Ancient Quaker

Ladies and gentleman of Pennsylvania do not hate me. I am as loyal and grateful a Quaker as any of you. I donate generously to the annual giving, married a woman with more Penn degrees than Amy Guttmann, and even named one of my sons Benjamin after our great founder. (We didn’t really name him after Big Ben but you catch my drift.) So why would I ever root for the hated and haughty Tigers and their Mickey Mouse Halloween colors?

Allow me to explain.

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Crimson Clip Hawks in Comeback Win

Kyle Casey scored 20 second half points to help Harvard overcome a double-digit halftime deficit against St. Joe's. (Photo credit: thecrimson.com)

After Saturday’s 74-69 win over St. Joes, Harvard assistant coach Yanni Hufnagel tweeted, “Best win I’ve been a part of. Period.” That statement—surprising as it is coming from a coach who’s helped engineer 56 wins for the Crimson—conveyed how richly satisfying the comeback against the Hawks was.

In a game reminiscent of last year’s 24-point comeback against Brown, Harvard withstood an unreal shooting display in the first half (19 of 24 from the floor, six of nine from deep). St. Joe’s guards Carl Jones and Langston Galloway and forward CJ Aiken had their way with the Crimson defense early on. Many of the buckets were the result of good offense (it seemed like the Hawks had success with post ups and kick outs in their four-out, one-in sets that dragged Keith Wright out on the perimeter), but more than a few just had me shaking my head in disbelief (long, turnaround jumpers from Jones were particularly crushing).

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Department of Redundancy: Harvard Beats BC

Laurent Rivard led the way with 18 points, as the Crimson picked up a road win at Boston College for the fourth straight year. (Photo credit: thecrimson.com)

Everyone was surprised that Conte Forum sold out. Generally, the only traveling acts that fill the stands at BC are UNC and Duke. But curiosity got the best of the Eagle faithful, and they came out in droves to see their surprisingly capable neighbors from Cambridge take the court.

It made for a weird atmosphere. The Eagles are a bad basketball team; a kick to the teeth is just too inevitable for fans to muster much enthusiasm. Still, a 14-3 run to start the game brought some life to the crowd. I left for a few minutes with BC leading 20-11 to give a ticket a friend, and when I got back to my seat, the score was tied.

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Common Opponents Analysis (Updated 1/4/12)

The transitive property is not the most reliable method for comparing teams, so despite what Elon says, we're not ready to put Dartmouth ahead of Princeton in our Power Poll.

With about six weeks of play in the books, we thought it was time to look back at the league”s common opponents to see if we could glean any knowledge from what”s happened on the court so far. Everyone knows that the transitive property carries limited weight in sports, but it”s still interesting to see how a team fares against multiple conference foes. Without further ado…

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Reconciling a Moral Victory: Penn State 74, Cornell 67

Cornell lost another close game to a Big Ten opponent, but we learned a lot about the Big Red's depth going forward. (Photo Credit: centredaily.com)

Let me preface this by saying, I’m tired of moral victories. I can deal with them to a point, but after that line is crossed, it’s just an excuse for not finishing games. Illinois and Penn State are not your typical opponent on an Ivy League schedule, I get that. However, once the ball is tipped, it doesn’t matter what name is on the front of the jersey. What I saw was two winnable basketball games.

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Cornell Finds Its Defensive Identity in Illinois

Stifling defense and opportunistic shooting almost led Cornell to a victory over Illinois. Can the Big Red repeat that formula to find success against their Ivy foes? (Photo Credit: baynews9.com)

There isn’t a player in the Ivy League that can break down a defense like Brandon Paul and simultaneously shoot over any guard at 6″ 4″. There also isn’t a player that can shoot the three-pointer from thirty feet and possesses the ability to go by you with a lightening quick first step like D.J. Richardson.  There definitely isn’t a player in the Ivy League like Meyers Leonard who is over seven-feet tall and also has range that extends near the three-point line and a solid back-to-the-basket game befitting a potential NBA lottery pick.

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Tweet of the Week

In this series, we examine the wisest, most insightful, and profound Twitter musings of our favorite Ivy scholars who also happen to play basketball.

The line between a brilliant idea and an obvious one is tenuous. You can chase a supposedly smart thought around your brain only to look up and realize that

somewhere you crossed the line into stupidity. It happens all the time, and this week it happened to Harvard freshman Wes Saunders.

The nature of language has long fascinated scholars like Wes: how does air manipulated by our mouths into sound waves transform into meaning? How is this the case in every corner of the word? Linguistics, which served as a launching point for the careers of such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker, brushes up against every discipline from philosophy to sociology. It is so fundamental to our lives that we hardly ever think about it. Thankfully, we have Wes to remind us of language’s awesome power. 

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