Game Preview: Penn at Cornell, Saturday 7PM

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Zack Rosen has been doing it all so far this year, leading a sharpshooting Penn team through a treacherous non-conference schedule. The Quakers take on Cornell on Saturday in Ithaca. (Photo Credit: rushthecourt.net)

Cornell vs. Penn is far from the biggest rivalry in the Ivy League. Some may even argue whether the word rivalry could even be used to discuss the competition between the two teams. However, it seems that every time these two schools meet, something worth watching happens.

  • 03/07/08 – Cornell 94 – Penn 92 (Palestra): A back-and-forth high scoring affair, which included two Adam Gore 4-point plays in one half. The contest didn’t end without its share of controversy as Freshman Tyler Bernardini’s missed heave at the buzzer left Quaker fans looking for a foul call that would have given Penn a chance to win it.

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Game Preview: Princeton at Columbia, Saturday 7PM

Brendan Connolly is coming off a big game against TCNJ. Can he put up another impressive performance against Mark Cisco and the Lions? (Photo Credit: nj.com)

By any conventional metric, Columbia’s chance to compete in the Ivy League this year should have come to a quick and inglorious end on Nov. 14, when senior star Noruwa Agho tore the patellar tendon in his knee in the second half of a loss to Furman. Agho was the Lions’ squad, the All-Ivy player whose transcendent play kept the middling Columbia squad from being embarrassed too badly by the Ivy League opposition. Without him, they’d be nothing…right?

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Game Preview: Penn at Columbia, Friday 7PM

Columbia's Mark Cisco needs to have a big game if Columbia wants to hold court against a dangerous Penn squad. (Photo Credit: gocolumbialions.com)

Penn visits Columbia on Friday night in the conference opener for both squads. Columbia enters the game having won 11 of their last 12, most recently traveling to Elon and knocking off the Phoenix 65-60. Penn comes in off of Tuesday’s 68-57 Big Five loss to La Salle. The Quakers are 4-5 in their last nine games.

Where they Stand

These two teams have just completed very different non-conference slates. Penn, at 7-9, has played a whopping eight teams in Pomeroy’s Top 100. The Quakers are 0-8 in those games, but five of the contests were decided by single-digits and Penn has largely taken care of business against opponents outside of the Top 100.

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Game Preview: Princeton at Cornell, Friday 7PM

Ian Hummer leads Princeton into Ithaca to battle Cornell in the conference opener for both teams.(Photo Credit: goprincetontigers.com)

Princeton travels to Ithaca to take on the Red in the Ivy opener for both squads. The Tigers enter league play having won eight of their last 10, while Cornell comes in having dropped five of six.

A Year Ago

Last season the Tigers swept the Red, taking a two-point victory home from Newman Arena and winning in decisive fashion amidst a northeastern snowstorm in Princeton, NJ. In Ithaca, then-senior Kareem Maddox was the difference, scoring 23 points, including a bucket with 10 seconds left, to ice the victory. Mark Coury and Drew Ferry both missed chances to tie for the Red down the stretch. The second matchup was close for 29 minutes before a 23-7 run gave the Tigers an 18-point win. Ian Hummer led Princeton with 20 points and 9 rebounds in the home victory.

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Game Preview: Brown at Yale, Saturday 2PM

Yale's Greg Mangano has been on a tear lately with four consecutive double-doubles and two straight Player of the Week awards. (Photo Credit: yalebulldogs.com)

As we move into January, there are so many things to be excited about– the NFL playoffs, bowl season, Burmese Independence Day, and for those who are strict adherents to the teachings of the National Association of Fruits and Vegetables, Dried Fruit and Tubers month.

And while for many Americans, football and dried prunes may be the main focus of the first month of the calendar year, the Brown/Yale series typically produces at least one great battle between the squads every January. We have seen splits in 3 of the last 5 years, and two of those have involved both road teams claiming victory. In the Ivy League season, a single loss can be damaging to a team’s title chase, and two losses can be fatal. When any Ivy school comes into the season with dreams of a title run, a good start is so pivotal. Two losses to your travel partner can kill a season mighty quickly. For Yale in this year’s deep league, even a split would be extremely damaging.

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Harvard Outlasts Big Green

The Crimson defended its home court against Dartmouth's upset bid to kick off the 2012 Ivy season.

Harvard-Dartmouth will go down in the books as a 16-point Crimson victory, but for the first 30 minutes Saturday’s game did not have the look or feel of a blowout. The Big Green was every bit Harvard’s equal for much of the Ivy-opening contest.

Dartmouth borrowed from Fordham’s playbook on the defensive end by showing the Crimson a 2-3 zone for the majority of the first half. Once again this approach gave Harvard trouble finding its big men, as forwards Keith Wright and Kyle Casey combined to attempt just four shots in the opening frame. The Crimson settled for three-pointers, taking 10 of its first 18 field goal attempts beyond the arc and hitting just three. At the other end of the floor, the Big Green crushed the offensive boards, grabbing eight in the opening period to overcome nine-of-26 shooting from the field.

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IHO Power Poll: January 9, 2012 (Full Poll)

Harvard remains on top in IHO's Power Poll despite the Crimson's loss at Fordham and struggles at home against a young Dartmouth squad. (Photo Credit: chron.com)

Welcome to the second IHO Power Poll (based on games through 01/08/12). Please note that these rankings are based off of our best guesses of how the Ivy League picture will sort itself out. We always love to hear your gripes and whines in the comments below.

1. Harvard (13-2), (1-0)- Harvard is still the class of the league, even though the Crimson have cooled off a bit since the rousing New Year's comeback victory over St. Joe's. A loss to lowly Fordham and 32 minutes of uninspiring ball against Dartmouth has brought this squad back to the pack a bit. A willingness to rely on the three when Casey and Wright are denied the ball in a zone has proved dangerous for the Cantabs, who surely will be confronted with more of the same going forward. The Fordham loss could be good for Harvard though, as any expectations of running through the league unscathed are a bit far-fetched. The league is deeper than ESPN and other major media sources have been letting on and with the Friday-Saturday grind of the season, players will inevitably get dinged up and legs will get tired. Harvard should still win the league, but chances are they'll be doing it with two or three losses in a conference where everyone is gunning for them.

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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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