Class of 2022 hopes to help Penn women’s hoops with graduation losses

Although missing out on a Ivy League championship three-peat, the Penn women’s team had another great year in 2017-2018. The Quakers (22-9 overall, 11-3 Ivy), which ended the season first in the Big Five, second in the Ancient Eight’s regular season and runner-up in the Ivy Tournament, finished with its fifth straight year of 20+ total wins and 11 or more league victories. While missing out on the NCAA Tournament, Penn beat Albany in the first round of the WNIT before losing 53-48 at St. John’s in the round of 32. The Red & Blue will enter the 2018-2019 season without 3/5th of its starting lineup, looking to reload as it attempts to get to the post season for the seventh straight year.

Penn had one of the top defenses in the nation, holding teams to 54.9 points a game with 35.4 percent shooting from the field and a 31.2 percent three point rate. The team averaged a conference best 5.8 blocks per game and 37.8 offensive rebounding percentage, while having the league’s second best defensive rebounding rate of 69.6 percent. The Quakers outscored its opponents by 10.6 points a game, but struggled with 38.3 percent shooting from the field (7th in the Ivy League) and 33.2 percent from three (4th in the IL). If Penn hopes to dethrone Princeton from the top spot, the team will need to maintain its traditional defensive intensity while improving its offensive efficiency.

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Cornell women’s hoops newcomers look to speed up team’s rebuild

The 2017-2018 season was expected to be a major rebuild for the Cornell women’s basketball team, following the graduation of all five starters, as well as seven of the top eight players, from a 2016-2017 team that came in fourth place and missed the first Ivy Tournament by a tiebreak. The Big Red’s conference record of 3-11 (7-20 overall) landed the team in sixth place, where they were predicted in the preseason poll. With a roster that has a years worth of game experience and a solid group of new players, Coach Dayna Smith is hoping for improved results in her 17th year in Ithaca and the second year of her program’s rebuild.

Statistically, Cornell has room for significant growth, since the team found itself at, or near, the bottom of the conference in nearly all offensive categories. The exception was offensive rebounding percentage, where the team was third in the league with a 35.7 percent rate. They fared better on the defensive side, as they were second in forced turnovers (17.6), second in steals (9.1) and third in fewest points allowed (63.9).

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Columbia’s Lukas Meisner ends college career after signing pro contract

While Ivy Hoops fans were still processing the disturbing allegation against former Penn men’s coach Jerome Allen, the Columbia Spectator broke the surprising news that rising senior Lukas Meisner had signed a pro contract and would be forgoing his senior year in Morningside Heights. Columbia Athletics posted its own story detailing the move a few minutes later.

Meisner, originally from Braunschweig, inked a contract to go back home to Germany and play for Medi Bayreuth of the easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga. The team came in fourth place in the BBL in 2017-2018 and sixth in the German Cup. The 6′ 8″ forward started 24 of 25 games for the Lions in 2017-2018, averaging 27.5 minutes and 11.2 points per game. With his 50 percent overall and 41.7 percent three-point rates, he joined Princeton’s Myles Stephens as the only two Ivy Leaguers to shoot more than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three last year. His 7.5 total rebounds and six defensive boards per contest were tops in the conference and he became the first Columbia player to lead the Ivy League in rebounds since Jim Tubridy in 1994-1995.

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Reports: Jerome Allen allegedly took bribes while coaching Penn

Multiple news outlets reported Friday that former Penn coach Jerome Allen allegedly took bribes while at Penn.

The Miami Herald reported Friday that a Miami Beach businessman has been charged with paying bribes to Allen so his son could be accepted as a “recruited” player to Penn.

The bribery allegations were included in an expanded indictment against Philip Esformes accusing him of giving Allen more than $74,000 in the form of cash, a recruiting trip to Miami and a separate ride on a private jet in 2013 and 2014, according to Bloomberg.

The indictment, which per the Miami Herald expands upon a $1 billion Medicare fraud case that led to Esformes’s arrest two years ago, does not identify the university, coach or student-athlete, Bloomberg noted. But a Justice Department prosecutor, prompted by a question from a Miami federal judge, disclosed Friday that the college listed in the indictment is Penn, the basketball coach is Allen, and the student is Esformes’ son, Morris, according to the Miami Herald.

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Brett Kavanaugh and the ’85-’86 Yale Bulldogs

Following the recent nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the Yale Daily News noted that the Eli alum (’83-’87 Undergrad; ’87-’90 Law) was once a writer at the paper’s sports department. While journalists and commentators across the nation scour and highlight his voluminous legal output, we here at IHO have looked at his writings to take a (lengthy) look back at his work with the 1985-1986 Yale men’s basketball team.

The Bulldogs finished the 1984-1985 season with a 14-12 overall record and a 7-7 mark in the Ivy League.  They were tied for fourth with Harvard and Princeton, three games off the pace of league champ Penn, two games behind Columbia and one game back of Cornell.  Yale won five of its last seven, including a home sweep of the Empire State Ivies and a 77-75 victory over the Quakers at the Palestra.  Sophomore center Chris Dudley, who averaged 12.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game, was named to the All-Ivy first team.

Penn, led by first team All-Ivy junior guard Perry Bromwell and junior center Bruce Lefkowitz, was the preseason favorite to win the conference.  In his November 21, 1985 season preview, Kavanaugh wrote, “Penn finished 10-4 in the Ivies last season, and their four losses were by a total of only 11 points.  If they are disciplined and play as a team under new coach Tom Schneider, the Quakers should repeat as champions.”  According to the coaches preseason poll, Yale was picked second, followed by Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown.  Kavanaugh predicted a similar top five with Dartmouth, Brown, and Harvard in the bottom three spots.

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Talking Ivy Madness with Ivy League Senior Assistant Director Trevor Rutledge-Leverenz

After holding the first two Ivy Tournaments at the University of Pennsylvania’s Palestra, it was widely assumed that the 2019 edition would move away from the league’s most famous arena. While the reviews for both events were positive from players, coaches, administrators and fans, there were some league stakeholders who had concerns. The main issues generally focused on the home court advantage for Penn, attendance problems associated with holding the tournament in the conference’s southern-most location, and the timing of the women’s semifinal match-ups.

On May 24th, a day before the start of Memorial Day Weekend, the Ivy League office announced that the third edition of Ivy Madness would be held on the campus of Yale University at the John J. Lee Amphitheater (JLA) at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. The tournament will occur on March 16th and 17th, in the middle of Yale’s two week spring recess, with the games taking place at the same times as the 2018 tournament. On Saturday, the men’s semifinals will tip-off at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., while the women’s games will start at 6 p.m. and approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the previous contest. The men’s final will be held at noon on Sunday, and the women’s championships will be at 4 p.m.  All tournament games will be televised by ESPN on its family of networks.

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Harvard men’s basketball brings in another strong recruiting class

Despite having ups and downs during its non-conference schedule, the Harvard men’s basketball team (18-14 overall, 12-2 Ivy) played consistently great defense (Adjusted Efficiency of 98.3; 55th in the nation). In conference action, the team was able to solidify its rotation, improve its outside shooting (three-point percentage increased from 30.0 to 42.2 percent), and weather a major injury to its leading player to win a share of the regular season title and claim the league’s top seed heading into the Ivy Tournament. A road game with co-champion Penn and an injury to the Ivy Player of the Year late in the second half may have been the only things keeping the Crimson from winning Ivy Madness. With a healthier 2018-19, Harvard will look to stay on top of the Ancient Eight and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

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Brown women’s basketball to greatly expand its roster for 2018-2019

With a fourth place finish, an appearance in the inaugural Ivy Tournament, and a postseason win in the first round of the 2017 Women’s Basketball Invitational, things looked bright for the Brown women’s team heading into 2017-2018. The Bears, which did not lose a single member of the previous year’s squad, were picked fourth in the league’s preseason poll and there was talk among Ivy fans that this group could be the first since 2011-2012 to break the Harvard-Penn-Princeton stranglehold on the conference’s top three spots.

A 9-1 start, including Tournament titles at the University of Pacific and the Ocean State Tip-Off, added to the program’s confidence as it returned from finals to visit Boston University on December 22nd. Up 28 points with 3:22 remaining in the third quarter, starting three-guard Taylor Will came off the court with a knee injury and did not return to action for the rest of the year. While Brown defeated the Terriers, Howard University and Johnson & Wales to complete its non-conference scheduled with a program-best 12-1 record, the Bears aura of invincibility had been shattered.

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Remembering former student sports reporter John McNamara

Since Ivy Hoops Online is a site devoted to Ivy League basketball, it would not seem to be a place to write about Thursday’s tragic shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis. However, the location of the assault and the death of one of its employees, John McNamara, reaches close to home for many of the people that have written at IHO over the years.

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Four to join Columbia men’s basketball in 2018-2019

Heading into the last weekend of conference play in each of the last two seasons, the Columbia men’s basketball team held the advantage for the final spot in the Ivy Tournament. Sweeps on the road by Brown and Yale in 2017, as well as losses to Dartmouth and Harvard this past March, kept the Lions away from the league’s postseason both years. Coach Jim Engles, heading into his third year as head coach in Morningside Heights, will look to change his team’s fortunes in 2018-2019 as Columbia seeks its first visit to Ivy Madness.

The Lions finished last season 8-19 with a 5-9 fifth place record in the Ivy League.  In conference play, they were 5-2 at Levien Gymnasium, but winless away from home.   The bright spots for Columbia were a 16 made three pointer performance against Cornell, a 83-76 win over eventual co-champion Harvard and a 25 point win over Princeton.  The Lions averaged 76.4 points and 10 made threes a game overall, as well as 77.8 points and 9.4 made threes in the Ancient Eight.  Their opponents, however, scored 77.2 points and 10 made threes overall, while conference foes put up 78.1 points and 10.9 made threes a game.  Looking towards 2018-2019, Columbia will need to keep its offense intact, while improving its three point defense (38.4 percent in Division 1 games and 39.8 percent in Ivy League) if it wants to move into the league’s upper division.

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