Season Preview: Cornell Big Red

A young Cornell squad will need to "build together" this season as Shonn Miller recovers from shoulder surgery.
A young Cornell squad will need to “build together” this season as All-Ivy star Shonn Miller recovers from shoulder surgery.
In 2012-13: 13-18, 5-9, T-6th place, No Postseason.
 
Believe it or not, there are teams not named Harvard playing basketball in the Ivy League this season. I know, shocking. One of these teams is the kids from Ithaca. I use kids almost literally. That’s what you’re going to see a lot of this season from Cornell: kids. Robert Hatter, Nolan Cressler, Devin Cherry, Dwight Tarwater, and David Onuorah are Cornell’s opening day starters, a lineup that includes two freshman and just one senior. 
 
There are a lot of firsts here. This is the first time since the start of the 2008-09 season that Cornell did not start at least two seniors. That night, Jason Battle was the lone fourth-year player in the starting lineup, contributing four points in 17 minutes to a ten point victory over South Dakota. This is the first time since the start of the 2006-07 season that Cornell has had a freshman in its starting lineup. That night Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale combined for 25 points en route to top Northwestern.

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Season Preview: Columbia Lions

Can Columbia learn how to win close games this season with a young roster of sharpshooters and unproven big men?
Can the Lions learn how to win close games this season with a young roster of sharpshooters and unproven big men?

In 2012-13: 12-16, 4-10, 8th place, No Postseason.

A Look Back

Before the start of last season, some considered Columbia a dark horse contender for the Ivy title. After a promising 8-6 non-conference record that included a dominant road victory over Villanova, that preseason prediction didn”t appear too farfetched. However, Columbia limped through a frustrating 4-10 Ivy League campaign. Senior Brian Barbour was banged up all year, while Mark Cisco averaged a career low 45.6% from the field and 8.1 points per game – 2 points below his junior season”s average. Alex Rosenberg shot an abysmal 26.7% from three, and Kyle Smith didn’t call for enough screens to free up Steve Frankoski. It seemed that many of Columbia”s losses were either the result of bad timing or bad luck. 

On the brighter side, last season we saw the emergence of two future all-Ivy League shooters, Grant Mullins and Steve Frankoski. The twine-tickling tandem combined for a 100-239 (42%) mark from behind the arc in the 2012-13 season, and could see those offensive numbers improve with the return of junior guard, Meiko Lyles. Lyles should get his fair share of defensive attention on the perimeter himself, and take some of it off of Frankoski and Mullins.

A player who showcased maturity and development during the tail end of the season was sophomore guard, Maodo Lo. He came onto the scene in the middle of the season, and showed a dynamic offensive game and gritty on-the-ball defense. As a likely candidate for Ivy breakout player, how can you not be high on Lo? 

It”s always tough to lose seniors – especially Barbour, Cisco and Daniels. Barbour is an obvious loss, and given his previous All-Ivy seasons, Columbia will need some of the younger players to step in and provide some much needed leadership at the point. Cisco – disregarding my personal frustrations with his finishing inside – had his moments, and will need to be replaced as a big body inside. John Daniels will be missed for his defense, energy off the bench, rebounding efficiency, and his legendary flush over IHO Defensive POY and Cornell rim-protector, best online casino Shonn Miller.

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Season Preview: Dartmouth Big Green

With its core returning, can the Big Green crack the top half of the league for the first time since 2009?
With its core returning, can the Big Green crack the top half of the league for the first time since 2009?

In 2012-13: 9-19, 5-9, T-6th place, No Postseason

A Look Back

Breakthrough years usually consist of more than a 5-9 record and second-to-last finish in the conference, but last season represented a quantum leap for a squad that had gone 3-39 in Ivy League play since 2009. Dartmouth went three years between Ivy League road wins in that span and a trip to Leede Arena was usually viewed as a reward for enduring Harvard the previous night on the northern road trip.

Things were different in 2012-13. If not for a last-minute meltdown, the Big Green would have beaten eventual champ Harvard on the road in January. And even after that overtime loss, Dartmouth held its own, playing every team close at least once en route to five wins in the conference.

The task now facing Paul Cormier as he enters the fourth year of his second stint in Hanover is to better that record once again and finish .500 or higher in the Ancient Eight. He’ll attempt to do that with most of last year’s team intact. Center Matt LaBove, the sole graduating senior, averaged just four minutes per game. The only significant loss is junior forward Jvonte Brooks, the team’s leading scorer two years ago who chose instead to play for the Big Green football team. Brooks and Cormier did not get along, and a thumb injury only made it more difficult for Brooks to see the court. Ultimately Brooks played just two minutes over the final eight Ivy League contests, during which Dartmouth went 3-5. Though Brooks could help this year’s team, the Big Green still managed all right without him last year.

One of the youngest teams in the country last year, Dartmouth was led by forward Gabas Maldunas, who became the first Dartmouth player to earn All-Ivy honors since 2009 (Second Team). Guards Tyler Melville and Alex Mitola both shot better than 39% from beyond the arc last season, and freshman forward Connor Boehm proved a decent scoring option in the post alongside Maldunas, though the two struggled to find success at the same time. Melville in particular flourished after Cormier inserted him into the starting lineup on Feb. 2 and his 9-of-11, 23 point performance almost keyed an upset at Princeton on March 2.

2012-13 was a year of fits and starts for the Big Green, as the team endured a five-game midseason losing streak before winning three of its last four to avoid its fourth consecutive last-place finish. Consistency will be the key this season if a young Dartmouth team is to take the next step.

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Season Preview: Harvard Crimson

WIth the return of a pair of All-Ivy seniors and the arrival of a precocious freshman, a loaded Harvard team embarks on its quest to four-peat.
WIth the return of a pair of All-Ivy seniors and the arrival of a precocious freshman, a loaded Harvard team embarks on its quest to four-peat.

In 2012-13: 20-10, 11-3, 1st Place, Third Round NCAA Tournament

A Look Back

Last August, few would have been shocked to learn that Harvard would eventually go on to win its third-straight Ivy League title, reach its second-consecutive NCAA Tournament, and capture its first-ever postseason victory in the 2012-13 season. But no one could have imagined the winding path that would lead the Crimson there. 

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Season Preview: Yale Bulldogs

Yale looks to improve upon last season's surprising 3rd place finish as Justin Sears and the Bulldogs open up against Central Connecticut State before traveling up to Storrs to take on UConn on November 11th.
Yale will try to improve upon last season’s 3rd place finish as Justin Sears and the Bulldogs look to resume their domination of the glass in an Ivy gym near you.

In 2012-13: 14-17, 8-6, 3rd place, No Postseason.

A Look Back

After the first weekend of February 2013, it looked more likely that Yale would finish in last place in the Ivy League than 3rd place. The Bulldogs were coming off of a throttling in Hanover at the hands of lowly Dartmouth, and only had an overtime home victory over Brown to show through four league contests. At 1-3 and heading south to face the P’s, the Elis were staring 1-5 right in the face. But something special happened on that trip: Yale developed an identity as a physical, glass-crashing basketball team. Behind 32 offensive rebounds in two nights, the Bulldogs swept the Penn-Princeton road trip for the first time since 1987. That weekend propelled the young team, which was largely considered to be in a rebuilding year, back into the top half of the Ancient Eight for the 13th consecutive season. Freshman Justin Sears emerged as one of the league’s best rookies, crashing the offensive boards as well as anyone in the conference, and showing a knack for getting to the line and scoring. Sophomore Armani Cotton also made a splash, going for a career high 20 points and 12 rebounds in a win against Holy Cross, and earning a more central role as the season progressed. The Elis finished the year with three straight victories, including another sweep of Penn and Princeton, this time in New Haven–shaking up the title chase and sending old Blue into the offseason with some serious momentum for 2013-14.

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Season Preview: Pennsylvania Quakers

Penn looks to build on last year's impressive youth showing to catapult up the Ivy standings in '13-14.
Penn looks to build on the foundation laid by last year’s young team as the Quakers try to catapult up the Ivy standings in ’13-14.

In 2012-13: 9-22, 6-8, 5th place, No Postseason.

Yes, it is I, The AQ. ready to bring you yet another year of irreverent awesomeness on IHO.

My friends, history is replete with examples of improbable victory against overwhelming odds: David and Goliath, Alexander and Darius III, Henry V over the French at Agincourt, the RAF over the Luftwaffe, and, of course, my Mom over the PS 45 PTA. Now it appears that this year on the Ivy hardwood, hoop fans of seven schools are hoping that history can somehow repeat itself. This is because the media, as early as last May, and not without reasonable justification, has already awarded the Crimson the Ivy crown. By now we’ve all heard the talk: “the Harvard B squad alone could win”, “Zena Edosomwan is a game changer”, “the deepest Ivy team of all time”…blah, blah, blah…it all makes me want to barf. So in response to this rhetoric I say, “not so fast.” The Boys in Philly just may have something to say about the Crimson’s de facto coronation. Let’s see why.

A Look Back

Last year, the Red and Blue possessed every conceivable disorder a collegiate basketball team could possibly own: rampant injuries, persistent foul trouble, a dearth of senior leadership, a brutal non-conference schedule, wild inconsistency, a Teflon coach, no true point guard, and inflexible youth. In fact, they weren’t just young, they were one of the youngest D-1 teams in the nation. As such, the Quakers stumbled their way to a dreadful 9-22 record. Along the way, they lost to Wagner (a team from Staten Island!), Dartmouth at home (just the fourth failure to defend The Cathedral floor against The Big Green since 1959), and Columbia, a defeat which has to go down in the annals of Penn Basketball as the most putrid example of athletic ineptitude since Ben Franklin lost a game of H-O-R-S-E to Betsy Ross in 1774. (True story.) On the other hand, they beat Harvard, took Temple to the wire, split every single Ivy weekend, and ended the season (with a team consisting mostly of freshman) as the 9-22 team that no one wanted to play. So then, can the Quakers finally rid themselves of all the misery that had befallen them last year?

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Season Preview: Princeton Tigers

 

The Tigers pulled out an instant classic at Jadwin on Friday, thanks to another incredible performance from Ian Hummer. Now, we're all square in the loss column in a thrilling Ivy title chase.
Princeton has a lot of production to replace with the departure of reigning Ivy POY Ian Hummer. The cupboards are certainly not bare for Mitch Henderson’s squad in 2013-14 though.

In 2012-13: 17-11, 10-4, 2nd place, No Postseason.

A Look Back

Mitch Henderson’s third season at the Tigers’ helm will be his first outside the shadow of Sydney Johnson.

In his first campaign, Henderson enjoyed the services of Doug Davis, a Johnson recruit, whose last-second playoff heroics in his junior year stalled, if only momentarily, the Amaker juggernaut. The Tigers compiled a very respectable 20-12 overall record in 2011-12, Davis’ senior year, overcoming a disastrous start to the Ivy League season to finish in third place at 10-4. Davis graduated as the second leading career scorer for the Tigers, trailing only some skinny guy from the 1960’s.

Davis held that second spot for only eleven months until he was overtaken by 2012-13 Ivy POY Ian Hummer, the Tiger team leader in virtually every significant category last year. The Tigers managed an overall record of 17-11, including a 10-4 mark in the League, good enough for second place. But it was the way the Tigers finished second that has caused much head-scratching among the Tiger faithful.

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The Crimson Crab

[Editor’s Note: As the temperature falls and the leaves begin to change, time has come for the IHO team to re-assemble and begin overanalyzing this year’s Ancient Eight. While we brush up on offseason news and prepare our predictions, please enjoy this fictional short story from the ever-polarizing, always-antagonizing Ancient Quaker.]

Once upon a time there was a small New England coastal town. It was a beautiful place with pristine beaches, luxurious housing, and high end shopping. Four months a year it was flooded with mostly wealthy tourists from Boston, New York and Philadelphia.

It was a magical place that had remained unspoiled by the outside world. Strangely, this select spot had only eight restaurants. The eateries were all very different in cuisine and for more than 50 years, it was a happy and stable collaboration.

Still, two restaurants always seemed to get the vast majority of the customers and, thus, all the fame. Every Friday and Saturday night during the tourist season, these two culinary stalwarts were jammed with people. One was The Palace, an haute cuisine restaurant situated high on a hilltop overlooking the town. It catered to only the wealthiest patrons and boasted a Cordon Bleu-trained four-star chef who knew how to cook even the most complex dishes with elegance.

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The Recruit, An Original Screenplay

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Cast
Coaches Martin, Allen and Amaker
Carson Fitzgerald, Coveted Prep Basketball Player
Mrs. Dorothy Fitzgerald, Carson’s Mother, an Administrative Assistant,
Mr. Leo Fitzgerald, Carson’s Father, an Insurance Salesman,
Door, Himself

Act I
Scene I

Carson Fitzgerald is a four star basketball recruit from Boca Raton, Florida. He’s a 6’5” swingman with crafty moves on the court as well as in the classroom. His perfect SAT scores, high GPA and numerous other academic awards make him an ideal candidate for an Ivy League school. A bit of a math/science oddball, Carson is oblivious to the seemingly endless parade of college coaches that appear at his door. Instead, he prefers to play with his iPad while his parents speak for him. On this night, sometime in the summer of 2013, we find the family lounging in their living room when the doorbell rings.

Door: Ding Dong

Coach Martin: Good evening, I’m Coach Mike Martin of Brown University.

Mrs. Fitzgerald: Oh, please come in and make yourself at home.

Coach Martin, wearing a rumpled blue suit he picked up at the Men’s Warehouse in a mall outside Warwick, Rhode Island, is sweating profusely in the intense Florida heat.

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NCAA Round of 32: Arizona Stops Harvard, 74-51

Harvard was overmatched against Arizona, falling 74-51 in the Round of 32.
Harvard was overmatched against Arizona, falling 74-51 in the Round of 32.

Harvard was overmatched from the tip against Arizona, as the athletic Wildcats sprinted out to a 17-2 lead and never let the Crimson back in. Mark Lyons was unstoppable, scoring 27 points on 12-17 shooting. Harvard struggled to find open looks all day, shooting an icy 27.6% from the field. Wes Saunders, who has carried the load for the Ivy champs all season, could not find the bottom of the net on this day, going 1-11.

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