As selected by Ivy Hoops Online’s contributors, here are the IHO 2017-18 All-Ivy Awards:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
AJ Brodeur, Penn (So., F – Northborough, Mass.)
In Penn coach Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable parts, Brodeur has proven he can do it all.
Donahue moved Brodeur from center to power forward to make way for Max Rothschild at the five this season, and in nonconference play, Brodeur wasn’t really the focal point of the offense and excelled by not forcing shots outside of Penn’s ensemble offensive system. Instead, Brodeur helped power Penn to a 9-5 record before January in other ways, cleaning the defensive boards, aggressively fortifying a surprisingly strong defense through blocks and steals, and deft passing in the paint and on the perimeter (notching seven assists in Penn’s 78-70 win at Dayton).
What a wild and crazy Ivy season the 2017-18 campaign turned out to be.
The Ivy League finished first among all 32 Division I conferences with a whopping 39.3 percent of conference games being decided by four points or less or in overtime, a record for any conference in the KenPom era dating back to 2001-02, per Kevin Whitaker of NYC Buckets.
Every Ivy squad played in at least one league game that went to overtime, and the extra periods helped define at least two squads’ seasons in-conference: Harvard went 3-0 in such contests en route to a shared Ivy League championship, while Princeton went 1-4 to seal its first finish outside the league’s top four in 10 years.
Ivies went 39-17 at home in conference play, tops in Division I a season after they went just 28-28, worst in Division I in 2017.
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Jill Glessner and Brett Franklin talk with Yale Athletic Director Tom Beckett and Princeton women’s coach Courtney Banghart while also previewing the final weekend of regular season play on both the men’s and women’s sides.
Examining the men’s side, Brett and Jill recap No. 4 seed tiebreakers and pick favorites to take the No. 4 seed, while Jill highlights what she thinks has been the game of the Ivy season so far:
Penn shot a blistering 76 percent from two-point range in claiming sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings with a 74-71 win over Harvard Saturday night at the Palestra. Penn’s AJ Brodeur lured Chris Lewis out of the paint at times, and the Red and Blue attacked the basket when Lewis was on the bench. Brodeur had four assists and no turnovers, with senior guard Darnell Foreman notching five assists on senior night himself.
Penn has now shot a combined 40-for-60 (66.7 percent) from two-point range in two games versus a Harvard defense that characteristically values rim protection and ranks first in the league in defensive two-point percentage (48.1 percent). Not surprisingly, Penn ranks first in the conference in two-point percentage and assists per field goals made. Anyone who’s watched Penn ping pong passes in the paint knows that this team is capable of getting high-percentage shots even against a defense as stout as Harvard’s. That’s something to keep in mind should these squads meet at the Palestra again in the Ivy League Tournament championship game on Mar. 11.
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner talk with Dartmouth women’s coach Belle Koclanes and Ivy Hoops Online Harvard beat writer Robert Crawford while also previewing a crucial weekend on both the men’s and women’s sides.
On the women’s side, Jill and Brett look back on Dartmouth’s pivotal comeback overtime victory at Yale, the Bulldogs’ see-saw weekend, Brown’s subpar shot selection, the current tiebreaker situation for the No. 3 and 4 seeds and more:
On the men’s side, Brett and Jill detail the current tiebreaker situation for the No. 4 seed, Cornell’s surge to the top half of the league, Matt Morgan’s efficient offensive dominance, Penn’s “next man up” mentality, Yale’s extra passes and a tough weekend for the Bears in addition to previewing the weekend’s matchups:
Robert Crawford weighs in on Harvard filling the void left by Bryce Aiken’s absence in unexpected ways, what Justin Bassey and Chris Lewis bring to the Crimson, the emergence of Christian Juzang, Tommy Amaker’s different coaching approach recently, the Lavietes factor, the versatility of Katie Benzan and more:
Belle Koclanes details Dartmouth’s halftime conversation trailing at Yale 34-18 before completing a memorable second-half comeback, who’s stepping up following the season-ending injury of Olivia Smith, the Big Green’s response to being “tanked” amid their first Ivy back-to-back last month, the development of Kate Letkewicz and more:
The Crimson wrapped up their second sweep in a row this past weekend, beating Brown and Yale one week after taking down Princeton and Penn. Harvard didn’t just win these games, it did so handily, looking like the league’s top team in the process. A Jan. 10 loss at Wofford put the Crimson at 6-10. Since then, they are 8-1. Why?
Penn ranks highest in experience in the Ivy League but still ranks just 140th nationally. Princeton (144th) and Columbia (244th) round out the Ivies in the top 250, while Cornell, Brown and Harvard are all sub-300 in experience at 306th, 334th and 335th respectively.
A large number of important games on deck for this Saturday afternoon and evening. The Penn at Cornell and Princeton at Columbia women’s games do not look to be exciting, but the rest of the games do have strong implications on the Path(s) to the Palestra. So, skip the Olympics (or, at least DVR it so you can eventually watch the skating and hear the always informative commentary from Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir) and get ready for another exciting day of Ivy hoops.