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

IHO 2017-18 All-Ivy Awards – Men’s

As selected by Ivy Hoops Online’s contributors, here are the IHO 2017-18 All-Ivy Awards:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

AJ Brodeur, Penn (So., F – Northborough, Mass.)

In Penn coach Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable parts, Brodeur has proven he can do it all.

Donahue moved Brodeur from center to power forward to make way for Max Rothschild at the five this season, and in nonconference play, Brodeur wasn’t really the focal point of the offense and excelled by not forcing shots outside of Penn’s ensemble offensive system. Instead, Brodeur helped power Penn to a 9-5 record before January in other ways, cleaning the defensive boards, aggressively fortifying a surprisingly strong defense through blocks and steals, and deft passing in the paint and on the perimeter (notching seven assists in Penn’s 78-70 win at Dayton).

Read moreIHO 2017-18 All-Ivy Awards – Men’s

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

1. Penn (21-7, 11-1 Ivy)

Penn shot a blistering 76 percent from two-point range in claiming sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings with a 74-71 win over Harvard Saturday night at the Palestra. Penn’s AJ Brodeur lured Chris Lewis out of the paint at times, and the Red and Blue attacked the basket when Lewis was on the bench. Brodeur had four assists and no turnovers, with senior guard Darnell Foreman notching five assists on senior night himself.

Penn has now shot a combined 40-for-60 (66.7 percent) from two-point range in two games versus a Harvard defense that characteristically values rim protection and ranks first in the league in defensive two-point percentage (48.1 percent). Not surprisingly, Penn ranks first in the conference in two-point percentage and assists per field goals made. Anyone who’s watched Penn ping pong passes in the paint knows that this team is capable of getting high-percentage shots even against a defense as stout as Harvard’s. That’s something to keep in mind should these squads meet at the Palestra again in the Ivy League Tournament championship game on Mar. 11.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

Finding yet another way to win, Penn musters knockout blow at Columbia

NEW YORK – For the last eight years, Levien Gymnasium has been a house of horrors for the University of Pennsylvania. Penn men’s basketball had lost seven of the last eight at Columbia, including five straight. There have been blowouts, ejections and a couple of photo finishes that went the home team’s way.

So when the Lions jumped out to a 17-6 lead, it followed an unsurprising trend.

“We definitely started off slow,” Penn sophomore Devon Goodman said. “They hit us first.”

Unlike previous seasons, the Quakers hit back, in large part thanks to a career night from Goodman, who scored a career-high 23 points with five assists and five boards. Add that to an impressive second half and an 18-0 run down the stretch and the Red and Blue staged a comeback to win 74-62 over the Light Blue on Friday night.

Read moreFinding yet another way to win, Penn musters knockout blow at Columbia

Inside Ivy Hoops – Feb. 8, 2018

Joined by Yale coach James Jones and Ivy Hoops Online’s Princeton beat writer George Clark, IHO editor Mike Tony fills in for Jill Glessner and Brett Franklin as host of Inside Ivy Hoops this week.

Mike and George look back at the Penn men’s 82-65 rout of the Tigers at Jadwin Gym Tuesday night while considering what to expect from Princeton and Penn on both the men’s and women’s sides down the stretch, touting the strength of Ivy women’s basketball and much more:

Read moreInside Ivy Hoops – Feb. 8, 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

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 2-3, 2018

Now that we’re at the point of the season where the conference standings really start to loom large, the IHO Power Poll goes away and we drill down each of the Ivies by their order in their standings.

First, though, some observations about an unusually exciting Ivy slate of games so far. The Ivy League, per KenPom, ranks first among all 32 Division I conferences in close game percentage, or percentage of games decided by fewer than four points or in overtime, with 11 of 23 games falling in that category. The Ivy League ranked 20th in that category last season, 25th in 2016 and next-to-last in 2015, so hope you’re enjoying the uptick in close contests.

This season’s Ivy slate has been unusually kind to the home teams so far too. The Ivy League also ranks first in Division I in home win percentage, as 18 of 23 hosts have been victorious so far. Interestingly, the league ranked last in Division I last season, when home teams went just 28-28 in conference play. The Ancient Eight ranked 15th in home win percentage in 2016 and 26th in 2015, so this season’s frequency of success for home teams has been unusual too. Since Penn and Princeton are going to be hitting the road down the stretch, the league’s home-win percentage could go back down some by the time the season is over.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 2-3, 2018

Ivy Power Poll – Jan. 28, 2018

1. Penn (13-6, 3-0 Ivy)

After Penn let Temple slip away at the Palestra last weekend, it got Big 5 revenge Saturday with a 67-56 win over St. Joseph’s, displaying a stout defense that had Steve Donahue singing its praises after the game.

“The story of our team, and our season, is our defense,” Donahue said according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “Playing two bigs, with the defensive numbers we have right now … we’re way different than last year, and way ahead.”

Read moreIvy Power Poll – Jan. 28, 2018

Thoughts on Ivy League openers – men’s basketball

Harvard 61 vs Dartmouth 51

An ugly win is still a win. Harvard fans can take comfort in that fact after the Crimson’s home win over the Big Green, a game that was very much up for grabs until Harvard pulled away with 4-for-4 three-point shooting in a 3:54 span late in the game during which Dartmouth was held scoreless, turning a 45-45 tie into a 54-45 cushion. Harvard notched the win despite Bryce Aiken missing nearly the entire game in a brief return from injury after missing the last four games with a knee injury. Harvard committed 19 turnovers, not a particularly good sign. But the Crimson were led by a career-high 12 points from Christian Juzang and 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting from Seth Towns. Harvard entered the game as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country but lit Dartmouth up from deep, going 12-for-25 (48 percent), easily besting Dartmouth’s paltry 5-for-19 (26.3 percent) clip.

Read moreThoughts on Ivy League openers – men’s basketball

2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

This is part 1 of IHO’s 2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview. Read part 2 here

The rise of the Ivy League is projected to continue.

The Ancient Eight is slated by KenPom as the 13th-best conference in Division I this season, just seven years after it placed 26th. That’s a quantum leap, a product of the league’s bolstered recruiting in that time frame. The Ivy hoops status quo now consists of top-25 recruiting classes, Nike Skills Academy members and expectations of NCAA Tournament success.

There’s a three-way cluster between Harvard, Princeton and Yale projected to top the league. In the Ivy Preseason Media Poll, Yale received the most first-place votes (eight) but Harvard garnered the most points overall. Without a clear conference favorite, it’s quite likely that the regular season champion will not also be the conference tournament winner, with Bart Torvik’s Ivy Tourney Simulator tabbing Penn as the favorite in an Ivy tourney as a No. 4 seed.

Read more2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1