Looking at Ivy Madness scenarios with huge men’s games this weekend

This weekend, Yale, Harvard and Princeton can all clinch their spots in the 2019 Ivy League Tournament. With that happening, the other five teams still mathematically have a chance to get that fourth spot, but only three of those teams remain the most likely.

Columbia and Dartmouth each sit at 2-8 in conference play despite playing good basketball, but each becomes mathematically eliminated with a loss this weekend.

However, Cornell, Brown and Penn remain right in the thick of it. Cornell and Brown each sit at 5-5 with a matchup between the two on Saturday in Providence. Remember, Cornell won the first meeting between the teams. Penn sits at 4-6, desperately needing a road sweep this weekend but with a tough Harvard team in its way Friday.

Cornell and Penn will look to Columbia to help play a spoiler role to knock off Brown on Friday on ESPNU, and doing so would put Cornell and Penn in a more likely position to get the final slot.

Looking up top, Yale and Harvard will be all clinched with home wins on Friday, but they won’t come easy, playing Cornell and Penn respectively. Cornell winning at Yale Friday would be a huge boon and confidence-booster for the Big Red.

Princeton can get in with a win and Brown and Cornell losses on Friday, being the simplest way to do so.

Now let’s look at clinching scenarios for Cornell, Brown and Penn:

Read moreLooking at Ivy Madness scenarios with huge men’s games this weekend

Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday women’s edition

Eight thoughts on the women’s side:

1. Aghayere on a rebounding spree

There was a whopping 77 points scored in the first half in Penn’s battle with visiting Cornell, featuring the Big Red’s No. 2 Ivy scoring defense vs. the Red & Blue’s No. 1 Ivy scoring defense. No. 1 eventually got the best of No. 2 as the game eventually settled into more of a grind-it-out struggle. Princess Aghayere posted a career-high 23 points and 10 boards, the fourth double-double of her senior campaign. Aghayere grabbed seven of Penn’s offensive rebounds, fueling a 15-6 scoring edge for Penn in second-chance points. Aghayere is one of three Quakers to rank in the Ivy’s top nine in offensive rebounding (fifth behind league-leading Eleah Parker and ahead of Ashley Russell in ninth place). If Penn goes to another 2-3 zone variation against Princeton tomorrow night, Aghayere will have to come up big on the boards as she did in Penn’s win at Princeton last month, when she snared a team-high 12 boards, limiting a Tigers squad that crashed the boards against the zone well that day.

Read moreAncient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday women’s edition

Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the men’s side:

1. Penn’s defense finds its stride

Penn held Cornell to 18 points in the second half and 0.78 points per possession for the night, an inspired defensive performance marking the latest glimpse of how high Penn’s ceiling can be when the defense is fully locked in. Matt Morgan’s usage rate was lower than usual, and Penn did a good job zeroing in on the second-all-time leading scorer in Ivy history. Morgan and company actually had a decent outing from beyond the arc (8-for-22, 36.4 percent), but it didn’t matter because everything else was effectively taken away. The Big Red typically thrive at the foul line, but Penn’s characteristically disciplined defense (the Quakers rank best in the Ivy League in defensive free throw rate) didn’t feed into that. Instead, Penn preserved its outside shot at an Ivy League Tournament berth, a feat only as realistic as its defense is strong down the stretch.

Read moreAncient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Friday women’s edition

Eight thoughts on the women’s side:

1. Dartmouth hanging in there 

Dartmouth did something it hadn’t done in a decade last night: defeat Yale at home. And the timing was pivotal as the Big Green notched its second win at the wire in the past four games courtesy of a Paula Lenart putback of a missed Isalys Quinones three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left, giving the Big Green a 56-54 victory to lift them to 4-5 in the Ivy standings – within a game of Yale with five outings to go. It was a gutsy win for the Big Green, whose savvy senior guard Cy Lippold suffered an injury versus Princeton last Saturday. Lenart and Quinones put Dartmouth over the top in a defensive battle, and Annie McKenna’s six steals helped stymie the Bulldogs. If Dartmouth can best Brown tonight and sweep Columbia and Cornell in the final weekend, it has a decent chance of tying Yale in the Ivy standings at 8-6, but the Bulldogs would still own the second tiebreaker: highest seed defeated (Yale has topped both Princeton and Harvard, while Dartmouth has beaten neither.) So the Big Green’s road slate at Penn and Princeton next weekend is a huge, if challenging, opportunity to neutralize or even claim the tiebreaker away from Yale.

Read moreAncient Eight thoughts – Ivy Friday women’s edition

Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Friday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the men’s side:

1. Columbia was due

Columbia hadn’t won an Ivy road game since its very first under Jim Engles at Cornell on Jan. 14, 2017: 17 such games ago. The Lions were 3-8 in games decided by one possession this season, including a 72-70 loss to Penn at Levien Gym three weeks prior, and were 4-20 in games decided by six points or fewer dating back to the start of last season. So when Maka Ellis’s stunningly easy layup off an inbound pass went in with 0.4 seconds left in overtime to clinch the 79-77 win for the Lions at the Palestra, it was a long overdue coup de grâce for a program that had long been far more competitive under Engles than its win-loss column showed. Kudos to Gabe Stefanini for coming up just two rebounds shy of a triple-double (20 points, 10 assists, eight boards) and Ellis for pitching in five of his 14 points in the final 1:24 in overtime as a rookie on the road to erase Penn’s 77-72 lead at that point.

Read moreAncient Eight thoughts – Ivy Friday men’s edition

Inside Ivy Hoops – Feb. 21, 2019

In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Brown coach Mike Martin and IHO writer Rob Browne.

Mike and Rob analyze this season’s Ivy League Tournament ticket sales to date, consider whether to tinker with Ivy back-to-back weekends and ponder contenders for several All-Ivy award categories while looking back on the past weekend of Ivy action and ahead to this weekend’s games:

 

Brown coach Mike Martin analyzes his team’s defensive improvement this season and offensive struggles in Ivy play, weighs in on whether Ivy back-to-back weekends are worth tweaking and where to hold the Ivy League Tournament, and much more:

 

Recordings were very lightly edited for sound quality.

Defense nonexistent as Yale tops Cornell, 98-92

In a matchup between two of the league’s best teams, Yale was able to escape Ithaca with a 98-92 win in a game in which nobody really seemed to play much defense. Both teams shot 53 percent from the field and well over 40 percent from three. Yale moved up to 17-4 overall (7-1 Ivy) and Cornell dropped down to 13-11 (5-3) but still remain two games over fifth place in the league, with a Penn loss.

Read moreDefense nonexistent as Yale tops Cornell, 98-92

Cornell overcomes dreadful start, bests Brown in overtime

Cornell has struggled in the first half this season, and Friday night’s game against Brown was no exception. It took Cornell 12 minutes to score their first 10 points, and its defense wasn’t stellar to start either. But the Big Red eventually rallied in a nail-biter, topping the Bears, 70-66, in overtime at Newman Arena to notch their fourth straight win over Brown.

Brown was able to get a few easy baseline threes early from Desmond Cambridge and Obi Okolie, who both struggled after the first 10 minutes. Matt Morgan had a rough, three-point first half.

It was Jimmy Boeheim who stepped up early with the team struggling, scoring 13 of the team’s 27 first-half points. Cornell trailed 31-27 at the half and by as many as 13 (26-13 with 6:12 to go in the first half). It looked like a blowout in the making.

Read moreCornell overcomes dreadful start, bests Brown in overtime

Morgan moves to second all-time in Ivy scoring history as Cornell comes back to stun Harvard

Saturday’s contest between Harvard and Cornell was the exact opposite of Friday’s games for both teams, in the sense that offense would come at a premium.

After the Crimson dropped 98 points Friday in triple overtime, they were held to just 61 points on Saturday as Cornell stormed back to erase a 15-point second-half deficit to win the game, 67-61. Despite struggling to get shots all game, Matt Morgan had 15 points, good enough to move into second-place in conference history in career points (2,162), a night after meeting Jim Barton, the man he just surpassed.

 

Cornell moved up to 12-10 (4-2 Ivy) and Harvard dropped to 11-8 (4-2). Cornell has already met last season’s win total, with eight games remaining on the schedule.

Read moreMorgan moves to second all-time in Ivy scoring history as Cornell comes back to stun Harvard

An OK, not great, weekend for Penn men’s basketball

OK, not a great weekend for Penn basketball, but it certainly could have been worse.

First, the Quakers got off to an early lead in Providence against Brown which they never relinquished. The Bears, however, looked completely uninspired throughout the contest. Penn was never really in danger of anything except perhaps the random concussion when, in what can be considered the longest two minutes in basketball history, Mike Martin decided to foul every remaining Penn possession. `It was as painful to watch as I am sure as it was for the Red & Blue players to play. Regardless, a win is a win, as they say.

Read moreAn OK, not great, weekend for Penn men’s basketball