Weekend’s Winners

This busy weekend included the clinching of an NCAA bid, two road sweeps, and the most Ivy season wins for Columbia since 1992-93.
The season’s final weekend included the clinching of an NCAA bid, three road sweeps, and the most Ivy season wins for Columbia since 1992-93.

The final Ivy weekend is in the books, and as always, what a ride it’s been this season. Let’s get to the weekend’s big winners.

Harvard: Well, it certainly didn’t always feel like a runaway season, but by the time all the dust settled on Saturday night, Harvard had won the league by a full four games, which is about what we thought might happen all the way back in November. While the Ivy gods were nice enough to tease us with a final weekend with title implications, Harvard put an end to all of that quickly, racing out to a 16-2 lead against Yale and never letting the Bulldogs get all the way back into it. It’s sort of a shame Yale couldn’t pull out a victory on Friday because we would have had some remarkable drama last night if the Bulldogs had pulled within one game.

The Crimson needed overtime in an old-fashioned barnburner to dispatch of pesky Brown on Senior Night for Sean McGonagill. The Bears’ star guard went out with a bang, tallying 26 points, 8 assists, and just one turnover, but it wasn’t enough to steal the victory.

Down the stretch, Siyani Chambers stepped up and knocked down a huge three to put Harvard up 87-85 with just one minute to play in regulation. Rookie of the Year candidate Leland King then battled in the paint and knocked down a short jumper to tie the game before Chambers’ fading baseline jumper was way off at the horn.

In overtime, it was a one-possession game until Brandyn Curry came up with a steal and Laurent Rivard, just like the night before, knocked down the backbreaking three pointer that sealed it up for the Crimson. The 98-93 final was the highest scoring game in the Ivy this season. The Crimson big men, Moundou-Missi and Casey, both finished with double-doubles as Brown had no answer for their size and strength when the ball got down low.

Harvard, at 26-4 and #51 in the RPI, appears to be looking at an 11 or 12 seed based on most bracketologists’ projections. That would put the Crimson in a relatively reasonable position to advance to the Sweet 16, facing no #1 or #2 seeds in the first two rounds.

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Weekend's Winners

Harvard swept its home weekend in dominant fashion, clinching a share of its fourth straight crown. Princeton got an impressive sweep of its own as the Tigers surge towards the top half.
Harvard swept its home weekend in dominant fashion, clinching a share of its fourth straight crown. Princeton got an impressive sweep of its own as the Tigers surge towards the top half.

After the Yale loss and the Columbia 2OT game, Harvard seemed like a squad bound to falter at least once more this season. The Crimson wasn’t playing like the infallible Ivy dream team that they had been hyped up to be. Ancient Eight fans from outside Cambridge felt the hopeful possibility that someone would be able to dethrone the defending champs.

But since then, Harvard has buckled down and blown out their last five opponents with margins of 23, 20, 12, 25, and 33. Those two widest margins came this weekend as Yale fell at Princeton, putting Harvard on the verge of its third straight solo title and a return to the Big Dance. On to the weekend’s big winners…

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IHO Power Poll: February 27, 2014

After Columbia cooled off Yale at Levien, where did the Lions and Bulldogs stack up in this week's edition of the Power Poll?
After Columbia cooled off Yale at Levien, where did the Lions and Bulldogs stack up in this week’s edition of the Power Poll?

On January 25th, the chances that the Yale Bulldogs would win their next seven games were less than 1%. Of course, the Elis bucked the odds and rode the unlikely string of victories into a tie for first place heading into Sunday’s showdown with Columbia. But Yale’s good fortune crashed more violently than the NBC Sports Network video truck outside Levien as the boys of Morningside Heights methodically stifled Justin Sears and Co. And now, we are faced with the prospect of a final weekend with little drama if Yale can’t bounce back and pick up a win or two on the always-challenging southern road trip.

Still, all the credit goes to Harvard for storming into a loud, defiant Jadwin and tossing off the shackles of history in an impressive second half defensive effort that sealed the Crimson’s pivotal ninth win.

Let’s get to the rankings.

Read moreIHO Power Poll: February 27, 2014

Weekend's Winners

Harvard and Columbia both swept their weekends and did some rewriting of the history books.
Harvard and Columbia both swept their weekends and did some rewriting of the history books.

Two teams gained ground in the standings this weekend with historic sweeps. Harvard opened up a one game lead on second-place Yale after bulldozing Penn at the Palestra and earning its first victory since 1989 at Jadwin. Meanwhile, Columbia swept an Ivy weekend for the first time in five years and moved into a tie for third, edging Brown on Friday and stopping Yale on national TV on Sunday. Let”s take a look at the weekend”s big winners.

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Weekend's Winners

Harvard and Yale extended their lead on the rest of the pack with sweeps, and Cornell finally got into the win column during another exciting February Ivy weekend.
Harvard and Yale extended their lead on the rest of the pack with sweeps, and Cornell finally got into the win column during another exciting February Ivy weekend.

For every Ivy weekend up until this one, we entered the weekend with a certain narrative that was turned upside down by surprising results. Finally this weekend, the narrative held up and we can move forward knowing that– barring someone else winning out– the Ivy League is now a two-team race between the Harvard Crimson and the Yale Bulldogs. The two conference leaders held serve, sweeping the weekend and extending their lead on the rest of the pack to two games behind one thrilling overtime victory each— both marked by controversial officiating decisions. Let”s take a closer look at this weekend”s big winners.

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IHO Power Poll: February 12, 2014

One team shoots up the poll; one team continues to tumble. It's a new edition of the IHO rankings, for your consumption before the weekend.
One team shoots up the poll; one team continues to tumble. It’s a new edition of the IHO rankings for your consumption before the weekend.

Yale’s upset over Harvard eliminated the possibility of an unblemished run for the talented Crimson, but it wasn’t enough to bump Harvard from the top spot in the Power Poll. Meanwhile, Princeton’s final minute meltdown against Columbia has relegated the Tigers to their lowest position in the history of the Power Poll. Wild times as we approach the midway point of the conference season…

Read moreIHO Power Poll: February 12, 2014

Princeton Splits at Home

The Tigers split the weekend, routing Cornell after losing a heartbreaker to Columbia on Friday.
The Tigers split the weekend, routing Cornell after losing a heartbreaker to Columbia on Friday.

Another disappointing weekend for Princeton’s Tigers, this time at home. Trying desperately to shake off the effects of a disastrous 0-3 start to the Ivy campaign, Princeton relished the prospect of entertaining Columbia, which hadn’t won at Jadwin in 20 years, and Cornell, the Ivy cellar dweller.

Against the Lions, Hans Brase got off to another fast start, leading the Tigers to an eight point lead at intermission, 33-25, as order appeared restored in the Princeton universe. The euphoria proved to be nothing more than a mirage, however, as the Tigers’ woes in the Ivy League continued. The gritty Alex Rosenberg, although not shooting particularly well, kept the Lions in the game by getting to the line and converting 8-8 on the evening.

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Weekend’s Best

Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.
Spring cleaning came early in New England as Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Yale got out the brooms and swept away the rest of the league.

 

Please put your hand up if you had Dartmouth sweeping the weekend without Gabas Maldunas and Columbia dropping two at Yale and Brown. You in the back? No, you’re just scratching your head? Yeah, me too. It was that kind of weekend in the Ivy League. On to the weekend’s big winners…

Home Court Advantage: We know it’s hard to win on the road in the Ivy League, but wow. Home teams went 8-0 this weekend as all four New England teams swept their back-to-backs. Through 15 Ivy contests, only two away teams have come away victorious (Columbia at Cornell and Harvard at Dartmouth).

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IHO Power Poll: January 30, 2014

The true Ivy season finally begins in earnest tomorrow with all teams entering back-to-backs. Can IHO's unanimous #1 Harvard hold serve at home against the Old Guard?
The Ivy season finally begins in earnest tomorrow with all cialis online pharmacy teams entering back-to-backs. Can IHO’s unanimous #1 Harvard hold serve at home this weekend against the Old Guard?

After the Crimson’s surprising loss to FAU, some have suggested that the Ivy title race may not be as cut and dry as everyone expected. And in some sense, that’s fair. Harvard certainly doesn’t look like a team that’s going to run the table and finish the season in the Top 25. But 12-2 seems about right at this point for a team getting back one of the nation’s best shot blockers and otherwise loaded with talent at every position. And yet the best thing going for Harvard is the strength of the middle of the league. It seems increasingly unlikely that another team will be able to navigate the minefield of teams 2 through 6 and win even 10 league contests. But that’s why they play the games. Things could look a lot different on Sunday if Penn or Princeton can tag Harvard with a home loss, or if Columbia can sweep the second leg of its three-weekend road trip.

Let’s get to it…

Read moreIHO Power Poll: January 30, 2014