2018-19 Ivy League Preseason Power Rankings

Another college basketball season is upon us. So what can we expect from the Ancient Eight this season coming off a down year for the league overall?

With so much returning talent across the conference, anticipate higher quality of play from both the Ivies who make the conference tournament and those who don’t.

1. Harvard

The Crimson missed their two highest-usage players on offense down the stretch of the Ivy League Tournament final versus Penn at the Palestra: Bryce Aiken, who suffered a knee injury and missed 18 of the final 22 games of the season, and Seth Towns, who suffered a knee injury with around eight minutes left and did not return. Of course, Penn edged out Harvard in the end, the Crimson coming up just short in the face of the Red and Blue’s home-court advantage even without the 2017-18 Ivy Player of the Year (Towns) and 2016-17 Rookie of the Year (Aiken).

Harvard would have likely punched a NCAA Tournament ticket if it had those two standouts in tow, and they’ll probably do the same if they have them in tow this season.

If.

Read more2018-19 Ivy League Preseason Power Rankings

Penn’s got a title to defend … and plenty of assets

A happy crowd. (Penn Office of the President)

As Ivy Hoops coverage dwindles across the digital world like Princeton’s winning percentage, I have returned to the dismay of many and the delight of few for yet another year of Penn Basketball coverage for IHO. Therefore, I will now channel another Philly hero, Sylvester Stallone, and pick up exactly where the team left off last season.

Read morePenn’s got a title to defend … and plenty of assets

Penn men aim to repeat with the help of new recruits

Following an 0-6 start to Ivy play in 2017, the Penn men’s basketball team went 6-2 through the remainder of the conference schedule to claim the final spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament. Despite having home court advantage and never trailing to undefeated Princeton during regulation, the Quakers could not find a way to close out the game and lost in the semifinals. Heading into 2017-2018, the expectations were that Penn, while not ready to challenge for the top of the conference, would build upon their immediate success and have a much more comfortable time at securing the four seed. The preseason media poll reflected this idea, with the Red & Blue being picked fourth with 88 points, 28 points behind third ranked Princeton and 31 points ahead of fifth place Columbia.

The Quakers entered the Ivy schedule at 9-5 with highlight wins on the road at Monmouth (in 4 OT) and Dayton.  However, Penn’s 85-72 home loss to Toledo (KenPom #113) on December 29th was a troubling way to enter the January 9th conference opener against the Tigers.  Penn put any concerns to rest, snapping an eight-game losing streak to Princeton on its way to a 7-0 start to the league schedule.  Following a loss at Harvard, the Quakers won its next four, including a three point home win against the Crimson.  A controversial last second 80-79 loss at Yale left Penn tied with Harvard going into the regular season finale.  A 99-93 over Brown gave the Red & Blue (24-9 overall, 12-2 Ivy, 1-3 Big Five) a share of the Ivy title, its 26th overall championship and first since 2007.

Read morePenn men aim to repeat with the help of new recruits

Princeton men’s and women’s basketball release ’18-’19 schedules

Princeton Athletics announced the 2018-2019 schedules for its men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Men’s schedule

Men’s key nonconference games:

11/16/18 at Lehigh
Princeton (13-16 overall; 5-9 Ivy) will be looking to avenge last season’s 85-76 defeat at Jadwin when they travel to Bethlehem.  The Mountain Hawks, which was 16-14 overall and 11-7 (tied for third) in the Patriot League, is predicted, by Bart Torvik, to be the No. 197 team in the nation and the top team in its conference in ’18-’19.  Lehigh will look to second team All-Patriot senior guard Lance Tejada (14.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 2.0 apg) and junior forward Pat Andres (12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) to lead the way.

Read morePrinceton men’s and women’s basketball release ’18-’19 schedules

No. 16 Penn outlasted by No. 1 Kansas, 76-60

Penn didn’t pull off the historic upset, but it turned in a memorable performance nevertheless.

No. 16 Penn led big in the first half and stayed within striking distance of No. 1 Kansas for around 34 minutes, but the Jayhawks pulled away late to score a 76-60 victory over Penn at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita.

Read moreNo. 16 Penn outlasted by No. 1 Kansas, 76-60

No. 16 Penn vs. No. 1 Kansas: Keys to making history

My range of emotions on Sunday swung from unadulterated joy as I rushed the Palestra floor to celebrate Penn’s 68-65 win over Harvard to mouth-agape shock as I stood in the back of Houston Hall at Penn’s selection show watch party and saw the Quakers on the 16 line against Kansas.

As fellow IHO contributor Steven Tydings and I rode the bus home to New York, I started to think of a plan for the Quakers to do the impossible and topple a No. 1 seed for the first time in men’s NCAA Tournament history.

The basic points of that plan, some of which you’ve probably already heard, are below:

Penn will win if …

Read moreNo. 16 Penn vs. No. 1 Kansas: Keys to making history

The “Penn”dulum swings, and the Palestra does too: Penn defeats Harvard to clinch first NCAA Tournament berth in 11 years

Penn basketball is back to the Big Dance.

The Red & Blue ended an 11-year absence from the NCAA Tournament by coming out on top in a see-saw Ivy League Tournament final at the Palestra Sunday, besting No. 1 Harvard, 68-65.

No. 2 Penn ended the game on a 13-7 run in the final 4:49, the decisive run in a game full of ups and downs for both teams. taking a 66-60 lead into the final minute before hanging on with two final Ryan Betley free throws with 11 seconds left that upped Penn’s lead to the final score. Two would-be game-tying three-point attempts from Justin Bassey and Christian Juzang missed the mark, and a partisan Penn crowd stormed the Palestra floor:

 

Penn had held a 48-35 lead with 14:06 to play and maintained a double-digit lead with under eight minutes left, but Bassey and Juzang willed Harvard back from the foul line and the three-point line, with Chris Lewis converting inside after a 3-for-10 shooting start.

Poor shooting helped put the Quakers in a 32-21 hole with just under three minutes to go in the first half.

Read moreThe “Penn”dulum swings, and the Palestra does too: Penn defeats Harvard to clinch first NCAA Tournament berth in 11 years

A turnaround to remember for Penn basketball under Steve Donahue

I must admit that there were times over the last 10 years that I began to despair.

Penn basketball has always been an essential part of my sports spectating life, and yet, inexplicably,
there was the “crown jewel” of Penn Athletics in shambles. For those of us who had always witnessed greatness on the hardwood from the Red and Blue, the past decade has been nothing less than a gut-wrenching, surreal descent into irrelevance and thus humiliation.

Read moreA turnaround to remember for Penn basketball under Steve Donahue

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 16-17, 2018

The Ancient Eight aren’t so ancient anymore.

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.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 16-17, 2018

Penn pounds Princeton, 82-65, at Jadwin Gym

Last month, Penn reached for the reset button on its rivalry versus Princeton, beating the Tigers for the first time since 2014 with a 76-70 triumph at the Palestra.

Tuesday night, Penn slammed that reset button down.

Penn stomped Princeton at Jadwin Gym Tuesday night, smacking Princeton, 82-65, for its first win at Jadwin since 2009, first regular season sweep of the Tigers since 2008.

Read morePenn pounds Princeton, 82-65, at Jadwin Gym