As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:
With most regular seasons and championships for fall sports postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college athletes and fans have been anxiously awaiting word on the winter sports schedule. They received good news on September 16, when the NCAA Division I Council, chaired by Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, announced that the men’s and women’s basketball seasons could begin on November 25.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said to ESPN. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”
While basketball enthusiasts around the nation rejoiced with the news that meaningful games would soon be returning to the hardwood, fans of the Ancient Eight were left wondering if the league would move from its July 8 decision that teams could not participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.
The short answer is no.
“There are no changes at this time,” responded Ivy League associate executive director, strategic communications & external relations Matt Panto to a request from Ivy Hoops Online. “The decision we have made is it (hold on competition) goes through the (end of the) fall term.”
ITHACA, N.Y. – The Dartmouth Big Green couldn’t be stopped offensively at Newman Arena Friday night en route to an 82-70 win over Cornell that marked the visitors’ fourth win in five games.
“We didn’t play any defense,” said Cornell coach Brian Earl. “They made a lot of shots, shot it really well. We just couldn’t find a way.”
The Big Green (11-15, 4-7 Ivy) took an eight-point lead into the locker room at the half. They were led by senior forward Ian Sistare, who scored 14 in the half. He had a career-high 25 points on the evening off 8-for-10 shooting.
The typically wild weekend road trip to Boston and Hanover is over, and the Tigers survived with one of their goals, a berth in Ivy Madness, well within their grasp. We may well look back on this trip as the time Jaelin Llewellyn’s total game was on display at an absolutely crucial juncture for his team. Recognizing the need to step up in the absence of Ryan Schwieger, Llewellyn courageously embraced the challenge and, to put it mildly, delivered.
On Friday at Harvard, Llewellyn almost single-handedly kept the Tigers in the game to the last seconds, leading the scoring with 22 points. If he has had a weakness this season, it has been his inefficiency from deep. He takes more three-pointers than anyone else, but came into the weekend converting an unacceptable 25%. His 21 points on Saturday night gave the Tigers the spark they needed, and included 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. The final score, 65-62 Princeton, tells very little about the game.
Penn’s 66-59 loss at Dartmouth Friday night managed to cobble together the shortcomings jeopardizing a fourth Ivy League Tournament appearance for the Red & Blue in as many years.
Cornell suffered its second 22-point loss in as many days, falling to Dartmouth, 75-53, in Hanover Saturday night. Even worse for the Big Red, Jimmy Boeheim went down with an injury just six minutes in and never returned.
The junior made the first four for the visitors, then got tangled up on a foul call under the basket on defense. He landed funny and had difficulty walking. Boeheim hobbled on one foot to the trainer station where he was looked at. He finally returned to the bench, taped with ice, and stayed there for the remainder of the game.
One week later, and not much has changed.
Harvard once again came close to blowing a double-digit lead in the final minutes but again managed to hold on for just long enough to come away from Hanover its eighth straight win, 70-66, and a sweep of Dartmouth.
With Bryce Aiken watching from the sideline in a walking boot, Harvard withstood a late push from Dartmouth to take its Ivy opener, 67-62, at home.
The first half belonged to senior center Chris Lewis, who had 11 points and was perfect from the floor, while his freshman frontcourt partner Chris Ledlum led the Crimson (12-4, 1-0 Ivy) in the second half with 11 of his own. It was a game of highs and lows for Tommy Amaker’s squad, who withstood Dartmouth’s hot start and good shooting from behind the arc (41%) in the first half, but almost squandered a 12-point lead in the final minutes.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, the Ivy League is never going to win any Division I attendance titles. But what some of the homely and aging facilities in the Ancient Eight lack in size or amenities, they can make up for in old-school college basketball atmosphere, which anyone who has attended a big game at Lavietes Pavilion (home of this season’s Ivy League Tournament) or Lee Amphitheater can attest to after their ears take a couple of hours to adjust to normality.
Saturday afternoon’s 64-60 loss to Bryant at Leede Arena left a bitter taste on the lips of Dartmouth as it breaks for the holidays.
And rightfully so. The Big Green (7-6) have overachieved for much of the first two months of this campaign, and if they are going to contend to compete in the Ivy League Tournament for the first time, they should be able to handle an NEC team – particularly a banged up one – at home.