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 

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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.

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Game Preview: Cornell at Dartmouth

Drew Ferry should be able to get some open looks tonight, as Dartmouth has struggled to lock down opposing guards. (Photo Credit: cornellsun.com)

If there’s one thing Cornell knows all too well, it’s that it can’t sleep on the Dartmouth basketball team. A year ago, the two teams met in Hanover, a game that most thought Cornell would surely win. Despite the common prediction, the Big Red came out lacking focus and energy, resulting in its first loss at Dartmouth in the last six seasons. Out of all the tough stretches the Big Red endured last season, losing at Dartmouth was rock bottom. If we can use last year’s matchup to infer one thing about Saturday night’s game, it’s that the Big Red won’t be caught sleeping.

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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.

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Game Preview: Columbia at Dartmouth

Columbia looks to bounce back after a difficult 1-3 start to league play with a visit to Hanover on Friday. (Photo credit: gocolumbialions.com)

Dartmouth hosts Columbia Friday night in a game that only a true Ivy hoops fanatic could love. The Big Green is still searching for that elusive first league win, while Columbia is off to a disappointing 1-3 start, dropping those three games by a total of 11 points. Both teams are out of the title chase, but Columbia needs to prove that they belong in the second-tier of this year”s league. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has to get off the schneid. Given that this Big Green squad is significantly more talented than past teams, it seems inevitable that this year”s group will pick up a W sooner or later. So why not tonight?

Well, first off, Columbia”s not a great matchup for the Big Green. Mark Cisco is big and strong enough inside to outplay freshman Gabas Maldunas, whose performance has dipped lately (27 percent shooting over the last two weeks); Brian Barbour has already shredded the likes of Zach Rosen, Doug Davis, and Chris Wroblewski to the tune of 20.8 points per game, so Jabari Trotter should not pose much of an obstacle; and, while Alex Rosenberg and Meiko Lyles have been streaky, they’ve incredibly managed to synchronize their hot-and-cold cycles so that the Lions have a viable third scoring option.

From a larger perspective, Dartmouth is an average defensive team (1.017 points per possession) that is inept offensively (.883). Columbia is an (almost) OK offensive team (.948) that is good defensively (.965). That means when Columbia has the ball, it will be a fair fight. When the Big Green has the ball, it will be ugly.

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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 

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Game Preview: Dartmouth at Yale

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Last year, Dartmouth took the Bulldogs to overtime in New Haven before falling 79-75. Will this season yield another tight game? (Photo Credit: yaledailynews.com)

The Bulldogs are coming off of an embarrassing 65-35 beatdown to archrival Harvard in one of the most anticipated games to take place in the John J. Lee Amphitheater in quite a while. (Or at least one of the most anticipated games that Yale has played in.) Yale now has less than 24 hours to recover from the devastating loss to face another New England opponent eager to knock the Bulldogs off.

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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.

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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

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Game Preview: Harvard at Dartmouth, Saturday 7PM

John Golden and Dartmouth look to hand Harvard its first Ivy loss as the Big Green defends its home court Saturday night. (Photo credit: dartmouthsports.com)

Fourteen days since their last meeting, No. 24 Harvard and

Dartmouth reunite on Saturday to run back a 63-47 Crimson victory. Not much has happened since Jan. 7th. Harvard played two games, wins over Monmouth and George Washington, and the Big Green won its only matchup against a lowly Longwood squad. Little change means little reason to expect a different outcome this time around, but if the first weekend of league play was any indication, sometimes these games are bananas.

In their meeting at Lavietes, Dartmouth gave the Crimson all it could handle for 30 minutes. The Big Green was the aggressor early on, collecting eight offensive rebounds and limiting Harvard to 25 offensive possessions with a tight zone defense in the first half. But the Crimson adjusted in the second period, finding Keith Wright on the interior and kicking to Oliver McNally and Laurent Rivard on the perimeter. The trio accounted for 26 second-half points, and Harvard closed out the game on a 36-13 run.

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