IHO Power Poll: February 6, 2012

Oh hello there Tommy! Yes, your Crimson are ranked first again in this week's IHO Power Poll. But with a southern weekend swing coming up, there's no telling where we'll stand next week. (Photo Credit: philly.com)

Welcome to the sixth IHO Power Poll (based on games through 02/06/12). 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 (6-0), (20-2)- The Crimson protected its home court over the weekend to remain undefeated in league play. Harvard showed little sign of weakness against Cornell on Friday night, building a 14-point lead at the break and affording its starters some rest in the second half (the bench saw 40 percent of the court time). The light load proved useful the following night, as the Crimson had to grind out a 57-52 victory over Columbia. Despite 11 missed free throws, Harvard built an 8-point lead with a little over five minutes remaining, but two threes and a three-point play from the Lions left the Crimson clinging to a 2-point lead with 2:39 to go. But Harvard executed down the stretch, getting a pair of stops and hitting five of its final six free throws (the Crimson took 32 on the night compared to just eight for Columbia) to ice the victory. The home sweep carried Harvard to the top of the Ivy League standings and sets up a huge showdown with Penn at the Palestra this Friday. -C. River Banks 

Read moreIHO Power Poll: February 6, 2012

Saturday's Best: Yale Sweeps the P's

Reggie Willhite and Greg Mangano led the Bulldogs to their first sweep of Penn and Princeton since the '06-'07 season. (Photo Credit: ctbulletin.com)

Quick thoughts from Saturday night”s results

Best Team: Yale. Yale gets the rare P”s sweep by taking down Princeton 58-54 at home. Reggie Willhite was the star, dropping 20 points, including a second-half highlight reel dunk, while grabbing 9 rebounds. Greg Mangano had another dominant performance as well, getting 20 points of his own (on 17 shots, though) to go with 12 rebounds, for yet another double-double. The Yale backcourt didn”t shoot well–Grace was 0-4, Morgan was 1-9–but they finally ended their turnover woes, limiting giveaways to 10. Princeton was coming off of a very hot shooting night against Brown, but the Tigers were held to 33% from the field (and an ice cold 19% from deep), with Ian Hummer”s 18 points leading the way. Princeton falls out of the title chase with their third loss of the season.

Read moreSaturday's Best: Yale Sweeps the P's

Game Preview: Penn at Brown

Zack Rosen is licking his chops at the opportunity to take on the porous Brown defense tonight. (Photo Credit: penngazettesports.com)

Let”s get right to it here. Penn isn”t losing this game. The Quakers are coming off of a frustrating loss at Yale last night, their first of the conference season, and they are going to be angry and determined. Meanwhile, Brown got throttled by a mediocre Princeton team, and despite what the Cornell Basketball Blogger claims, the Bears are far and away the Ivy team most devastated by injury and other absences. Yes, last year”s leading scorer and All-Ivy player Tucker Halpern and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Rafael Maia are out for the season, but now the already-razor thin Bears bench is taking a hit. According to Scott Cordeschi at GoLocalProv, Freshman Longji Yiljep is out for the season with a toe injury, junior Patrick Donnelly is out for the season with a hip injury, freshman Jon Schmidt has an eye injury, Jean Harris can”t play due to the flu, and Steven Albrecht is experiencing those pesky back problems. It”s honestly a war zone down in Providence, and given the lack of depth the Bears had to begin with, it”s a wonder that Brown is competing as well as they are in the league this year.

Read moreGame Preview: Penn at Brown

Friday's Best: Yale knocks off Penn

Greg Mangano carried Yale to a big victory over Zack Rosen's Penn Quakers tonight at the John J. Lee Amphitheatre. (Photo Credit: ivyleaguesports.com)

Quick hitters from Friday night”s games

Best win: Yale. Tonight”s biggest victory has to go to the Yale Bulldogs. Penn had a lot of momentum late in this game, and the Bulldogs could have let it all slip away when they started to get sloppy with the ball in the second half. Yale”s guards turned it around though and Mangano decided that the Elis weren”t losing this one, grabbing two offensive rebounds off missed free throws (one was his own) in the final minute to seal the win. Turnovers continue to trouble this team as Reggie Willhite, Austin Morgan, and Mike Grace combined for 13 giveaways, but besides those lapses in judgement (which need to be corrected soon), the Yale guards were impressive. Morgan hit three critical three pointers under pressure; Willhite showed his typical hustle on both ends, grabbing key rebounds and knocking down a huge late-game jumper; and Mike Grace had his best game of the season. The North Carolina native was 5-6 from the field with four assists, showing a propensity for the bank shot and looking more dangerous than he has all year. Mangano was pissed off at the referees all game, but he stopped whining and took the game into his own hands down the stretch, denying Rosen the chance at a game-tying three by getting those monster rebounds. The big man showed great touch around the rim all day, finishing with 23 points on 8-13 shooting and 10 rebounds. If this was Round One of the Player of the Year battle between Mangano and Rosen, the Bulldog came out on top.

Read moreFriday's Best: Yale knocks off Penn

IHO Power Poll: January 30, 2012

Zack Rosen could not be stopped by Princeton on Monday night, leading the Quakers to a 82-67 victory and a 3-0 conference record. (Photo Credit: pennathletics.com)

Welcome to the fifth IHO Power Poll (based on games through 01/30/12). 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 (4-0), (18-2)- Harvard settled the score from last season in a shockingly decisive victory over Yale on Friday night. The Crimson’s suffocating defense (and numerous unforced errors on the Elis’ part) limited the Bulldogs to just 35 points, the lowest scoring output for an Ivy team since December 2007 (Princeton at Evansville). Harvard followed up that performance with a wire-to-wire victory at Brown to complete the road sweep and move to 4-0 in conference play. Offensively, the Crimson found production from a variety of places over the weekend. Sharpshooter Laurent Rivard went off for 18 points on Friday, and the next evening Kyle Casey led the way with 20 points. Freshman Steve Moundou-Missi, who continues to be a rock off the bench, chipped in 10 points and five rebounds against Yale and six points and 10 rebounds

against Brown en route to winning his first Ivy League Rookie of the Week award (the third different freshman to win the honor for Harvard). The title race is now decidedly stacked in the Crimson’s favor. Harvard has six of its next eight games in the friendly confines of Lavietes Pavilion, where it’s currently riding a 23-game winning streak, while attrition among the challengers begins in earnest next week when Princeton and Penn visit Yale.  -C. River Banks 

Read moreIHO Power Poll: January 30, 2012

Game Preview: Harvard at Brown

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Andrew McCarthy set a school-record for blocks Friday in a win against Dartmouth (7). Will he be able to lead the Bears to an upset against #23 Harvard? (Photo Credit: www.brownbears.com)

After Friday night's Bulldog bloodbath, first-place Harvard made the short trip up I-95 to Providence where a Brown team on its first winning streak of the season awaits. While the two teams enter this game coming off a win the night before, the similarities between the squads end right there. Harvard, as we all know, is the #23-ranked team in the nation with a top-ten defense (.874 points allowed per possession), an early season tournament title (Battle4Atlantis), and three victories against Top 100 teams (FSU, UCF, St. Joe's). Brown has the country's 290th best defense (1.082 points allowed per possession), hasn't even played a Top 100 team, and has zero Top 200 wins. But the Bears have a little momentum from victories over Bryant and Dartmouth, and in the last couple match-ups, they've had the Crimson's number for at least a half. Plus, it's the back end of an Ivy weekend, so anything's possible.

Read moreGame Preview: Harvard at Brown

Game Preview: Dartmouth at Brown

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Freshman Gabas Maldunas will try to take advantage of a thin Brown frontcourt and lead the Big Green to their first conference victory of the season. (Photo Credit: dartmouthsports.com)

Friday night, most people will be focusing their attention on the highly anticipated battle at the top of the standings a few hours down Route 95 in New Haven, but the true Ivy populist will keep his eye on the match-up in Providence too. It should be a tight one as the undersized Brown Bears host the youthful Dartmouth Big Green in a game that will go a long way in deciding who stays out of the Ivy cellar this season.

Read moreGame Preview: Dartmouth at Brown

IHO Power Poll: January 23, 2012

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Quite a scene in Hanover last week as #24 Harvard visited Leede Arena. Unfortunately for the New Hampshire faithful, Dartmouth was only able to muster 38 points in a Crimson rout. (Photo Credit: dartmouthsports.com)

Welcome to the fourth IHO Power Poll (based on games through 01/23/12). 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 (2-0), (16-2)- Harvard’s 54-38 win in Hanover, which moved the Crimson into a tie for first place, might not have been the most impressive performance of the week, but it did nothing to dispel the notion that Harvard is still the team to beat. The starting five managed a paltry 22 points against the Big Green, but what could have been a dire situation on the road was actually a comfortable blowout thanks to the bench’s performance. Freshman Steve Moundou-Missi continued his excellent play of late with nine points and four rebounds, and guards Corbin Miller and Christian Webster—both returning from injury—chipped in 13 and eight points on a combined eight of 10 shooting (five of seven from deep). The Crimson’s relatively light stretch comes to an end next weekend, as the stage is set for a clash of undefeated squads at Payne Whitney Gymnasium, the site of two crushing losses for Harvard a season ago.  –C. River Banks

Read moreIHO Power Poll: January 23, 2012

Game Preview: Yale at Brown, Saturday 2PM

Reggie Willhite helped carry Yale to a comeback 68-64 victory at home last weekend against Brown. Will the Bulldogs get the critical sweep this weekend in Providence? (Photo Credit: yalebulldogs.com)

A week removed from their thrilling come-from-behind 68-64 victory over Brown in New Haven, the Yale Bulldogs will travel to Providence tomorrow for part two of this home and away against the Bears. Neither team has taken the court since last weekend, and while one could intuit that the rest has certainly benefited Brown’s point guard Sean McGonagill, who played all 40 minutes last Saturday and fueled the Bears’ impressive offensive effort, it would be foolish to think that the Bulldogs have not had more to gain from the week of practice.

Brown really pushed the Bulldogs to the edge in their first meeting. However, despite the fact that the Bears did almost everything they could have hoped for—shooting the lights out (12-23 from

downtown), containing star center Greg Mangano (15 pts, 4 rbs), and carrying a lead into the final minute of play—they still lost. The problem, moreover, is that it would be hard to imagine Brown playing Yale much better than they did at John J. Lee.

Read moreGame Preview: Yale at Brown, Saturday 2PM

Ivy Offensive Rating Leaders

It's no secret around here that we love us some KenPom statistics. Being that we've got over half of a season of data, I thought it was time to check in with Pomeroy's Offensive Ratings to see who the most efficient players in the Ivy League are this season.

First off, let's look at the big-time players who are used in at least 20% of their team's possessions and play at least 40% of their team's minutes.

Read moreIvy Offensive Rating Leaders