Welcome to the third IHO Power Poll (based on games through 01/15/12). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
The following essay appeared in the IHO Mailbox yesterday. The author of this piece is not affiliated with Ivy Hoops Online, but we always welcome and encourage outside contributors and readers to share their opinions and thoughts.
By The Ancient Quaker
Ladies and gentleman of Pennsylvania do not hate me. I am as loyal and grateful a Quaker as any of you. I donate generously to the annual giving, married a woman with more Penn degrees than Amy Guttmann, and even named one of my sons Benjamin after our great founder. (We didn’t really name him after Big Ben but you catch my drift.) So why would I ever root for the hated and haughty Tigers and their Mickey Mouse Halloween colors?
Allow me to explain.
After Saturday’s 74-69 win over St. Joes, Harvard assistant coach Yanni Hufnagel tweeted, “Best win I’ve been a part of. Period.” That statement—surprising as it is coming from a coach who’s helped engineer 56 wins for the Crimson—conveyed how richly satisfying the comeback against the Hawks was.
In a game reminiscent of last year’s 24-point comeback against Brown, Harvard withstood an unreal shooting display in the first half (19 of 24 from the floor, six of nine from deep). St. Joe’s guards Carl Jones and Langston Galloway and forward CJ Aiken had their way with the Crimson defense early on. Many of the buckets were the result of good offense (it seemed like the Hawks had success with post ups and kick outs in their four-out, one-in sets that dragged Keith Wright out on the perimeter), but more than a few just had me shaking my head in disbelief (long, turnaround jumpers from Jones were particularly crushing).