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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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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IHO's Mid-December Power Poll

Harvard coach Tommy Amaker is probably dancing because his team is #1 in IHO's first Power Poll of the season. (Photo Credit: AP)

Welcome to the first IHO Power Poll (based on games through 12/16/11). 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.

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Yale Mid-December Evaluation or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bulldogs

Yale fans may have been frustrated after the loss to Quinnipiac, but the Bulldogs have pulled it together and chalked up five wins in a row behind Mangano, Willhite, and Morgan.
“……if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing… but we got one little budge on them Rooskies. At this height why they might harpoon us but they dang sure ain't gonna spot us on no radar screen!”

When Major T.J. King Kong said those words back in 1964, it's likely he wasn’t referring to the 2011-12 Yale men's basketball team. That said, if any team is flying way under the radar, but quietly performing up to the high expectations presented to them, it is Coach Jones' Yale Bulldogs.

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Piece by Piece, Cornell Slowly Putting It Together

Coach Bill Courtney has to be pleased with what he has seen from his previously unproven squad. The Big Red are 3-4 with a couple of nice wins heading into the Finals layoff. (Photo Credit: syracuse.com)

“We’re building something here. We’re building it from scratch. All the pieces matter,” Lester Freamon proclaimed to Prez in HBO’s hit series, The Wire. “All the pieces matter,” a simple adage, rings true with what Head Coach Bill Courtney is trying to accomplish with his young team; a team that builds, day by day, game by game. The 13-day intermission between Cornell’s win over Lehigh and its matchup with Albany on Friday night comes at the perfect time. Courtney has a chance to slow down, take a step back and use what he has learned over the team’s first seven games to grow.

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Dartmouth is the Harvard of A Cappella, Not Basketball

Gabas Muldunas has been a bright spot in Dartmouth's 2-5 start to the season. (Photo credit: dartmouthsports.com)

The second-place finish of the Dartmouth Aires on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” will likely be the competitive highpoint of the winter for the Big Green. Women’s basketball, women’s hockey, and men’s hockey are already craning their necks to view the top of their respective standings (non-conference and conference alike). Not surprisingly, men’s basketball is in the same boat.

The problems are familiar for this Dartmouth squad. The team is posting an offensive rating of just 89.0 (322nd out of 345 teams), which, incredibly, is a slight improvement over last season. The defense is vastly better but still below average, with a rating of 102.0 (a 6.3 point improvement over last season).

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Red Hot Lions Win Thriller over Holy Cross

Columbia's Mark Cisco was too much to handle for Holy Cross down the stretch in the Lions' 46-45 victory. The senior hit the game-winning free throw with just 2.4 seconds remaining. (Photo Credit: gocolumbialions.com)

For the first twenty minutes tonight, Columbia’s offense struggled to create open looks against an energized and determined Holy Cross team. Down 30-14 at halftime, the Lions looked lost and exhausted. And it was completely understandable. No one in the 539 people order diflucan in attendance would have faulted Columbia if the Lions had come back out in the second half and lost by 10 or 15 points. After all, this was their fourth game in five days. Coach Smith’s bunch had just knocked off five opponents in a row, including three in three days on a West Coast trip to Los Angeles. They had no legs in the first half, as evidenced by the 5-21 shooting effort that had yielded them 14 points, led by big man Mark Cisco’s whopping four.

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Breaking News: Brown's Halpern Applying for Medical Redshirt; Out for Season

Tucker Halpern, Brown's leading scorer and All-Ivy Honorable Mention selection in 2010-11, will not play this season according to sources within the program. Halpern, who has been sidelined with a debilitating bout of mono since the preseason, is in the process of applying to retain a year of eligibility, meaning he would return in 2012-13 as a junior with two years of eligibility remaining.

While relatively rare in cheap clomid the Ivy League, medical redshirts have been obtained by a few active Ivy players who experienced similar illness or injury. Penn's Tyler Bernardini successfully retained a year of eligibility after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot after the Quakers' second game of his junior year. Cornell's Dwight Tarwater missed his freshman season last year due to mono, but retained four years of eligibility, as did the Big Red's Dominic Scelfo due to a knee injury last season.

In the short-term, this is more bad news for the Bears. Earlier in the season, freshman Rafael Maia was declared ineligible by the NCAA for the 2011-12 season.

Brown takes on Providence College tonight at 7:00 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

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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.

After a monumental win, you’d forgive a player for experiencing a range of emotions. Sometimes the mood is joyous and proud; other times it’s tired and reflective. Rarely, if ever, is it indignant. But Harvard forward Kyle Casey blazed a new trail with this reaction after the Crimson beat No. 20/22 Florida St. last week:

After two games’ worth of commentary extolling the virtue of Harvard’s unselfish, team-first approach, the irony of Casey’s tweet was rich and delicious. I laughed out loud because it so flagrantly violated the expectations of the moment. I wasn’t alone in my surprise either, as I received an email just minutes after the post with the subject heading, “what a dick”. But such a public display of egotism is so easy to criticize that I’d rather explore what’s praiseworthy about it.

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