Season Preview: Columbia Lions

Columbia, led by the Madman of Morningside Heights, will try to prove that it is a contender and not a pretender this year.

 

In 2011-12: 15-15, 4-10, 6th place

A Look Back: Last season, Columbia experienced one of the great examples of Bill Simmons” Ewing Theory in action when Noruwa Agho went down with a gruesome injury in the home opener of the campaign. Agho had been the Lions” leading scorer and all of the team”s offense flowed through the senior guard. In his absence, Columbia was forced to shake things up, work the inside-out game more, and put the rock in Brian Barbour”s hands more often. The result was magical. After falling to 0-4, Columbia ripped off 11 of 12 victories, and looked like a much more balanced, dynamic team. Young players like Alex Rosenberg and Cory Osetkowski saw a lot of court time and proved their worth; Mark Cisco became one of the league”s dominant big men; and Brian Barbour developed quickly into perhaps the league”s most impressive point guard.

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Season Preview: Brown Bears

Several question marks surround this Bears team in Mike Martin”s first year at the helm in Providence.

In 2011-12: 8-23, 2-12, 7th place

A Look Back:

At the start of last season, the Bears had plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Point guard Sean McGonagill was coming off a freshman season in which he was named Rookie of the Year, ranking 4th in the league with 5.4 assists per game and showing he could really fill up the stat sheet with a 39-point explosion against Columbia. Forward Tucker Halpern was primed for a breakout year, having earned an All-Ivy honorable mention as a sophomore after averaging around 12 and 5. McGonagill and Halpern were

also set to receive help in the middle from highly-touted 6-9 Brazilian newcomer Rafael Maia, who was expected to provide a much-needed defensive presence in the middle, as well as some scoring on the block.

Before the season even began, though, Brown caught some horrible breaks: Halpern went down with an illness that would keep him out all year, and Maia was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. With a decimated frontcourt, the Bears had to rely largely on McGonagill, combo guard Matt Sullivan, and sharpshooter Stephen Albrecht, a Toledo transfer, to carry the load offensively. The forward trio of Andrew McCarthy, Tyler Ponticelli, and Dockery Walker all had good stretches at times, but they couldn’t make up for the losses of Halpern and Maia, and Brown finished in second-to-last place in the Ivy League.

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Season Preview: Penn Quakers

Penn will look to its underclassmen to help replace the scoring of Rosen and Bernardini this season.

In 2011-12: 20-13, 11-3, 2nd place.

A Look Back: Two words: Zack Rosen. Not much else needs to be said (but I”ll say it anyway). Quaker fans were led on a roller coaster ride last season thanks to one of the greatest individual performances in recent Ivy League history. But let”s first recall that most people did not expect too much from Penn last year. Rosen, Bernardini, and Cartwright were talented guards, but this team had no size and Jerome Allen was in just his second full season as head coach.

Flash forward to February when the Cardiac Quakers were officially born. Rosen kicked off a magical month by nailing a dagger three pointer in the waning seconds to defeat a pesky Dartmouth squad at the Palestra. The next weekend, the Quakers handled Cornell behind 25 from Rosen and followed that up with an overtime to knock off Columbia.

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Weekend's Best: 11/10

The opening two nights of the college basketball season gave Ivy hoops fans a lot to celebrate. On Friday night, Harvard got the kinks out against a solid D-III squad in MIT and Penn mounted the greatest comeback in program history (!) to knock off UMBC at the Palestra.

On Saturday, the League kept rolling, as Cornell got great production from their guards, beating Western Michigan 80-75, and Princeton won a tight one on the road thanks to some late-game heroics, 57-53 over Buffalo. Yale came out firing against Sacred Heart in a late-afternoon matinee in West Hartford, and looked like they would

cruise to an early victory, but the Pioneers stormed back to force OT and dealt the Bulldogs a painful defeat, 85-82.

In the nightcap, Dartmouth won their first season opener since 2005, slowly pulling away from Maine in the second half at Leede Arena, 67-54, while

Columbia annihilated Furman in South Carolina, 68-47, behind a backcourt barrage. Here are the weekend”s best performances:

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Season Preview: Dartmouth Big Green

A young Dartmouth squad showed flashes of progress last year. They’ll try to take another step forward by moving out of the basement this season.

In 2011-12: 5-25, 1-13, 8th place

A Look Back: Dartmouth has been treading water for a while now, and the last three seasons have been eerily similar: a few non-conference wins, an Ivy home win towards the middle of the season and a whole lot of defeats. The Big Green has won just five games in each of the past three seasons and hasn’t won an Ivy road contest since February 21, 2009, when Ivy Player of the Year Alex Barnett led Dartmouth to victory at Princeton.

Dartmouth opened 1-2 before heading across the continent for the Great Alaska Shootout, falling to San Francisco and

Central Michigan but nabbing a win over DII Alaska-Anchorage. Wins against Elon and Longwood were the only other highlights from a losing non-conference season that mostly featured games against local competition – a 65-47 loss at Notre Dame on Dec. 10 being the notable exception.

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Season Preview: Cornell Big Red

This year, Cornell will look to improve upon last year”s 5th place finish. The Big Red open their season at home against Western Michigan on November 10th.

In 2011-12: 12-16, 7-7, 5th place

A Look Back

Two steps removed from the historic Sweet 16 team and the first season that Bill Courtney had his own recruits to work with, the 2011-2012 campaign served as a building block for Courtney and his program. A 5-9 non-conference record coupled with 7-7 in Ivy play defines

the word mediocrity, but did so in a way that provides promise for the future. An overtime win over future NCAA Tournament darlings, Lehigh, looks a lot better now than it did in early December. Near misses on the road against BCS foes, Illinois, Penn State, and Maryland showed the potential this team had. Road woes and inconsistent play kept the Red out of the league’s top half, but a win over Princeton and a thrilling overtime defeat of Yale showed what this team is at its best. Returning a decorated freshman class, including the league’s rookie of the year will allow Cornell to keep building. What won’t be easy to replicate is the production and leadership of Cornell’s starting backcourt. Drew Ferry led the league in three point shooting and Chris Wroblewski departs East Hill as the school’s all-time assist leader.

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Season Preview: Harvard Crimson

Harvard”s quest to repeat begins at UMass at 10AM on November 13th, as part of ESPN”s 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon.

In 2011-12: 26-5, 12-2, Ivy League Champions

A Look Back: 2011-12 was a breakthrough year for Harvard, as the Crimson won its first outright Ivy League title and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1946. By most measures, it was one of the great teams in league history, perhaps not as memorable as the league”s former March Madness darlings, but certainly belonging in the pantheon of

all-time Ancient Eight squads.

Harvard began the season by reeling off eight straight wins and even took home some hardware at the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis, where the Crimson beat Utah, then-No. 20 Florida St., and NIT-bound UCF over the course of three days. The hot start earned Harvard a Top 25 ranking, but the Crimson stumbled to its first loss in Storrs, Conn., after a 17-3 Huskies run to start the second half was the difference in 67-53 loss to UConn.

Harvard closed out 2011 with four straight wins to reach 12-1 and climb to No.

21 in the polls before it suffered an embarrassing defeat to a Fordham squad that finished the year 10-19. The loss was the first real sign of vulnerability for a Crimson squad that many were claiming would run roughshod over its Ivy competition, and though Harvard would win its next nine contests, that defeat was a harbinger of what became a nail-biting race through the 14-Game Tournament.

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Season Preview: Yale Bulldogs

A win-probability chart of Yale”s most exhilarating victory last season, a 20-point comeback at Columbia. Yale will need more of that magic this year after losing Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite to graduation. (Chart from KenPom.com)

In 2011-12: 19-10, 9-5 in “11-12, 4th place.

A Look Back: The 2011-12 season was a year that Yale had been building towards for quite a while with all-league big man Greg Mangano becoming a senior and a strong supporting cast having formed around him. A successful run through the non-conference slate and the emergence of Reggie Willhite as a team leader and all-around stat stuffer made this Bulldogs team a trendy dark horse pick entering the Ivy season. A comprehensive dismantling of a good Vermont team and a victory at Rhode Island had Eli fans dreaming of dancing for the first time in Coach Jones” tenure. The Bulldogs got safely through the home-and-home with Brown unscathed, setting up perhaps the most highly anticipated hardwood version of “The Game” in decades. A raucous atmosphere awaited the Crimson favorites as they entered John J. Lee on January 27th, 2012. Unfortunately for Yale fans, Harvard put forth an utterly dominating defensive performance, holding Yale to 35 points and coasting to a 65-35 thumping. The Bulldogs were not yet ready for primetime it seemed.

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Countdown to 2012-13

Welcome back, Ivy Hoopheads! There are less than three weeks until the season tips off and we”re getting the gang back together here at IHO. The league is wide open this year after the scandal in Cambridge cost the defending champion Crimson their captains, though an experienced squad in central Jersey may contest that claim. Behind the two favorites, New York”s “C” schools both have the talent to crash Come 2015 large employers with 100 fulltime equivalent employees or more will have to affordablehealth.info fulltime workers. the top-half party and contend, though both teams” youth may prevent them from making that jump. In Philly and New Haven, it may be a step back before another step forward as both teams graduated their stars last spring. The lone coaching change this offseason happened in Providence, where Mike Martin”s Bears may be able to surprise some people if they can finally stay

healthy and get production from their rookies. And finally, the Big Green

will attempt to rise from the basement once more, as the young, promising

nucleus in Hanover gets a year older. So there you have it: the flawed favorites, the unproven dark horses, the likely rebuilders, and the hopeful also-rans.

We”re excited to bring you some interesting angles on the upcoming season over the course of the next few weeks. Check back soon!

-Bruno March

Offseason 2012

With the end of the college hoops season arriving

last week, things are going to go quiet for a little while around here.

Be sure to check back every now and then as we”ll be dropping in from time to

time with news on recruiting, updates on graduati

ng seniors” professional aspirations, and looks ahead to next season. We”ll also spend the dog days of summer making some aesthetic improvements to the site.

We”ll be best online casino back full time in October with more of the

same reporting, perspective, and passion for Ivy basketball. Thank you to everyone who read and commented for being a part of IHO”s inaugural season.

-B.M.