Will Someone Help Rosen Win an Ivy Title? Bueller…

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The senior point guard has been nothing short of “ridiculous” so far, but will that be enough for the Quakers? (Photo credit: pennathletics.com)

I probably don’t need to tell you that Zack Rosen has been fantastic in Penn’s first two games. Just look at the stats: 26.5 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 19 of 33 from the field (58 percent), 11 of 16 from three (69 percent). Ridiculous.

But we all knew that Rosen would come out firing during his final season. No one wants an Ivy League title more than he does, and he’s going to give every last ounce of effort to try to capture one. Unfortunately, much of what will decide whether Penn is a contender or pretender will be out of Rosen’s hands.

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BREAKING NEWS: Brown's Rafael Maia Ineligible for 2011-2012 Season

The NCAA has ruled on Brown’s appeal regarding the eligibility of Rafael Maia, their heralded freshman big man from Brazil. Maia, who was considered a favorite for Ivy League Rookie of the Year, will be ineligible to play for the Bears during the 2011-2012 season, according to a source close to the team. The news comes as another blow to the Bears, who are struggling to get out of the blocks at the beginning of this season, following losses to Albany and Manhattan.

Maia’s ineligibility stems from the following NCAA rule passed in April of 2010:

“Any student‐athlete who does not initially enroll full‐time in a collegiate institution within one year or the next opportunity to enroll following the high school graduation date of the prospective student‐athlete’s class and participates in organized events after that grace year will be charged with a season of intercollegiate competition for each year of participation and must fulfill an academic year in residence at the certifying
institution before being eligible to compete.”

After graduating from high school in December of 2009 (as is the case in Brazil and most of the Southern Hemisphere), Maia went and played a PG year at Maine Central Institute. Because Maia played the entirety of his PG year at MCI, he went past the one year of post-high school graduation organized activities that the NCAA allows. Maia will be eligible to play next year, but will only have three years of eligibility remaining.

Brown is also missing co-captain and returning leading scorer Tucker Halpern, who continues to struggle with a bout of mono. The Bears return to action on November 19th, at home against Hartford.

An Ugly Win's a Win: Harvard at Holy Cross

Co-captain Keith Wright flushes an alley-oop for two of his 15 points in a Harvard victory over Holy Cross last night. (Photo credit: gocrimson.com)

For the first 32 minutes, Tuesday night’s game at Holy Cross was reminiscent of last year’s early season matchup against Bryant. In both instances, Harvard played down to the level of its opponent—so far beneath its potential that you had to wonder if the Crimson would be able to snap out of its funk in time to avoid the loss. This time, Harvard didn’t need to rally in the last minute as it did against the Bulldogs, instead relying on a spark from freshman forward Wesley Saunders to jumpstart a decisive run over the final eight minutes of a 73-64 win.

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Game Preview: Cornell at Buffalo

Cornell's breakout freshman, Shonn Miller, put on a show against Binghamton. WIll he continue his success against Buffalo? (Photo Credit: Simon Wheeler, pressconnects.com)

Game 3: Cornell (1-1) @ Buffalo (1-0) – November 16 – Alumni Arena – Buffalo, NY
By Sam Aleinikoff & Jake Mastbaum

Cornell looks to continue rolling after picking up their first win of the season over Binghamton Monday night in impressive fashion. For now, some of the questions that were raised after Friday’s loss to St. Bonaventure have been answered, but long term viability remains a question. Can Eitan Chemerinski continue to be a threat offensively? Is Shonn Miller the real deal? Big Red fans will be able to take another early look at Bill Courtney’s squad Wednesday night as Cornell take their act back to the road, looking to make it two straight against the Buffalo Bulls.

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Panic in Princeton

It's probably a little early to panic if you're a Princeton fan, but Saturday's opener was ugly. (Photo Credit: goprincetontigers.com)

The sky is not falling. Harold Camping has not, to my knowledge, revised the ever-changing date of his apocalypse to some time later this week. And the Mayans still give us another 12-odd months until the end of the world.

But premature or not, it’s panic time in central New Jersey, after the Princeton basketball team suffered a humbling defeat Saturday on its home court to middling NEC foe Wagner, 73-57. For the Tigers, the game was an ugly, foul-filled, turnover laden affair, featuring an especially brutal nine minute run in the second half where the Tigers failed to put the ball through the basket altogether.

So what happened? With the clear-eyed hindsight of a few days to ruminate on the meltdown, here are a few thoughts about what the Wagner Seahawks exposed as weaknesses in the Tigers’ game.

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Agho Goes Down as Lions Fall to Furman

Last year's leading scorer in the Ivy League, Noruwa Agho, went down with an ugly knee injury in tonight's game. His status going forward is unknown.

In the Ivy League, where at-large postseason bids are pretty hard to come by, the non-conference season is often treated as a warm-up lap, a series of exhibitions dedicated to getting the kinks out and teaching players the system. When January rolls around and the league slate begins, the fourteen-game tournament brings with it a whole new level of intensity. Since that’s the way it is in our corner of the college basketball landscape, there is absolutely nothing more debilitating and frustrating than a serious injury in November or December. For Columbia, that nightmare scenario came to fruition in the late stages of a loss to the Furman Paladins.

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Game Preview: Cornell vs. Binghamton

Cornell looks to avenge a one-point loss to Binghamton a year ago. (Photo credit: cornellbigred.com)

Less than 72 hours after a tough loss at St. Bonaventure, the Big Red opens up at Newman Arena in search of its first win of the year. Friday night’s game raised more questions than it answered: Can Cornell shoot the three-ball with consistency? Who will play the 4 in Peck’s absence? Have Jake Matthews and Max Groebe gotten the short end of the stick with new freshmen arrivals in the backcourt? Will Chemerinski and Figini be able to hold their own in the post?

The Big Red hopes to begin to answer all of these questions and more as it takes the floor against Binghamton tonight.

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Dartmouth Surprises, and Fails to Surprise, in Opener

The Scarlet Knights held off a young Big Green squad, 62-56, in the season-opening game for both teams. (Photo credit: www.nj.com)

The last time Dartmouth beat a BCS program was Dec. 19, 1989, when the Big Green (under head coach Paul Cormier) topped Texas A&M, 64-51. Technically, the Aggies weren’t even a BCS program then, because, well, the BCS didn’t yet exist. Nor did the Big 12 for that matter. Texas A&M was a member of the now defunct Southwest Conference. So you might be forgiven if you thought Dartmouth had no shot against Rutgers in its season opener.

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The Morning After (11/12/11): Last Night's Best Performers

UConn's Jeremy Lamb went up and over Columbia's Mark Cisco during last night's 70-57 loss for the Lions. Lamb's showstopping dunk was good for the Top Play on SportsCenter. (Photo Credit: ESPN.com)

Brown, Sean McGonagill: The Bears’ sophomore point guard picked up where he left off last season with an impressive 20 point (7-12 shooting), 10 assist performance in a 86-66 victory against D-III Johnson & Wales.

Columbia, Blaise Staab: Staab came out of nowhere to be the bright spot for Columbia on a night when Agho and Barbour couldn’t finish at the rim. Staab, who played a grand total of 70 minutes in his first three years in New York, finished with a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) and looked comfortable mixing it up with the nation’s best in Storrs, CT during the Lions’ respectable 70-57 loss.

Penn, Zack Rosen: Rosen had a monster night for the Quakers, tallying 26 points on 10-16 shooting, including 4-6 from range. The Quakers put UMBC away early in the second half behind some shutdown defense en route to a 59-45 triumph.

Yale, Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite: The Bulldogs held off a late charge from CCSU to win their opener 73-69 behind 23 points and 13 rebounds from their senior star, Mangano. Captain Reggie Willhite also had a big night, dropping in 21 and adding six steals and six boards.

Game Preview: Princeton vs. Wagner

Princeton takes a 16-game home winning streak into their season opener against Wagner tomorrow. (Photo Credit: nj.com)

Saturday is homecoming in Princeton, New Jersey: a frenzied, booze-fueled bacchanalia in honor of alumni returning to campus to watch the football team lose to Yale. But new head coach (and Princeton class of ‘98) Mitch Henderson will be celebrating a very different sort of homecoming on Saturday afternoon as Princeton basketball opens its 2011-2012 season at home against Wagner.

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