Another Split for Princeton

Five losses-- two in overtime-- by a total of 20 points have left a talented Princeton squad on the outside of the title chase looking in.
Five losses– two in overtime– by a total of 20 points have left a talented Princeton squad on the outside of the title chase looking in.

Princeton’s lost Ivy League season reached its mid-point this weekend with a tough battle at Brown on Friday, resulting in a rare road win, and an even tougher struggle at Yale, the next evening, resulting in a heartbreaking OT loss, 66-65. The Tigers’ record is a disappointing 2-5, better only than Dartmouth, where the Tigers also lost in overtime, and Cornell.

T.J. Bray hoisted the Tigers on his broad shoulders this week, scoring 46 points on the road, vaulting his name into the center of the POY discussion. In his head-to-head confrontation with Brown’s All-Ivy candidate, Sean McGonagill, Bray emerged the clear winner. His 26 points led all scorers, while McGonagill managed a respectable 16, but shot only 4-15 from the field.

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Weekend's Winners

Harvard and Yale extended their lead on the rest of the pack with sweeps, and Cornell finally got into the win column during another exciting February Ivy weekend.
Harvard and Yale extended their lead on the rest of the pack with sweeps, and Cornell finally got into the win column during another exciting February Ivy weekend.

For every Ivy weekend up until this one, we entered the weekend with a certain narrative that was turned upside down by surprising results. Finally this weekend, the narrative held up and we can move forward knowing that– barring someone else winning out– the Ivy League is now a two-team race between the Harvard Crimson and the Yale Bulldogs. The two conference leaders held serve, sweeping the weekend and extending their lead on the rest of the pack to two games behind one thrilling overtime victory each— both marked by controversial officiating decisions. Let”s take a closer look at this weekend”s big winners.

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IHO Power Poll: February 12, 2014

One team shoots up the poll; one team continues to tumble. It's a new edition of the IHO rankings, for your consumption before the weekend.
One team shoots up the poll; one team continues to tumble. It’s a new edition of the IHO rankings for your consumption before the weekend.

Yale’s upset over Harvard eliminated the possibility of an unblemished run for the talented Crimson, but it wasn’t enough to bump Harvard from the top spot in the Power Poll. Meanwhile, Princeton’s final minute meltdown against Columbia has relegated the Tigers to their lowest position in the history of the Power Poll. Wild times as we approach the midway point of the conference season…

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Princeton Splits at Home

The Tigers split the weekend, routing Cornell after losing a heartbreaker to Columbia on Friday.
The Tigers split the weekend, routing Cornell after losing a heartbreaker to Columbia on Friday.

Another disappointing weekend for Princeton’s Tigers, this time at home. Trying desperately to shake off the effects of a disastrous 0-3 start to the Ivy campaign, Princeton relished the prospect of entertaining Columbia, which hadn’t won at Jadwin in 20 years, and Cornell, the Ivy cellar dweller.

Against the Lions, Hans Brase got off to another fast start, leading the Tigers to an eight point lead at intermission, 33-25, as order appeared restored in the Princeton universe. The euphoria proved to be nothing more than a mirage, however, as the Tigers’ woes in the Ivy League continued. The gritty Alex Rosenberg, although not shooting particularly well, kept the Lions in the game by getting to the line and converting 8-8 on the evening.

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Weekend’s Winners

Yale and Penn pulled off improbable sweeps this weekend to throw a little chaos into the Ivy picture.
Yale and Penn pulled off improbable sweeps this weekend to throw a little chaos into the Ivy picture.

Another Saturday night, another surprise: James Jones’ squad brings a level of defensive intensity previously unseen, while putting together a shooting performance for the ages. Yale outplayed Harvard for 40 minutes at Lavietes and now brings a share of the Ivy League lead back to New Haven at 5-1.

Meanwhile, a fan base that was calling for Jerome’s head one week ago will be a little quieter this week, as the Quakers rode a huge performance from Fran Dougherty to a big win over Columbia.

Elsewhere, Princeton and Brown salvaged splits against two teams destined for the bottom half.

Let’s get to the weekend’s big winners…

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Fool's Gold

Wolfgang is distraught over last weekend
Wolfgang is distraught over last weekend”s Lion taming as Columbia”s conference play troubles surface yet again.

Is there anything worse than false hope? Anything?

When I was young, my father used to take me to the New England Aquarium. I loved it there – the penguins were my favorite. But I had one memory that stuck out, sore and unlike the others. After watching the penguins, the otters, and the algae-laced sea turtles, I went to the gift shop, and headed straight to the rocks and minerals section. I saw this shiny rock, and I needed to have it. The rock I needed – it was solid gold. I asked my dad if I could have it. He chuckled at my childish ignorance and explained, “Wolfgang, that’s fool”s gold.” Though it shined like gold, it was just like any other rock.

Needless to say, I had an episode of déjà vu this weekend.

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Book Review: The Divine Nature of Basketball by Ed Breslin

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Breslin”s book, released this week, chronicles Yale”s 2011-12 season under coach James Jones.

Guest Post by Wesley Cheng

Friend of the site, Wesley Cheng, from over yonder at SUJuiceOnline.com, was nice enough to review Ed Breslin”s new book about the 2011-12 Yale basketball season. Neither Wesley nor IHO received any compensation for this review.

Let me be clear before the outset of this review: I did not attend an Ivy League school, nor did I previously have an appreciation for it. Save for a few friends who worshiped Penn hoops, my loyalties remain in the old Big East and the current ACC. So it is with that lens that I review Ed Breslin”s The Divine Nature of Basketball: My Season Inside the Ivy League, his look at the 2011-12 Yale Bulldogs basketball team, led by head coach James Jones. Breslin petitioned Jones to be a special assistant coach, essentially shadowing the team throughout the entire season. What follows is an insider”s look at one of the more entertaining Yale basketball seasons in recent memory.

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The Ship Be Sinkin’

An embarrassing sweep up north has left the Penn faithful up in arms about how to fix the mess in Philly.
An embarrassing sweep up north has left the Penn faithful up in arms about how to fix the mess in Philly.

 

“The ship be sinkin’.”

Former New York Knick guard Michael Ray Richardson uttered these words just a few years prior to the drafting of Patrick Ewing, the eventual “savior“ of a then horribly dysfunctional franchise. The question now for Quaker fans is who will rescue Penn’s once proud “crown jewel” athletic team, a similarly dysfunctional organization that is now in desperate need of salvation.

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Princeton’s Lost Weekend

After a blistering 11-2 start, Princeton has opened the Ivy season 0-3 for the first time since 2007 under Joe Scott.
After a blistering 11-2 start, Princeton has opened the Ivy season 0-3 for the first time since 2007 under Joe Scott.

Princeton’s title aspirations for the 2013-14 campaign were dashed once again by the University’s antiquated tradition of January “Reading Period” and its three week mid-season forced hiatus. A 700 mile bus trip to Cambridge and Hanover is hardly the way to shake off the cobwebs. Princeton’s 0-3 start is much more than a thorn in its paw. This Tiger is hurting.

Sadly, this weekend, Princeton squandered career scoring nights from its senior warriors, T. J. Bray (26 against Harvard) and Will Barrett (28 at Dartmouth). The Tigers embarked on the trip as the stingiest team with the ball in D1. A Penn-like plethora of turnovers, 33 in the two games, rendered a staggering blow to the reeling fortunes of the men from Old Nassau. Seventeen games in and Mitch Henderson is searching for answers to questions he never expected to be asked.

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Weekend’s Best

Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.
Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.

 

Please put your hand up if you had Dartmouth sweeping the weekend without Gabas Maldunas and Columbia dropping two at Yale and Brown. You in the back? No, you’re just scratching your head? Yeah, me too. It was that kind of weekend in the Ivy League. On to the weekend’s big winners…

Home Court Advantage: We know it’s hard to win on the road in the Ivy League, but wow. Home teams went 8-0 this weekend as all four New England teams swept their back-to-backs. Through 15 Ivy contests, only two away teams have come away victorious (Columbia at Cornell and Harvard at Dartmouth).

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